Sports, Column

Who Best Represents BC Athletics? is currently hosting a Twitter contest in which it asks participants to tweet who they think is the “face of the MLB” using a couple of hashtags, and votes are being compiled into a bracket a la March Madness. As of last night, the website had made it to the semifinal round featuring David Wright of the Mets and Felix Hernandez of the Mariners, with Wright up by about six percentage points.

As the Mets continue on to what could very well turn out to be their biggest win in living memory, I started to wonder who would make the bracket to be the face of BC athletics, and who would advance to the final round.

Some took the MLB poll as an opportunity to weigh in on what they thought was the most attractive face in the MLB-an SBNation article gave a rundown of each player to be considered, taking into account elements such as swagger and jaw definition. In this case, Chase Rettig gets my vote, hands down. Other voters, however, have taken the contest as an opportunity to select who they think best represents the MLB in terms of character. While Rettig may still be in the running when you factor in those qualifications, other faces jump to mind before his.

Athletic Director Brad Bates is one of the most public figures around when it comes to athletics, as well as football coach Steve Addazio. Then there are the other obvious candidates-Johnny Gaudreau, Andre Williams … the list goes on.

When the votes came in, though, I think there would be a huge discrepancy depending on the demographic of the electorate.

If the American public chose the face of BC athletics, it would come down to a close race between Addazio and Andre Williams, Williams most likely edging out Addazio toward the end.

They’re the guys who get the TV time. Addazio was the miraculous coach who took a team from a 2-10 season to a bowl game, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten texts from distant family members or far off friends telling me “how much they like this Addazio guy” and how he “has good energy.”

That fan favorite would have been overwhelmed, however, by the media storm surrounding #Andre44Heisman-the quiet philosopher/novelist who transforms into a freight train with the ball in his hands and was depicted in his own College Game Day segment in the run up to his fourth-place Heisman voting finish. Across America, casual viewers saw Williams smash through tackles, winning their hearts and their votes for the face of BC Athletics. Williams did his job as the face of BC athletics this year, putting it on the minds of people from outside the usual fan base.

Among alumni, there would probably be a different result-my guess is that it would be Bates. He’s the one who has publicly made it his mission to enhance BC athletics, from the campaign for a better game day experience to town hall meetings with ticket holders and fundraising events for the Flynn Fund. While the Flutie-era crowd may pull him through at least to the final four, the way that Bates goes about the pubic parts of his job would eventually sway the vote.

Bates would serve as the face similar to how the president is seen as the face of the country. He does a lot of work-behind the scenes and in the open-to reinforce the general impression of the University and its athletics.
When it comes to the administration, though, the results would be different. From University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J. to Chris Cameron, the associate athletic director in charge of athletic communications, they would want to showcase BC’s best and brightest-a two-sport athlete with a 4.0 who spent last summer feeding children in Uganda-and if nobody filled those criteria, they would fill the spot with someone like Alex Amidon or Patrick Brown, the former wide receiver who holds the career record for receiving yards and recipient of the Anne and Gerald B. Healy Scholarship for academic excellence, the latter a senior captain of the hockey team heralded for his leadership through attitude, not necessarily points. This face would be the one on the big screen at football and hockey games, enforcing the student part of student athlete.

Bring the vote to students, and the results would be close. Some still living off of their Heisman-high would carry Williams through to the late rounds. Others, wrapped up in the excitement of a 28-game point streak, would pledge their allegiance to Gaudreau.

They would want to see one of their peers representing the athletic department. Just like when the cheers rise up every time either of these gentlemen gets the ball or the puck, that same support for the visibly successful athletes, the ones who you know are going to make an impact, would show through in the voting.

This column space is not, however, a democracy, so put the vote down to me, and I can easily make the choice.
He’s consistent, experienced, and so very Boston as well as BC. Eye-patch or no eye-patch, no face deserves to represent BC athletics more than Jerry York’s, whose incredible track record on the ice combines with an approachable Boston accent and a genuine care for the wellbeing of his players and of the University.

“In York We Trust”-a phrase that comes out as naturally as when you substitute in “God,” and York’s face serves as a rallying point for students with pride in their school’s tradition of success.

It’s hard to pick just one person, because there are so many lenses through which you view BC and its programs.
From the academic poster-child to the president-like figure to the living legend, they all appeal to their demographic and do the school justice in their own way, but no one combines success, tradition, humility, and care for the University quite like York does.


February 27, 2014