Yesterday Boston College introduced their new Athletic Director, former Ohio State deputy Martin Jarmond. His press conference was a very positive affair filled with energy, enthusiasm and optimism moving forward. He said all the right things, and left us as fans with a nice warm feeling moving forward. But even Jarmond must admit, he has some serious work ahead of him. Let’s look at some of those issues that are going to need be addressed during his time in Chestnut Hill.
Coaching: At the press conference someone asked him flat out about the coaching situation for different sports, and Jarmond did say he has experience with hiring and firing coaches. It’s pretty clear that at the current moment football head coach Steve Addazio, and basketball coaches Erik Johnson and Jim Christian are safe through next season. It wouldn’t make any sense to go in and fire anyone now, because BC wouldn’t be able to get the best candidates, and I think it makes sense for Jarmond to get a chance to properly evaluate each coach through an entire season. However if these sports don’t improve, Jarmond will need to hire replacements, moves as we saw with Brad Bates that could define his tenure.
Facilities: Brad Bates did make a few big improvements to Boston College, with the upcoming indoor practice facility and baseball/softball stadium due to break ground this spring. However, Jarmond still needs to evaluate where BC is at in terms of facilities and make improvements to bring the school up to speed with the rest of the ACC. The Eagles still need a dedicated basketball practice facility, and both Alumni Stadium and Conte Forum need updates.
Donations: Now I don’t have any data on this, but based on the conversations I have had with other donors, I have to imagine the Flynn Fund has seen a marked decrease over the past few years. I hear more and more from donors who have decided not to buy their DBS (side note: get rid of this please), tailgating spots, or donate in general. I know it’s only anecdotal, but the Eagles are going to need to get back donors, and appears that this is right in Jarmond’s wheelhouse as he got record donations at Michigan State. Get the fan base excited again and the money will return. You had to laugh when he called out Tom Leyden of ESPN at the press conference and told him to get ready to donate again.
Game Day Experience: Right now most fans would say the game day experience for most sports vacillates anywhere between bad and wretched. A combination of the lack luster experience and poor on field results, along with some other factors (TV) have resulted in dwindling attendance. Fixing all of this is going to be a major challenge for Jarmond as there are multiple factors that make changing fans experience difficult. He met that head on at the press conference talking about how he wants to attack this, but hasn’t gone into specifics. Hopefully he will have some new fresh ideas that can work with all involved. The fans need to get excited about this program, otherwise you can expect more half filled Alumni, and 3⁄4 empty Conte.
Balancing Academic Integrity/Building Student Athletes And Winning: I love how Martin Jarmond said that neither of these are exclusive. The Eagles need leadership on how to build a successful team that is also thriving in the classroom. It’s nice to hear about graduation rates, and academic rates, which Brad Bates really loved to talk about (which he should), but they kind of rang hollow when teams consistently place in the bottom of the ACC. Again Jarmond’s honesty and goals are what BC should be pushing towards and I think how many fans want BC to push forward.