This afternoon, Pat Kraft was introduced to the media as Boston College’s new Athletic Director. Father Leahy began the Zoom call by discussing the traits BC looked for in a new AD. Per Leahy, BC was specifically seeking candidates “who were known for personal integrity and for following the NCAA regulations ... and for linking together athletics, academics, and community service.” Leahy also expressed the importance of hiring someone “who was a proven leader and administrator in the world of college athletics... had a record of proven success ... and who could inspire and motivate our student athletes, fans, and donors.”
Kraft’s statement along with his answers to media questions focused on the importance of faith, family, and communication. Kraft cited BC as a dream job, saying that “Boston College has been THE job for me. It is so rare when your personal beliefs coincide with your professional life. We’re happy at Temple, so our next move would have to be really special.” Kraft also expressed an intent to stay at BC long term, noting that this is a time when he and his wife want to settle into a community for the sake of their young children.
Kraft described BC as “the paradigm of college athletics” and noted that the school’s Jesuit background is important to him as Jesuit values have played a large role in his own development. He expressed his commitment to outworking “every program in the country”, starting at the top and going all the way down through the ranks.
In regards to specific sports, Kraft said that he feels confident about football in the fall, admitting that his answer would have been very different if he had been asked that 12-15 weeks ago. He also expressed his excitement about working with Coach Hafley, calling him a “great hire” and that he believes in where Hafley’s mind is. Outside of football, Kraft brought up that he “can’t wait to work with Coach York” and expects to win a National Championship with men’s ice hockey. In regards to non-revenue sports, Kraft also showed real enthusiasm, saying he is fully committed to succeeding in all 31 sports and believes “we’re all in this together.”
Throughout the Q&A, Kraft continuously brought things back to supporting student-athletes. Early on he stated that “the student-athletes are at the center of every single decision I make” and that BC “will continue to graduate young men and women who will go on to change the world.” Supporting mental health initiatives for student-athletes has been something Kraft has been passionate about throughout his career, and he reaffirmed his commitment to continuing that at BC, calling mental health “the most important thing we have to deal with.” Kraft committed to an early focus on improving mental health resources for student-athletes at BC, saying that this would be one of the first things he works on: “where are we, what support systems do we have, how can we work with the university to help.”
Kraft also expressed support for student athletes who have been sharing their experiences and standing up for Black Lives Matter, saying that “there is no better place to deal with these types of conversations than a place that is focused on social justice” and that he always wants to “empower and listen to” student-athletes and staff.
Kraft also touched on scheduling and fundraising. He admitted that he still needs to further familiarize himself with BC’s upcoming schedules but that he wants to “look at scheduling games that will engage the Boston community.” In regards to fundraising, he noted that he wants to build on what Martin Jarmond started in his time at BC. Kraft described his fundraising style as treating people right and being honest with them.