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“We’re gonna win an ACC championship in football”: Recap of Patrick Kraft on ACC Network

Boston College Athletic Director Patrick Kraft appeared on the ACC Network’s “Packer and Durham” program on Wednesday morning, and was bullish on all things Eagles in the wake of BC’s national championship in women’s lacrosse, Jeff Hafley’s first year in charge of the football team, and new facility news.

Saying that Acacia Walker-Weinstein and the women’s lacrosse team “showed us... what we can do here,” Kraft said he’s “not here to mess around” and is focused on bringing additional hardware to Chestnut Hill.

When asked about Jeff Hafley and the football program, Kraft gushed about Hafley’s ability to recruit and teach, saying the culture being built is “why we’re gonna win an ACC championship in football.”

A quick recap of topics covered:

On returning to normalcy after COVID disrupted college sports:

Kraft reaffirmed that BC is looking forward to welcoming fans back to a full stadium this fall, and added that he has not yet been able to enjoy a game day with fans on BC’s campus, so he’s looking forward to the buzz and excitement returning.

On the women’s lacrosse championship:

Kraft had the opportunity to revel in BC’s national lacrosse title, praising the full BC athletics staff for their role in making the title happen, and saying “I came here knowing we could [win national championships]” and he’s focused on winning the next one.

“This is what we can do here. Acacia and the ladies showed us.”

On his “to do list” as AD:

“We’re not done. We got a lot done [in year one], but there’s still a lot of work to do,” said Kraft, after running through some of the accomplishments of the past year: the announcement of the Hoag Basketball Pavillion practice facility, upgrades to strength and conditioning and sports medicine/nutrition facilities, and the new equipment deals.

He said he feels good about where BC is on some of the facility upgrades, including upgrading football’s training room and enhancing weight rooms and locker rooms across the Olympic sports.

“Everyone here knows I’m aggressive. We’ve got a great community, and we’re never gonna settle” for anything less than continuing to move programs forward and build winners.

On Jeff Hafley and the football program:

“Jeff has reignited the BC football tradition,” said Kraft, when asked about Jeff Hafley.

“We have a Heisman trophy in that building. We were #2 in the country [not long ago]. There is a great tradition here. Jeff has done a good job of reigniting that energy... he’s recruiting at an incredibly high level, and we’re doing the things we need to do to support him.”

Kraft emphasized that Hafley has a clear vision for the kind of program he wants to build and the recruits he wants to bring it.

“You gotta be who you are,” said Kraft. “Too many people overthink this,” saying that Hafley’s focus has to be on being patient, taking his time, and recruiting the kinds of players and coaches he wants to come to BC. “You’ve gotta know who you’re recruiting, what you’re trying to recruit. It’s people, people, people - that’s why we’re gonna win an ACC championship in football.”

He said that what makes Hafley and other great coaches special is the ability “to get that trust, to listen to the players and know how to coach individual... the [best coaches] are teachers, and you have to teach differently to different people.”

On upcoming changes to name/image/likeness laws

Kraft was asked his thoughts on the evolving status of name/image/likeness rights for NCAA athletes and their ability to earn compensation off of it.

Kraft says he supports creating new name/image/likeness rules, saying “Charlotte North should be able to do camps” and earn some money from her skill and reputation, saying that while everyone talks about football and basketball, “Charlotte North is as big a name as anyone else there is.”

“I support [changing name/image/likeness rules], we’ve just gotta know what the guardrails are,” seeking out some certainty as right now the landscape is a bit unclear.

“It’s going to be interesting if half the states are going [with this] on July 1 and we are not,” said Kraft, referencing that over a dozen states have passed name/image/likeness laws while some, including Massachusetts, have not.

“The way I operate is, give me the guardrails and we’ll do it and handle it.”

On the New Balance/Adidas deal

“Adidas was fantastic” about working on creating a split deal with New Balance, said Kraft regarding BC’s new apparel deals. “We worked hard on this, and we’re very excited about both. The most important thing is the athletes are excited.”

“The New Balance partnership is real for us,” he said. “It truly is comprehensive - community service, use of facilities, the athletes get to design their own shoes... New Balance is 1.9 miles away from us.”

On dining out in Boston

“We finally got to go to the North End two weeks ago. Unbelievable. We just walked around, we felt like we were in Italy. We have fallen in love with that area.”