Bates Brings Fresh Perspective
New AD Hopes To Maximize Student Development
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
The search is finally over—Boston College has its new athletic director. Fifty-three days after Gene DeFilippo announced his retirement as AD, University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., announced on Tuesday, Oct. 9, that Brad Bates is the new AD on the Heights.
“There’s nothing I’m going to say today that is going to be sufficiently profound and memorable. But what will be memorable, and continues to be, is the extraordinary talents and leadership of the Boston College students,” Bates said. “I really look forward to getting to know them and working with them.”
Until today’s decision, Bates had been the AD at Miami University in Ohio since 2002. Prior to that, Bates worked at Vanderbilt for 17 years, serving as the senior associate AD before he left.
“I want to thank Father Leahy for this exceptional opportunity, and to publicly acknowledge how privileged I feel with your trust,” Bates said. “My gratitude will be demonstrated daily in upholding the enormous responsibility I have to you, our students, faculty, alums, staff, and fans.”
Leahy talked about the criteria that went into the search for the new AD, and said that the most important factors were finding someone who would fit with BC’s culture, someone with a level of experience to lead a large athletic department, and someone who had good chemistry with Leahy and important administrators at BC.
“With those criteria in mind, we went to work,” Leahy said. “And I am delighted that I can tell you today that we have a thoughtful person, a proven leader, an individual who has significant experience in athletics, someone who not only understands but supports our commitment at Boston College to excellence in athletics and academics.”
According to Leahy, the process started shortly after DeFilippo’s announcement, and the decision to hire Bates was made last week after the committee had narrowed down its search.
“By two weeks ago, we knew who we were focusing in on,” Leahy said. “Last week, we had reached the decision.”
Leahy explained that in an ever-changing world of college athletics, hiring an athletic director with a lot of experience was one of his top priorities.
“This is a complex position,” Leahy said. “Not only are there a lot of individuals involved in terms of staff and employees, but also the complexities today of intercollegiate athletics in a changing conference world. And then there’s a significant aspect of this job involved in fundraising and how to do that, how to work with other units at a place like Boston College. I don’t think someone can just walk in and do that. It’s very important to have prior experience in those various areas.”
The search committee was composed of Leahy and Vice President of Human Resources Leo Sullivan, in addition to administrators and members of the faculty.
“This has been a fascinating process,” Bates said. “I was honored to meet with some outstanding representatives of Boston College. Andy Boynton, Pat Keating, Bob Taggart, Peter McKenzie, Father Jack Butler, Jim Husson, Trustee Chair Kathleen McGillicuddy, former chairs Chuck Clough and Jack Connors, and certainly Jan Lent and Leo Sullivan, who embody the greatest attributes at Boston College. These incredible leaders modeled an ambitioned passion and vision for Boston College that was contagious and inspiring.”
In addition to his time at Miami and Vanderbilt, Bates has a football background, having walked on to the Michigan football team while he was attending school there. Bates played for legendary head coach Bo Schembechler. That football experience may factor into Bates’ first major task as AD, as he will have to evaluate the BC football program in the midst of a difficult stretch. The Eagles have won just five of their last 17 games, and it will likely be one of Bates’ first projects to find out how to fix that problem.
“Just like any sport, you will assess it at the end of the year,” Bates said. “You’ll look at a body of work rather than the emotional roller coaster of every week. And quite honestly, I’ve been an outsider looking in. Until you really immerse yourself in the program, you don’t really know what’s going on. I’m really looking forward to talking with Frank and getting to know the team.”
Miami is largely known for its successful men’s hockey program, as the RedHawks reached the NCAA tournament every year from 2006-2012, including appearances in the Frozen Four in 2009 and 2010. BC played Miami during the semifinal round of the 2010 Frozen Four, beating the RedHawks 7-1 en route to a national championship.
“I’m looking forward to working with such an outstanding collection of coaches, and let me pick on Jerry York for a second,” Bates said. “Unfortunately for me, I have seen how good of a coach Jerry York is, and I’m very much looking forward to him becoming the all-time winningest coach in college hockey history.”
Taking over for interim AD John Kane, who replaced DeFilippo on Oct. 1, Bates made sure to thank his two predecessors for laying the groundwork and leading BC athletics to where it is today.
“I also want to thank Gene DeFilippo for the foundation he has established,” Bates said. “In an age where we look students in the eye and we talk about commitment and dedication, yet watch coaches and athletic directors hypocritically jump from one school or another after a year or two, Gene has exemplified loyalty. Also, much thanks to John Kane. It’s never easy to lead during adverse times, and certainly his presence is not only making my presence that much easier, but I really look forward to working with him as a colleague and a friend.”
From 2011-2012, Bates was the president of the 1A Athletic Directors Association. At Miami, during the most recent Graduation Success Rate calculation in 2011, Bates’ student-athletes achieved an overall rate of 89 percent, nine points higher than the national average. He cited this, in addition to the coaches he hired as some of his major accomplishments while at Miami.