Extras From Interview With Brad Bates: Part Two

November 13, 2012

The Heights: What are your thoughts on the outside criticism of Frank Spaziani, and how much weight do those opinions carry?
Brad Bates: “The highest priority is student development, so we’ve got to focus on how we’re doing that within any program, but the next priority is how we serve our fan base and our customers and our stakeholders and our alums. Our alums are the essence of any of our programs. They’re the ones [whose] standards to which we strive every day. When there’s high expectations, that’s awesome, because our alums set those high expectations when they were students here.”
The Heights: What is your assessment of the resources you have available to you?
Bates: “I’m still kind of immersing myself in that and looking at matrices. Not every variable has the same weight and application. I’m still piecing together different variables that fit in to matrixes and assigning weight to them just to assess where we can gauge our human and financial resources with our program relative to our competitors and our peers.”
The Heights: Can you expand on the matrices?
Bates: “Every school where I’ve been we’ve developed a matrix that we’ve used – and coaches have helped us develop it. So part of this is going forward, that’s something that’s got to be jointly developed. I’ve never met a coach that didn’t want to win every game. I’ve never met a coach that didn’t want to win and didn’t want to excel and didn’t want their program to win championships. I didn’t hire one coach that’s here, and so the conditions by which they were hired and the conditions by which they were evaluated and assessed was really under a different set of conditions, potentially, to what we will form and evolve as we work together.”
The Heights: Do you have any ideas on improving facilities, short-term or long-term?
Bates: “One of the great things about this job is that Gene and the university and the administration has a facility plan – it’s a long term and short term facility plan. Part of it is maintenance and part of it is significant renovation. What I am in the midst of doing is trying to understand that plan and trying to understand my role in it, because it’s not always all going to be institutional resources a lot of it will be private. So I’m plugging in strategically how we will raise that money and elevate our facilities, or for a better term, athletic classrooms.”
The Heights: What do you think are some things you can do regarding the idea for a new baseball and softball stadium on Brighton campus, and what can you do to push that in the right direction?
Bates: “We’ve got to remember that we’re in a neighborhood and we have neighbors and we have to coincide in ways that are mutually beneficially. And so there’s a sequence of events that has to take place. The university if very much aware of that sequence and they’re striving to expedite that sequence. They realize the value to our baseball, softball, and intramural sports in having that new facility and, you know, I will probably be part of that conversation and trying to develop future strategies to expedite it but I know the university is very, very much focused on making that process happen quickly. But again, we’ve got to work with our neighbors.
The Heights: What are your thoughts on how you can connect the students that are not student-athletes to the athletic department?
Bates: “A variety of things go into the student experience and students coming to events, and it’s not just athletics. We can’t sit over here in the athletic department and just expect students to show up to our events. It’s got to be a reciprocal relationship, right? So when there are student theater productions, are our student-athletes attending those events and supporting their classmates? When there are concerts on campus, are our student-athletes supporting the activities of other student groups? So that’s got to be a reciprocal relationship. In terms of studying the student attendance patterns over time, I haven’t looked at that yet. You know, I’ve been here two weeks. I’ve been to eight to 10 athletic events in a variety of sports. Have I looked at if our student attendance patterns are consistent with where they were when we were competing for the ACC Championship game? I haven’t gotten a chance to look at that. As I study that and look at it, we’ve got to look at how we entertain our students. We’ve got to look at what our win-loss record is, because part of this is winning and losing. We’ve got to look at how we’re promoting the events and communicating it to our students and how we’re connecting our student-athletes to the student population. Here’s an interesting statistic—one out of every 12 undergraduate students at Boston College is a student-athlete. That’s a very significant percentage of our population, and so our student-athlete body can have a really positive impact on the rest of campus on the issues that are important to other student organizations and groups in the same way that the other student organizations and groups can have a significant impact on our games. I see this as a culture and a family and the more that we develop relationships with one another and be fully integrated, the more we’re likely to support one another, even beyond just the winning and losing.”
The Heights: How do you feel about the total number of teams competing at BC right now?
Bates: “This is a very preliminary response, but I very much believe in the ideology of a holistic, educational experience for students, and when you have a lot of sports that provides that many more opportunities. The other advantage of this particular position is that it also oversees the Rec Plex and the intramural and club sports. So when you take that number that one out of every 12 undergraduate students is an athlete, and then you add the number of students who are involved in intramural and club sports in the Rec Plex, you’ve got an incredible responsibility to a very large percentage of students on this campus, and that’s one I take very seriously and I feel an enormous responsibility and obligation to make sure that we add to the quality of the experience.”
The Heights: What are your thoughts with competing but working with the professional sports teams in Boston?
Bates: “They’re an incredible resource and the ownership and leadership at all of the professional organizations have really close ties to Boston College. So partnering with them in mutually beneficial ways that serve the entire community, I think, is one of the great opportunities of this position. The fact that we have these celebrity athletes in this community is a huge asset, but even beyond that in terms of competitiveness, surely, we have to better in customer service. We have to be as good as anyone, because that’s who we compete, but with the demographic of Boston—there are plenty of people in the community who we can regularly attract to our events and we’ve got to creative in how we do that and do it consistently. And when they come here we’ve got to deliver on the promise. They’ve got to have a great experience so they come back.”


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