Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Welcome to BC. Now get to work

One of the reasons I liked the Bates hire is that he's experienced in ways the other finalists weren't. These AD jobs are highly political. You have to deal with donors, administrators, coaches and your fellow ADs. Everyone's got an angle and an agenda. A guy new to this type of role or this many players might have been overwhelmed. Bates looks like he will be fine in that department. The parallels between the Miami community's reaction and are reaction to Gene's departure are noted, but after ten years, even the most loyal of fans will want some new blood and new ideas. On a whole you cannot question the success of Bates's tenure at Miami. I am not worried about what he did or didn't do at Miami. My concern is what he plans to accomplish at BC. Much of Bates' agenda will be determined by pressing needs and BC's overriding plans for the University, but with that in mind, I offer my advice to Mr. Bates.

  • You are not hiring a football coach for Miami of Ohio. You are hiring a football coach for Boston College. I understand all the niceties to the media, but Frank Spaziani will not be coaching BC Football next fall. Because of timing, BC will be one of the better jobs available this offseason. We do not have to settle for anyone or take a flyer on an up and comer. You can make your pick of several exciting and sought after candidates. I don't know what preliminary budget BC has given you for the hire, but even if we pay in the bottom half of the conference, we will still have great possibilities. Our last two football searches were all about prior relationships with your predecessor  Don't make that same mistake. Find the best person for this job.
  • Don't accept "but that's how we've always done it" as an answer from your staffers, BC leadership or employees. One of the things I appreciate about Bates is that he is not a boat rocker and seems to be a consensus builder. That's also a nice change from recent past, but that doesn't mean Bates shouldn't challenge current lines of thought. I am glad BC went for someone from outside our community. All aspects of the Athletic Department need to be evaluated. In his speech he mentioned game day experiences and marketing. But I also think how we deal with media, how we deal with Newton and the surrounding communities and how we operate within the ACC need to be improved or changed. 
  • Get ready to raise lots of money and spend a lot of time looking a blueprints. I know there are many factors in play, but it is embarrassing that the baseball field hasn't broken ground. People look at Alumni and Conte and talk about seating configuration or air conditioning. Those issues are minor. Both buildings have long overdue basic maintenance investments. The Plex is a joke. Plus we need a practice  facility. Based on the Athletic Capital campaigns announced at other private schools, these projects are going to cost hundreds of millions of dollars and require careful planning. For example the Plex cannot come down until its replacement is up. Instead of renovating Alumni/Conte do we tear down and rebuild on the same footprint (with a new indoor football practice facility and second hockey rink)? Those ideas have been discussed. Now they need action. 
  • Ask what sports we need to play. Every team has its supporters, but how long can BC sustain its current mix of teams? For all those Lacrosse lovers, I don't think it will ever return. In fact it is more likely other sports will join Lax in the used to have a team category. I think Gene was happy to put those issues on the backburner, but budget wise and scholarship wise it needs to be considered. 
  • Have fun. One thing that wasn't mentioned today but needs to be remembered, is that beyond our academic mission or promoting the school, sports are supposed to be fun. Aside from a moment here or there, BC sports have not been fun in the past few years. Winning will help, but how we approach the games, celebrate the big and little moments and embrace each other all contributes to the level of fun around the program. If you want to change that, it starts with you. Be thankful that you are working at one of the best athletic programs in the country and at one of the best schools in the country. There are tens of thousands of people who love BC and want you to succeed. Engage those people, entertain those people, and keep those people in mind as you make decisions. When things are good at BC, they are really good. Help rekindle that and we'll be forever thankful.


eagleboston said...

Welcome to BC Mr. Bates! Anyone know if he is Catholic?

Liked what he had to say in the presser. I sure hope he can turn things around on the Heights.

EL MIZ said...

this guy's entire tenure COULD hinge on his football hire. spaz must be fired that is a given but who he gets to replace him will tell me a lot about what to expect of bates moving forward.

Joe Gravellese said...

Absolutely, his first hire will be his legacy hire. Donahue is probably going to be around for a while - let's hope so, anyway. And york should be in charge of picking his own successor. None of the other sports will really impact his legacy. It's a high pressure situation for him right off the bat.

Tim said...

"Aside from a moment here or there, BC sports have not been fun in the past few years."

ATL, this really reflects your football- and basketball-centric view of BC sports.

For those of us who follow hockey, the last few years have been the best (and most fun!) in program history.

Men's and women's soccer, sailing, and other sports have done quite well, too.

CatabEagle said...

Great point by ATL in Bates having to break the back of the BC naysayers in the administration. I've worked with BC for years as a student, alum, and recruiter, and the inertia within that place is staggering. Here's hoping he can either break the naysayers, or send them packing and looking for new employment.

Unknown said...

Tim, Who cares about mens and womens soccer and other sports? They bring in no revenue, or notoriaty for the school. Let's focus on football, basketball, and hockey. All other sports can be club teams. We need to elevate the core sports, and bring in the postseason money for the school.

Unknown said...

Tim, Who cares about mens and womens soccer and other sports? They bring in no revenue, or notoriaty for the school. Let's focus on football, basketball, and hockey. All other sports can be club teams. We need to elevate the core sports, and bring in the postseason money for the school.

Joseph said...

Unknown is un-knowing. While the revenue generating sports are important in that they pay for most of everything else, making money is not, and should not be, the only reason to have intercollegiate sports. If you were on a soccer you might have a very different perspective. You would want to play at the highest possible competitive level. You would want to represent your school to the best of your ability. I can' speak for more than myself, but I am trusting that your ignorance is supported by only a very small minority.

Joseph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eagleboston said...

I think the point ATL was making is that the only sports that carry weight nationally are football and basketball. I love our hockey program, but if you get outside the Northeast and upper Midwest, no one cares. You could ask 100 Americans who won the college hockey title last year and if more than 1 says "BC," I would be surprised. I would guess close to 30% could tell you who won the football and basketball titles.

Joseph said...

So, why do we have sports programs? For the students? The alumni? The athletes? The general public? How should we judge the value of a sports program? How much money it generates? How popular it is across the country? Opinions of those with comments on BC sports blogs?

Walter said...

Tim, you're absolutely right.

I think it's one thing to point out football has sucked the past few seasons, but our sports experience as a whole? Our hockey team continues to rack up national championships, and arguably the best days of our football team's history were not that long ago.

BC does a great job with all of our sports programs and it would be a mistake to sacrifice their success.

BCAlum2000 said...

Like it or not, football and men's basketball carry much more importance than all the other sports combined ... with plenty to spare. That said, the success in hockey and soccer and sailing is nothing to ignore. The fact simply is that since BC football and mens basketball have been in the toilet the past 3 years, BC's reputation for all sports has taken a HUGE hit.

chicagofire1871 said...

Joseph, soccer might be a bad example of your point since NCAA soccer is not the highest competitive level at that age group. Also the rules are appreciably different than the pro level which limits growth (unlimited substitues vs. 3 at the pros, and super short 3 month season vs. nearly 9 months).

Non-revenue sports are important to provide a varied experience for students and to increase the diversity of the student body, but football and to a lesser extent basketball rule the day. Having successful programs in one of these sports drives donations that can be used across the board.

AlbanyEagle said...

Oh, well. Looks like we're going to have to endure Spaz for the rest of the season.

From Andrea Adelson, ESPN ACC Blog:
"Just like any sport, we will assess it at the end of the year,” Bates said after his introductory news conference, according to The Boston Globe. “We will look at the body of work rather than the emotional roller-coaster every week."

Ry said...

Can I throw a theory out there?

Since Gene announced his resignation pre-season, is there a chance that Spaz went into this season knowing it was his last? As in, he would resign after the season since his major benefactor would be gone anyway? That might explain the fact that he has essentially mailed it in and is now just playing out the string.

Now this theory can not be applied to the previous three seasons where his lack of game and personnel management prowess can only be chalked up to general ineptitude.

Obreezy said...

BC has had two soccer players on the US National Mens Soccer Team in recent years - Charlie Davies and Alejandro Bedoya. Charlie Davies suffered injuries in a car accident that held him back from playing in the 2010 World Cup but people know who he is if they follow U.S. Soccer. To say that B.C. doesn't have its profile lifted for having two solid soccer players on the national team shows that same football/basketball bias other commenters referenced.
And anyone who thinks that Chris Kreider's contributions to the New York Rangers went unnoticed is clearly living far away from the reach of the New York media. He scored five goals in postseason play for the Rangers this year (a record for most goals of any NHL player in the playoffs before they have played in a regular season game) in the same season he won a National Championship with BC. Hockey fans in New York and beyond were impressed with his contributions and it was recognized that he came from BC.
Just a couple recent examples.
As for football, we may not be winning lately but, as I've heard from many people from many schools from many conferences - "BC produces good pros" for the NFL. That is BC's reputation.
Yes, we all want BC teams to win - all the time. But lets not dismiss the fact that BC produces winning players in a lot of sports. And BC has a reputation for it. To say otherwise is simply wrong.

Big Jack Krack said...

When was the last time we were a 28 point underdog? While I certainly hope not, we might lose by 48.

Obviously I'd like to pull out a win and expose FSU, like in 2006, 2008 and 2009. Frank rode the players he had in 2009.

Since then - Body of work? Wow. Staight downhill.

BC vs Florida State

L at BC 09-17-2005 17 - 28

W at FSU 10-21-2006 24 - 19

L at BC 11-03-2007 17 - 27
Florida St. Vacated Game

W at FSU 11-15-2008 27 - 17

W at BC 10-03-2009 28 - 21

L at FSU 10-16-2010 19 - 24

L at BC 11-03-2011 7 - 38

We might get rocket-shipped right out of there Saturday, after having been competitive since joining the ACC - pre-Spaz.

Great body of work, Frank.

Walter said...

Three years in decline does not equal a football program mired in hopelessness. Yes, things are bad now, but other big name schools have gone through turbulence and survived. Granted they have more reload power than we do, but I expect winning football soon.

Basketball, eh - we'll just have to see. It's still early enough with Donahue's guys that we need to wait and see.

Big Jack Krack said...

This is not a criticism of a player, but what I would love to have seen Chase Rettig call his own plays with 2 minutes to go at West Point.

Everyone in the stadium knew what BC was going to do (3 runs up the middle). Yes, Williams got a recordbreaking 99 yard TD run - but it wasn't going to happen again.

I never knew for sure, but I always - yes always felt that Flutie altered the plays at the line of scrimmage.

Jack Bicknell's signals from the sideline basically meant "make me look good, kid - make me look good; go for it"

Let's go Chase - call your own plays when needed; let's go BC - make your own pre-game pep talks, in-game and half time adjustments.

To all BC players - we're with you, please hang in there.

EL MIZ said...

Losing to Army should merit dismissal. If Spaz is kept around past this year I will go ballistic in calling for both Spaz and Bates' head. Yes I'm that fed up with Spaz.

I think many are missing the point with football and basketball -- obviously other sports matter (hockey especially, and soccer I'd put as the 4th highest profile even above baseball since the soccer team's been way more successful than the baseball team just from what I recall reading about the two programs). But football and basketball are the sports on national television, Bowl Season and the NCAA's are two times a year where almost everyone says "hey is BC in a bowl; hey did BC make the tourny" and for the past 3-4 years now its been "no we suck" in both. that is a major major disappointment. hooray the sailing team's been good; unfortunately the vast majority of people neither know nor care. Football and Hoops are the two sports that are the most "pride" driven, that are in the nat'l spotlight the most, and therefore we should make it a point of emphasis for those two teams to be competitive. i love that our hockey team is great and its always a great retort to some weasel Georgetown fan telling me "hey another down year for BC hoops huh?" but at the end of the day MOST BC fans are desperate for some semblance of success on the gridiron or on the basketball court.

please for the love of the Lord can Spaz be canned. this guy is the worst. a sub 500 record, snide commentary, horrific leadership, cowardice play calling (0 fake FGs or punts in 4 years) and losses to Duke at home and army. that's the record to evaluate Bates -- can this loser today!

Ry said...

As far as Donohue goes, this is year three. In year three Big Al (ie Cohen) brought in Troy Bell and the next year he won the Big East and grabbed a 3 seed in the tourney. Can anyone foresee something like that happening for us next year?

EL MIZ said...

skinner's first 3 years:


donahue's first 2 years:
21-13 (most have forgotten we got snubbed out of the NCAAs this year)
9-22 (with 7 freshman and a grad student)

not sure if Hanlan is Troy Bell but he looked super athletic and talented in the few clips of Spain i caught of him. both him and Rahon look like players. excited to see the team this year.