Boston College Athletic Director Brad Bates is doing an admirable job of cleaning up the swill left behind in the wake of Gene DeFilippo's resignation. Less than two years into his reign as Mr. BC Athletics, Bates has done his best to transform the athletic scene in Chestnut Hill.
Alright, so maybe the Gold Pass has fallen harder on its face than the beginning of David Quinn’s coaching career at Boston University. But let’s be honest, the Gold Pass is doing exactly what it was intended to do: Get people to games.
While reviews for the Gold Pass may be mixed, I think there’s one thing that we can all agree on. The hiring of Steve Addazio has been Bates’ shining moment in his year and a half at BC.
No coach not named Jerry York has had a more transformative impact on BC athletics within the last few decades than Addazio. He turned BC football’s 2-10 record in 2012 into a 7-6 campaign this past fall, with basically the same roster as the year before. in 2012, the talent was there, but without Addazio, the motivation and schematics were not.
If Brad Bates wants to permanently endear himself to the BC faithful, he should do everything in his power to find the basketball equivalent of Steve Addazio to help turn around this school’s dismal hoops program.
The basketball team - paralleling the situation of the football program - has the talent. Olivier Hanlan was an All-ACC Third Teamer this year, Ryan Anderson earned the same award last year, and Patrick Heckmann opened everyone’s eyes in BC’s season-ending loss to Georgia Tech when he pulled 21 points out of you know where. Joe Rahon, only a sophomore, led the team in minutes and assists. Eddie Odio provided us with the occasional excitement, and Dennis Clifford brought that veteran scoring grit when he was healthy.
Admittedly, having a few All-ACC Third Teamers does not scream "championship-caliber team," but sometimes in college basketball, the sum is greater than the parts. Just ask Doug McDermott and Creighton
Too soon? I’d apologize, but they ruined my bracket too... So here’s a GIF of a bunny doing what we all wanted to do when Baylor manhandled Creighton.
To reiterate, this basketball team has the parts, much like last year’s football team. What’s needed now is a ready and able play-caller who can come in and set the tone immediately with the kind of passion and excitement Addazio exuded the moment he stepped on campus.
Bates and Addazio were making appearances all around BC, bringing the hype and anticipation for the 2013 football season to levels unseen since the Matt Ryan era. BC students had just weathered a 2-10 season that was more demoralizing than it was humiliating, for not all of those losses were ugly--four of those ten losses were by ten or fewer points.
We were close, but just did not seem to have that extra “mmph” to propel ourselves to the next level. Closing out games, adapting to other teams’ schemes, stopping the bleeding... BC football could not do any of these things in 2012.
And if that sounds familiar, it’s because it should. BC basketball has been snake-bitten the past two seasons, exhaustingly unable to close out games. An impotent basketball program has all but completely hardened the hearts of BC’s SuperFairWeatherFans.
This takes us to April 3, 2014. Steve Donahue was recently fired (*cheering*) but there are rumors that Hanlan, Anderson, and Rahon could all be leaving next season either for the draft or for different schools (*weeping*).
The only foreseeable game-changer that could nail these athletes to the floors of Conte is an Addazio-esque coach. We need someone with determination, vigor, urgency, and drive. We could probably do without another “Be A Dude” campaign, but whatever works, works. If Addazio 2.0 wants to walk around saying “Shit Like A Monkey” then we’ll let him. We just need someone who’s outwardly passionate and wants these kids to succeed more than he wants to beat the traffic home from Conte.
A tenacious, energized, and involved coach keeps the athletes of today motivated and proud to play in the maroon and gold, and keeps Boston College on the wish list of the athletes of tomorrow. Bringing in a coach whose mere presence attracts transfers and recruits – See: Tyler Murphy, Matt Patchan, James Walsh, Jonathan Hilliman, Marcus Outlow, and Isaac Yiadom among others – will prove profitable in a myriad of ways.
The Eagles are talking with Florida Gulf Coast coach Joe Dooley and Ohio University coach Jim Christian, a former Boston University player, and sources say BC is closer to siding with Christian. These guys could be great, and I have nothing against them (well maybe except for Christian because he went to BU), but there’s a great chance they could prove as unfit for the challenge as Donahue was. And, sadly, Al Skinner probably won’t be walking through that door anytime soon, either.
What BC needs is Jamion Christian, the current head coach of Mount St. Mary’s University. Molded by VCU coach Shaka Smart, under whose tutelage he served as VCU's assistant coach from 2011 to 2012, Christian is a young college basketball mind with tremendous potential coaching upside. He took a mediocre team in Mount St. Mary’s to the First Four of this year’s NCAA tournament. His coaching style, while not quite as loud as Addazio’s, is infectious and will attract recruits. The hope is that Christian can come to BC and completely change the culture of the team in a positive, refreshing manner that not only suits the players but also produces results on the court.
Can Jamion Christian be the Steve Addazio that BC basketball needs? I can’t say. But what I can tell you is that this I shouldn’t have started looking at bunny GIFs nine paragraphs ago.
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