For an athletic program like Boston College, there are usually two options when making a significant hire: try to find an up-and-comer seeking a promotion, or go for a known commodity working at a lower-tier program.
Boston College’s M.O. has almost always been to go with the predictable, for better or for worse. And the predictable has often meant tapping in to the same coaching or administrative trees, usually involving people with deep connections to BC’s past.
Brad Bates came to BC after a solid if uninspiring tenure as AD at Miami of Ohio. Jim Christian came to BC after a solid if uninspiring tenure as Head Coach at Ohio University. Erik Johnson came to BC after a solid if uninspiring tenure as Head Coach at the University of Denver.
You get the idea. It’s usually a safe assumption to guess that BC will go with a steady, conservative choice.
Brad Bates was not the problem at Boston College — but given BC athletics’ deep-rooted, long-term problems, he was probably never going to be the solution, either. In hiring Jarmond, BC decided to swing for the fences — at exactly the right moment in program history to make a high-risk, high-reward kind of move.
I frankly would have never guessed or believed that BC would hire the youngest Power 5 athletic director in the nation. I’m not sure I would have guessed or believed that they would have hired someone with no previous connection to the University. And yet, here we are — and fans seem to be genuinely excited about it. Boston College is a program in need of an injection of energy, new ideas, and fresh approaches. I love BC, as do all of us who spend significant amounts of time and energy following its sports teams even through lean times. But part of loving something is recognizing its flaws and shortfalls, and one of BC’s shortfalls has repeatedly been staying stuck in the same old way of doing things.
A change in culture does not take place overnight. So much about BC athletics needs to be re-imagined for the 21st century: fundraising, facilities, ticketing, tailgating, customer service... the list goes on. One man can’t fix everything. But going in a different direction with this hire indicates a willingness from BC to make the changes necessary to adapt to the situation it faces in 2017. That’s a very encouraging sign.
Additionally, it’s encouraging that an associate AD who likely would have had a bevy of future options available to him chose to take the BC job; it indicates that he believes in BC’s willingness to tackle some of its long-term problems and make the necessary investments to compete.
Obviously, nobody can know for sure how a first time AD will handle the pressures of being the man in charge. But we do know that Jarmond has the profile of someone who could be a true rising star in the world of athletics administration. Jarmond has handled significant responsibilities at a school with intense pressure and expectations. He’s been part of a winning culture as an athlete and as an administrator, and has earned plaudits for his work.
Now, Boston College is Jarmond’s platform to turn his potential in to success — a place where a young and ambitious administrator can make his mark and leave his legacy. At age 37, he likely doesn’t think of his next job being his last job, or his biggest job. That’s a good thing. We should want someone motivated and ambitious to lead our program in to the future.
Whether the moves Jarmond makes in the coming years prove to be successful or not, he’s going to go down as an incredibly consequential athletic director in the program’s history. Given the significance of this moment, BC made the right choice in going for someone with high upside, rather than doing what was easy or predictable.
Welcome aboard, Martin — let’s get ready to #soar.