At Boston College, Bates’s resources will more than double. BC generated more than $66 million in revenue this past year. But he’s able to see the program with a wider lens. As soon as Bates arrived at BC, the clock was already running on his most pressing issue: evaluating a declining football program. He was swift in parting ways with head coach Frank Spaziani the day after the season ended and hiring former Temple coach Steve Addazio nine days later.
Nothing about that process was easy. He was cautious about being respectful of the long-tenured Spaziani, but also committed to the school’s supporters. He met with players for feedback about what they wanted out of a coach. He sent letters to season ticket-holders, reminding of the schools mantra, “Ever to excel.” Then he began plotting the course for the program.
“Football in a lot of ways is driving the national conversation,” he said. “You look at conference migration and it’s clearly being driven by football. Is it surprising to me that [in BC’s AD search] they would focus on someone with a football background? Not necessarily. My guess is most FBS schools are going to want people who have some connection with football and football experience.”
At the same time, he’s in the hallways and in the weight room, checking on all coaches and student-athletes. York occasionally runs into him.
“I was kind of picturing it one day,” York said. “What he must undertake in this position at this time — all the new people he has to meet, different people, alumni staffs, secretarial staffs — it’s a whirlwind thing.
“He’s seemed to deal with everything so calmly, so easily. I never saw any type of panic in his eyes or anything that said, ‘This is really difficult.’ He’s just kind of handled it with a lot of poise and a lot of dignity. He’s done it with a lot of grace.”
Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.