Sports, Athletics

“Everything About This Program is First Class”: James Talks Longevity, Pursuit of Excellence at Introductory Press Conference

For the third time in five years, members of the athletic department and the media gathered to hear from Boston College’s newest athletics director on Thursday. Newly hired athletics director Blake James, however, gave his listeners a reason to believe this would be the last introductory press conference for a long time.

“When you look at my record, those that know the industry know that having been at Miami for nine years, there’s plenty of opportunities if I would have wanted to leave to take advantage of those opportunities,” James said. “As I said to Father Leahy, I plan on being here through retirement.”

James—the former athletic director at Miami (Fla.)—replaces Pat Kraft, who left BC for the same position at Penn State in April after two years on the Heights. James will assume the role on July 1. 

In his new role, James said he will continue in his determined pursuit of excellence in all aspects of Division I athletics at BC. 

“We will compete for championships with integrity,” James said. “We will provide a world-class student-athlete experience. We will retain and attract tremendous coaches and staff, and we will do it all together as a BC community.”

The University had specific goals in mind—one being this pursuit of excellence—during its search process for its next athletics director, according to University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J.

“The committee’s charge was to identify people who had certain goals and records in their lives—people who were successful, proven leaders in intercollegiate athletics with experience at the highest level, and who could mentor players, coaches, and staff,” Leahy said at Thursday’s press conference. 

Leahy said Blake meets these goals, as he is known for his commitment to integrity and advancing many of the values that BC upholds. 

“I’m guided by my core values and by my faith, and I’m driven by a constant pursuit of excellence,” James said. “As an athletics program, we’ll strive for excellence in all that we do in alignment with our Jesuit mission and values.”

James spoke about a number of changes and challenges the ACC is facing, including finding ways to increase revenue and navigating name, image, and likeness legislation, but he said he is confident that BC will help shape the conference’s future. 

“Regardless of what comes next, I know that our student-athletes will continue to thrive,”  he said. “And when they leave Boston College with a degree in hand, they will go on to change the world.”

James said he is thankful for everyone at Miami, Nebraska, Providence, and Maine—where he had previously worked—who have become a part of his path. He said he plans to grow just as involved with the BC community.

“So many colleagues, alumni, friends, staff, coaches, and students have been part of shaping my approach and my future,” James said. “I am confident that we’ll develop those same lifelong relationships here at BC.”

The James family is new to Boston, James said, but he, his wife Kelly, and his two children Haley and Ryan could not have ended up in a better place and are excited to call the city their home. 

“We look forward to spending many years in the Heights and immersing ourselves in the community,” he said. “I think BC really knows who they are. They do it the right way. They win the right way. Everything about the program is first class.”

June 3, 2022