This evening, AD Brad Bates and new football coach Steve Addazio held a State of the Heights with current undergrads here on campus. Despite the massive publicity, the Heights Room was about half full with ~100 students. Nonetheless, BB and SA held a great conversation with those of us in attendance and I came away really impressed. Anyway, here is a condensed version of everything that occurred.
When BB first entered the room, he was very cordial and conversed with the students. Students wrote down questions as they entered the room, and the moderators asked BB and SA them first. Afterwards, it turned into a rapid fire Q&A with students.
First, though, brief introductions were given.
BB spoke first saying he didn’t want to get shown up by SA. His intro was fairly short, basically saying that he wanted this feedback and engagement with the students and was excited for the meeting.
The one thing you could tell about the Coach Addazio is that he is an extremely passionate person. He spoke of the pride he has in being the head football coach and the pride that alums he talks to across the country have about their alma mater. He talked about how he does what he loves to do and is living the dream right now. He told us to count on our Football team to be coached hard, play hard, and get better. SA said how the football team has a rigorous schedule year-round, yet, they have a mere twelve opportunities to do what you love, and you should go enjoy and embrace that opportunity. Daz also spoke of his desire for a great game day experience by all. Finally, he invited all the students to the spring game (April 20th, for all you keeping track at home). He also read a poem about an oak tree, which I believe he’s also read at the other town halls.
Now, on to the questions:
Re: Increase the motivation for students to attend athletic events
BB: Working on a strategic plan right now in the department. Within the next two months, they’ll have a document that outlines all the goals of the Athletic Department. This strategic plan will also have timelines and accountability built into it.
Re: How to return to bowl games while keeping with academic standards of BC
SA: Need to recruit guys who fit the BC role. Also, we want an edge to our FB team. We want guys with passion, energy, toughness, and playmakers. Want to be more exciting on offence, and play a type of attack defense. We want people who will excel in the roles they’re given.
Re: Possibility of a D1 Mens Lax Program
BB: Athletics essentially is marketing for BC. We need to prioritize programs that can have the possibility of exposing BC. In the strategic plan we’ll know better about the possibility of a program.
Re: New England BBall Recruiting
BB: We’ve been successful historically when we have the best recruits in NE.
Re: Why would a recruit want to consider coming to BC?
SA: Beautiful campus, BCS conference, elite education, Boston, tradition, 1st round draft picks, O-Line U, Family atmosphere, faith, phenomenal place, great alumni. What’s not to like?
Steve also talked about BC as a sleeping giant, which is an analogy I liked.
Re: Update on permanent indoor facility
BB: See strategic plan, facilities will definitely be part of that.
SA: Facilities are key for us to excel academically and athletically. want athletes to be champions in all aspects.
Re: Current recruiting class
SA: Not all five star players turn out to be great players. That being said, we need to improve upon our recruiting classes in the future. As for where this one is, time will tell how they turn out. Used the examples of the Pouncey brothers at Florida, who were 3 star recruits yet they’re 1st rounders.
Re: Can you build great recruiting simply from NE?
SA: Build a fence around MA. Recruiting will be mostly be in NE, Mid Atlantic, some Catholic leagues in Ohio and California, and in Florida.
Re: Marketing and student participation
BB: This department is exploding with possibilities currently. One idea he said was that they were floating the idea of creating a waiting list for games at Conte and Alumni. He spoke about seeing students at the Beanpot and thought the atmosphere was absolutely incredible. Focus groups with students will start after Spring Break.
BB: Obviously a problem. The limits are from back in the 90s. They’re in the middle of discussions with the neighborhood to fix that. He also talked about changes in hospitality that will be occurring on gameday. For example, he said how he wants everyone who has season tickets to be given a parking pass where they can park within walking distance of the stadium. More entertainment in-game, as well as a great experience for everyone.
Re: Financial restrictions on Athletics from the Board
BB: Father Leahy has been extremely supportive of everything. That being said, we have to work in the Strategic Plan of figuring out what is most viable.
Re: How do they go about picking an out of conference schedule
SA: Regional interest, national opponents, and diversity are three traits. Can’t play all high caliber teams, but we want to go where our base is strong and have a lot of alums and/or recruits.
BB: Balance between level. Want to get premiere opponents as well as mid-level clubs. Also want to go where recruits are.
Re: So are we starting to recruit in New Mexico now?
BB: We were stuck with three possible opponents when the ACC changed their schedule. One of which being an OOC game against Duke. When the cards fell, this is what we got stuck with.
Re: Getting students to more away games.
BB: Working with student groups and non student groups to figure out ways to make it easier. Also have a bunch of activities planned in Los Angeles @USC next year for family and friends of BC.
Re: Stability of ACC
BB: Think it’s very stable. Will depend on how the courts handle the buyout clause moving forward.
Re: Student seating at BBall:
BB made us students promise to show up. He then talked about hwo they have a TON of changes that they’re going to implement that will put us right on top of the action. We just have to promise that we’ll be there. Expect more information to come soon.
Re: Any AD that BC tries to emulate?
BB: Not one specifically, but different parts of many different departments.
Re: Donahue - short leash?
BB: The basketball team is a sleeping giant. We lost 6 games by a total of 20 points. Next year we’re going to explode and I have total confidence in Coach Donahue. We still have plenty of life left in this season and giants that we will kill this year. Need student support to accomplish that.
Re: Chase Rettig and the passing game
SA: Need balance on offense, but it’s limited by our skill level. That being said, we want explosiveness on offense.
Re: 2QB system feasible at BC?
SA: Don’t think it’s feasible. Like idea of dual-threat QB though because it creates havoc for opposing defenses.
Re: Parts of game SA will be involved in
SA: Won’t call offense or defense, but will be present in all meetings. Loves D and special teams.
Finally, in one of the last questions, someone asked how we can reclaim Boston as our town. SA responded with a fire in his eye and emphatically replied that we need to win. He said how he’d road trip up to see the Holy Cross - BC games when he was a kid. Said that winning will cure all our ails. He then went on a tangent, saying how the other day he was thinking about Mississippi St. and their cowbells - how that gives opponents headaches. What if we could do something here at BC - not just clapping and yelling? SA seemed really excited about that possibility. .
After a few closing remarks, the State of the Heights ended.
Overall, I thought it was a really good conversation held between BB and SA. It was clear to me that they are not content with the current state of things and want to change the atmosphere on campus. I was thoroughly impressed by Addazio and I have faith that he’ll be able to lead the team to new levels. Hell, I was ready to put on pads and go play for him after listening to him talk. BB also seemed really keen on changing things and had a bunch of great ideas. I look forward to what the future holds because, after this conversation, I know great things are ahead.