Author: Mark Blaudschun

BC needs new leadership at the top

The rumors started floating around the Boston College campus last summer. And they never really went away, although the sounds of silence at The Heights has grown louder when the future of BC President Father William Leahy is discussed, with retirement prominently mentioned. By almost every measure, Father Leahy has done an outstanding job during his 20-year reign at BC. Overall he has done a great job fund raising, he has been the driving force in Boston College moving from the Big East to the Atlantic Coast Conference, which financially has been a hugely successful move for the Eagles. He has increased the academic profile of the school. But athletically–at least for the past seven years–the Eagles have tumbled into an abyss. And while Father Leahy’s overall involvement in athletics is minimal, his influence in who gets hired and fired has been and remains enormous. And now, as BC faces another change in management and perhaps direction with a search for a new athletic director underway,  Father Leahy’s influence presents a major road block to success. Several sources familiar with BC contend that as long as Father Leahy remains in charge, the pool of qualified candidates for the athletic director’s job will be shallow. BC, of course, will emphatically deny this. But in the fast lane of big time college athletics, perception is often reality and the perception about...

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BC must change the way it operates

So once again Boston College is at a crossroads in its athletic future.  With the expected announcement on Monday that athletic director Brad Bates was leaving, the Eagles will have a change in athletic leadership which could include also football and men’s basketball within the next 12 months. And, don’t be stunned if there is a change at the Presidential level as well. Let’s start with the job of athletic director. Normally, any Power 5 conference AD opening would be regarded as a prime time opportunity. Here’s the first reality check for the folks at The Heights: The consensus opinion in college athletics is that NONE of the other 73 Power 5 conference athletic directors will apply. Think about that for a minute. Right now BC is not a destination point. Oh, there will be candidates and if BC does it right, there will be quality people who step forward, people with the credentials to make things better at BC. BC has subpar facilities, a small fan base and an administration which has not had a history of  support without lots of restrictions. Add the academic standards in an area of the country where support for college athletics is fragile and you have a tough sell. Before ANY  changes occur, the BC administration, starting with President Father William Leahy, must make some concessions. Not in academic standards. There are...

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BC needs to get AD search right

So now the elephant which has been in the offices of Boston College athletics for the past several months has become visible. Boston College acknowledged on Tuesday that athletic director Brad Bates would be leaving The Heights in June to start a new job–as a vice president of a search firm headed by former UConn AD Todd Turner. The irony in that move, of course, is that Turner’s firm tried to get Bates another job in athletic administration, but couldn’t, so it did the next best thing–it hired Bates, who will be a good administrator in that role. What he was not–during his four and one half year stint at BC–was a good athletic director, which was why Bates was given a simple message last summer that he had a year to find a new job, because his contract would not be  renewed at BC. The bottom line for Bates at BC was that the revenue producing sports were floundering, fund raising and attendance were down and the core group of a small, but loyal base of BC fans was declining. Since Bates now has another job, BC will not have to “fire” him, which has always been the preferable mode of operation for BC. But before things can get better, whomever is making the decision–the final call will still be BC President Father William Leahy–needs to hire the...

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BC: On the road to???

(An outsiders musings about BC, aka The Heights) It has been a quiet winter at The Heights. The Boston College football team is getting ready to start spring practice, with a sense of optimism generated by the end of the season three game winning streak and bowl victory. The basketball team is again mired in the depths of the ACC standings, headed to another losing season, with the only positive vibes generated because the Eagles’ have been more competitive in a losing streak, which is now at 10 games and counting. This all but guarantees the Eagles will  be again done with their season by the Ides of March. Even the Eagles’ gold standard, Coach Jerry York’s men’s hockey team, has dropped into second tier status as a national hockey power. This is not to suggest that there is tranquility at BC. The questions of direction for the athletic department remain. Athletic Director Brad Bates continues to operate in what almost everyone thinks are his final months as the Eagles’ AD, working from the shadows, quietly doing his job. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here....

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Gonzaga looking like the best of the best

There now seems to be a clearer line separating the No.1 seeds, with Villanova, Kansas, Baylor and Gonzaga establishing control of the top line in our projected NCAA men’s tournament field Baylor and Kansas will meet on Saturday to determine the front runner in the Big 12. And Gonzaga continues to chase history as the only unbeaten team. And the Zags look like the best team in the country, although that is open to debate. Heere’s TMG’s latest look at the Top 16, seeded by region. EAST Villanova, North Carolina, Florida, UCLA MIDWEST,  Kansas, Louisville, Arizona, Virginia SOUTH Baylor, FSU, Kentucky, Butler WEST Gonzaga, Oregon, Duke,...

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