There will be no official ceremony this week at the Clemson game. Just another day (next to last) at the office for Gene DeFilippo and then he will move on to a new office on the other side of campus and away from the constant traffic flow of information, controversy and plans which moved in and out of his office on a daily basis.
In the next few weeks–hopefully–Boston College will have a new athletic director and we are still booking on Wisconsin Deputy Athletic Director Sean Frazier as the choice, but, until the deal is done, nothing is guaranteed.
DeFilippo will leave with what some people will call “”mixed reviews” some good, some bad.
. Competitively, the main cash cows for BC athletics, football and men’s basketball, are in precarious states of construction or reconstruction.
The football program and Coach Frank Spaziani are in a bunker mentality as they strive to regain the direction the program had when it was, at worst, a perennial bowl team for 12 consecutive seasons.
Basketball, under Steve Donahue,is still regarded more as an ACC bottom feeder than a contender, but Donahue, like Spaziani, says he is building a foundation.
But DeFilippo, after 16 years, will not be part of the day-to-day picture.
The question that must be asked when looking at BC then and looking at BC now is simple:
Is BC better off now than it was when Gene arrived from Villanova in September 1997?
The answer isn’t even debatable.
BC is a much better place and is in a much better place, with its future secure, its foundation strong.
Sure, the W’s and L’s are not where they should be.
That will change
. But fund-raising and facilities–compared to what they were when DeFilippo arrived–are signficantly higher, vastly better.
And I still maintain that if BC had remained in the Big East, rather than the jump to the ACC, the football program would have had a minimum of two and perhaps three BCS bowl bids as part of its heritage instead of none.
The BC teams led by QB Matt Ryan and LBs like Mark Herzlich and Luke Kuechly would have carried the Eagles to the top of the Big East during the regular season which would have gotten them multiple BCS bowl bids.
BC has had no natural rivals in the ACC, which is always an integral part of an athletic program. That may change with the addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse.
But ACC rivals now?
Clemson in football is staged rivalry with good people on both sides trying to make it work.
In basketball, there is no buzz at all,, other than the few times that Duke or Carolina come to Conte Forum.
Financially, however, the move has been a slam dunk success.
The television football deal that the ACC signed last year will give BC 3 times as much money than it would have been in the Big East. The ACC’s future now, as it was when it first began its expansion move 8 years ago, is secure. With Notre Dame as part of all sports but football it is even more secure.
DeFilippo was a part of that movement. Give him the credit he deserves.
Were mistakes made?
Of course they were. The hiring and firing of coaches at BC has been anything but smooth, but those moves seldom are.
The issue of seat licensing in football was a huge mis-read by DeFilippo. He should have reversed direction as soon as he saw it wasn’t working. His argument was that everyone else in big boy athletics does it.
Sure they do.
But Gene has always said that BC is not like every one else in the way they do their business with the profile of their student athletes. Yes it is. And so is the fan base, which is older and loyal to the core, but smaller in numbers.
But you can’t have it both ways. Seat licensing at BC might work some day, but it needs to go away quickly.
Rivalries need to be nurtured. This neighborhood feud with UConn needs to end. Please stop the SueConn chatter which is still out there. That was then, this is now. New decade, new people in charge. And that was business, not personal, although both sides continue to make it personal, which will make the athletic competiton between the two schools even better.
Hatred is good in rivalries. It puts people in the stands, creates a buzz. BC needs that. Does anyone think that Louisville and Kentucky really like each other in anything. Yet, they play each other every year in football and basketball.
Auburn-Alabama? Florida-Florida State? Clemson-South Carolina?
We get BC-Stony Brook next September.
The facilities, as improved as they are, also needed to be upgraded. That won’t be easy on a campus and in a neighborhood, where changing the hours of tailgating before football games is a major project.
BC sponsors too many sports, which is a money drainer.
Downgrade some to the club level and put lacrosse, which is a major, ACC, northeast dominated sport and you might create a buzz on campus. Why can’t BC be like Duke or Virginia or Maryland in lacrosse? Why can’t it be better?
Other changes will come.
Hopefully, BC hires the right person to provide the leadership that is necessary.
DeFilippo will be primarily a spectator in this process. He will have more time to do what he wants and when he wants, like his visiting his son John, who is the quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders and in my opinion, still a rising star in the coaching profession, which would be a great legacy for Coach Flip, who made the switch over to the administrative side early in his career.
Gene’s legacy at BC should be simply this: Despite things that he didn’t do and could have and should have done differently, BC is a better place now than it was when he arrived.© Copyright 2012 Mark, All rights Reserved. Written For: A Jersey Guy