On First Day As Athletic Director, Bates Fits Right In
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
They were kept in the dark until the final hour, but the Boston College athletic community responded with resounding approval and excitement to the announcement of Brad Bates as the University’s new athletic director on Tuesday.
“I’m excited like everybody else,” said men’s basketball coach Steve Donahue. “He comes with an incredible background. I love that he worked at Vanderbilt in particular and all of his experience at a high level at a school that values education. I think it’s a great thing that we have a leader like that for our student-athletes and coaches to know that he has the same vision as we do. He seems like a great fit.”
Bates inherits a rebuilding basketball program as Donahue enters his third season at BC next month.
Men’s hockey head coach Jerry York and Bates have grown familiar with each other from BC’s success in hockey over Bates’ former school, Miami University. The hockey team is in anything but a rebuilding stage as it is coming off of a national championship and is in prime position to repeat.
“Unfortunately for me, I have seen what a good coach Jerry York is,” Bates said during his opening press conference.
York spoke with Jimmy Connelly on USCHO Live about his new boss’ visit to the locker room on Tuesday afternoon.
“Brad talked to us about his love of hockey. He congratulated us on what we’ve accomplished in the past and stressed our commitment to the season ahead,” York said.
Bates also made his rounds through practices on Tuesday.
Quarterback Chase Rettig and running back Andre Williams had the opportunity to introduce themselves to Bates after his press conference, but the entire team got an introduction after practice.
“Initially he seemed like a really down to earth guy,” said senior linebacker Nick Clancy. “He’s experienced, knows what he’s doing, very well-spoken, and he looks like he’s going to bring some excitement. He seems like he’s excited to be here. He chose BC for a reason, he said.”
Bates’ enthusiasm was evident to the football players.
“I think he’s really passionate about the school,” said sophomore defensive back Sean Sylvia. “He chose us. Another AD kind of turned us down a little bit … But [Bates] chose us, and I thought that was really cool. That means a lot and it speaks volumes of what he’s going to do here.”
“He seemed like a really nice guy,” Rettig said. “He said he’s looking forward to making relationships with all of us and it’s obviously really important. I was pretty close to Coach Flip, so hopefully I can get a relationship with [Bates] like that.”
A former Michigan walk-on and strength coach at Vanderbilt, Bates brings a football background that has impressed the BC players.
“I’ve heard a lot that he was a hands-on guy when it came to working with different levels of the football and coaching side,” Rettig said. “You have to climb through the ranks so obviously he’s done it the right way and he’ll definitely be able to relate with us, so I think guys are excited about that.”
Football head coach Frank Spazinai, who also met with Bates briefly on Tuesday, spoke about the relationship between an athletic director and a head coach.
“You have to be a team,” Spaziani said. “In order for a lot of things to happen in a football program, it has to go from the top all the way down to the bottom level in your program. That’s the relationship, and once again, everybody has to be on the same page because there’s not much of a margin for error in any program going anywhere.”