Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
A new era in Boston College athletics began on Tuesday, as Brad Bates was introduced as the University’s next athletic director (AD). The change is a positive one for BC, as Bates brings a wealth of experience to his new office in Conte Forum. Among his biggest accomplishments while he was the AD at Miami University in Ohio was achieving a graduation success rate of 89 percent, nine points higher than the national average. Bates also oversaw a successful hockey program there, as the RedHawks have reached the NCAA tournament every year since 2006.
Bates knows that his first priority as AD is to develop relationships with his coaches and student athletes, in order to not only build trust but also be able to fully evaluate a team’s standing. Among Bates’ major responsibilities this semester is the evaluation of the football program. The Eagles are in the midst of a challenging stretch, and there has been a clear decline in the success of the team since 2009. The Heights encourages Bates to immerse himself in the program, see what’s working and not working, and figure out how to best get the program back on track. Bates said on Tuesday that he planned on doing just that, and wanted to evaluate a “body of work rather than the emotional roller coaster of every week.” This careful evaluation will be an essential part of Bates’ first few months in Chestnut Hill, and should be seen as his most important task, besides developing relationships.
In addition, The Heights would like to suggest that Bates look at a few other key areas of interest where students, alumni, and fans have been eager to see change. One of these areas is establishing a better relationship with the surrounding communities. This relationship could go a long way for the betterment of the athletic department for various reasons. There have long been plans to build a new baseball and softball field on the Brighton campus, but those have been stalled without the approval of the Brighton community. Another area in which positive community relations will be important is in improving the game day experience during the football season. Tailgating restrictions are heavy at BC, and that is in part due to the community that surrounds the school. Maybe there is no easy fix, and it’s likely more complicated than many realize, but The Heights hopes that Bates will at least dive head first into the possibility of improving community relations.
We ask that Bates also look into exploring ways to improve athletic facilities on campus, which could benefit both students and fans. In his introductory press conference on Tuesday, Bates focused on the importance of maximizing student development. Improving facilities around campus could be one way to do that.
The Heights welcomes Bates as the newest member of the BC community, and we hope that the coming years will be a period of great growth and success for the athletic department. There will undoubtedly be many challenging decisions to make as AD, but we hope that he always makes these decisions with the students’ best interest in mind. His aspiration for the maximization of student development is such an important aspect to any college administrator, and we hope to see him following through on that goal during his time as AD.