For most of us, Saturdays are very busy. We’ll roll out of bed, get ready for another Boston College football game, and go out to hit some tailgates, making sure to get that perfect Instagram shot. Eventually, we’ll straggle into Alumni Stadium to cheer the Eagles on for a while, until we make our way out of the stadium to enjoy any post-game tailgates and festivities. Yup, most of us have pretty jam-packed Saturdays. But I think someone has us all beat.
New Director of Athletics Martin Jarmond is non-stop. Take his schedule from last Saturday leading into the game against Virginia Tech, for example. It started with a reservoir run at an ungodly hour in the morning and included multiple meetings with alumni and donors, as well as stops with various teams, including football and men’s basketball. By the end of the day, Jarmond was ready in the AD Suite for the game. And he didn’t even miss the chance to get lunch with his family.
Easily the most interesting thing to come out of the third quarter. This man is on a mission. No days off. pic.twitter.com/Hu2zP8TstX
— Andy Backstrom (@andybackstrom) October 8, 2017
This is just one example of Jarmond’s tireless, unceasing work so far this year. He has been just about everywhere on campus—a friendly, accessible face, making stops, not just at football games, but at games for teams that are traditionally overlooked. On Oct. 8, Jarmond watched volleyball defeat Clemson before heading over to Newton to watch field hockey defeat Harvard in a shootout. He tweeted photos at both games—just one example of how he’s embraced social media to create his identity at BC.
Since the first day of classes, he has tweeted 51 times—mostly about athletics, of course, but also about events like Parents’ Weekend, Pops on the Heights, tailgating in the Mods, and enjoying games with Jared Dudley and Doug Flutie. By contrast, his predecessor, Brad Bates, tweeted just 33 times during the entire 2016-17 academic year.
And Jarmond’s fun, open social media presence isn’t limited to just his own tweets. A video tweeted by @BCEagles featured Jarmond hamming it up before a football game. In the video, he shakes hands with students, greets cars as they go past, and connects with BC fans and alumni alike. One man, shaking Jarmond’s hand, tells him, “I’m telling you, you’re our future!” In one funny moment, Jarmond, who played basketball at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, recognizes someone he once defended in the 2000 NCAA Tournament. Laughing, Jarmond points at the man and says, “You’re the fastest guy I’ve ever guarded!” Judging from the video and Jarmond’s schedule on game days, you get the feeling he really does love being everywhere and seeing everything. His energy is infectious—and that’s exactly what BC needs right now.
It’s no secret that Jarmond has come into a tumultuous situation with BC athletics. Football, both basketball teams, men’s tennis, and volleyball, among other teams, have struggled to compete over the past couple of years. Fans are becoming increasingly impatient with certain coaches, no matter how many times they’re told that it will all come together and be beautiful (eventually). In an interview with the The Boston Globe, Jarmond acknowledged that fans and donors have warned him about the challenging task that he’s up against.
“A common thing I’m hearing from fans and donors is, ‘You’ve got a tough job on your hands,’” Jarmond told the Globe.
But Jarmond, just 37 years old, is a breath of fresh air for BC athletics. It’s not for nothing that he is the youngest athletic director at a Power Five school—he’s excelled in fundraising and creating connections during his previous jobs at Michigan State University and The Ohio State University. And his work hasn’t been all social media and fun times.
Over the summer, Jarmond hired Jocelyn Fisher Gates and Vaughn Williams, who previously worked at BC, as senior associate athletic directors. Like Jarmond, Williams, a former Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year for his work with Kennesaw State, and Gates are both former student-athletes of color, bringing much-needed diversity and experience into the BC athletics program.
What’s more, Jarmond has been working hard on improving the atmosphere at football games. He’s established a fan council, expanded beer and wine sales in Alumni Stadium, and recently put out a survey indicating students’ likelihood to attend football games depending on game day conditions. And he’s making videos of himself urging students to attend highly-anticipated games, like men’s hockey’s contest against Wisconsin on Friday night.
Jarmond’s only been in charge since June, but he’s already changing the program for the better. Through creating a fun social media presence and being a familiar face around campus on game days, Jarmond is changing the culture of BC athletics. He might be busy 24/7, but he definitely isn’t wasting any time.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor