On Monday, former Eagles offensive guard Steve Lively (1978, 1980-82) sent an email to Gene DeFilippo expressing his concerns about the state of the Boston College athletics department. In the email, Lively raises some very intense criticisms of DeFilippo's tenure as Athletics Director.
Some of the highlights of Lively's more than 20 "findings" include:
-- Misuse of power
-- Created a phony alibi that Boston is a professional sports town and that it is hard for BC to survive
-- Fired successful coaches to either keep operating budgets down and/or because they developed a national persona
-- Caused two major sports programs to decline -- the big money makers
-- Caused a steady decline in alumni financial support
-- Issued a very public statement, overstating personal role in keeping UConn out of the ACC and ESPN's role in conference realignment and ACC expansion
Lively CC'ed the Boston College Board of Trustees, Father Leahy, and a half a dozen media outlets, including ESPN, Boston Herald, Boston Globe and The Heights.
Finally, Lively questioned DeFilippo's "lack of effort regarding diversity" coaching hires, particularly the way in which former men's basketball coach Al Skinner was fired.
"By the way Gene, Al Skinner is not lazy. He was focused on winning and high graduation rates (like Cathy Inglese and Tom O'Brien) for his athletes. Like many coaches past and present, they do not want to have to treat you like you are a deity.
Al Skinner was the wrong guy to slap that stereotype on! The ‘lazy' story was concocted by less than a handful; then pushed into the media."
Though some of the accusations regarding diversity hires seem a bit over the top, I think Lively's point stands about the way successful head coaches have been fired. The blueprint has been consistent during DeFilippo's tenure as A.D.
Al Skinner (.610 winning percentage in 11 seasons), Cathy Inglese (.627 in 20 seasons), Tom O'Brien (.625 in 10 seasons) and Jeff Jagodzinski (.714 in 2 seasons) -- the first three are the school's all-time winningest head coaches in their respective sports; all four were successful head coaches either fired or pushed out during DeFilippo's 15 year tenure as Director of Athletics.
Skinner was "lazy." Inglese "resigned" after finishing 21-12 in 2007-08, her eighth 20-win seasons in the previous 10 seasons. O'Brien left but only after taking a jab at the BC football program's perceived win ceiling. Jagodzinski was fired for a "difference of vision for the future"
All the while far less successful coaches are able to retain their jobs. Spaz's three year record is 19-19 in his last three seasons as head coach. Steve Donahue faces a massive rebuilding job with the Eagles men's basketball program, both in terms of the talent on the floor as well as with building back up fan support. Sylvia Crawley is 65-52 overall, but this year's team is 5-12 overall and the only team in the ACC yet to notch a conference win (0-4), with the toughest part of the schedule still ahead of them.
While it's unclear whether anything will ultimately come of this letter, it is clear that the list of alumni and fans upset with the way the Boston College athletics department is being run continues to grow. I suppose Leahy and the BOT can't ignore us forever, right? Right?