It’s no secret that Boston University graduate Michael Felger despises Boston College. So why is he giving the Eagles advice on how to become an elite athletic institution? Find out what Felger thinks BC and Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo must accomplish in order to take the next step in building a successful program.
The firing of Boston College head men’s basketball coach Al Skinner marks the second time in two years DeFilippo has fired a coach following an interview with another school. Skinner leaves Chestnut Hill the winningest coach in school history, with a 247-165 record and seven NCAA tournament berths since 2001.
Felger: “People think the reason I hate Boston College is because I went to BU and that’s totally wrong. The reason I hate BC is because they can’t get over themselves. They have this irritating, insufferable, and inflated sense of self worth. For some strange reason nothing is their fault over there. It’s always the ref’s fault, the selection committee’s fault for giving them a bad draw, or whatever excuse they can come up with. Until they get over themselves and realize that they’re not Harvard they can go win all the weed whacker bowls they want. The alumni, the boosters, and most importantly the athletic director need to lose the elitist attitude or they’ll never be a relevant athletic school. BC has problems with their student athletes that every other school in America has. They need to accept it, be willing to admit kids who can play even if they aren’t smart enough or have questionable character, and work with them. Every other school does it. I want BC to be good so I can root against them in big games. What fun is it to hate them if they’re never relevant or playing in games that don’t mean anything? I want to see them change the way thing’s are done, win some games, and have some fun. It’s good for business, but then I want to see them choke. Rooting against BC is just as fun for me as rooting against the Yankees, but in both cases rooting against them just isn’t as fun if they both stink.”
Mazz: “All of what you’re saying is fair. I can’t really find fault or argue with any of it. It’s as if everyone who graduated from Boston College walks around with their chest puffed out. In my mind they have rightfully earned they’re reputation in this town. The people bashing BC in this town are not in the minority at all Mike. Most people in this area feel the same way you do about BC and it seems like the only people who feel differently are the ones that either went there or have some kind of tie to the school. Everyone else hates them. It’s as simple as that. I don’t have a problem with the kids it’s the alumni that keep adding to the negative persona of the school. BC thinks its Harvard Monday through Friday and Nebraska and Duke on the weekends. It’s not impossible to have an elite academic and athletic school, but it’s very hard. Gaining that balance between the two is nearly impossible for any school this day and age. To be honest, I think Boston College has done a fairly good job in both respects, but in order to take the next step the administration needs to get over itself.”
The Collin-tary: Let me preface my thoughts by confessing I am a life-long Boston College fan. Going to school at UMass Amherst from 2004-08 provided little in the way of athletic entertainment, so I even went as far as buying BC football season tickets from 2005-08. I have many ties to Chestnut Hill and have supported the athletic program as if it were my own for past two decades.
I have purchased season tickets and attended every game. I have flown to South Bend to see the football team take on the Irish. I have taken the T to TD Garden in support of BC at the Hockey East Championship. I have watched BC take on BU at Fenway Park. I have made the trek to Worcester numerous times to watch the Eagles play in the NCAA regional finals. I have driven God knows how many miles all over New England supporting men’s basketball and ice hockey. If Boston College alums think their school is so great, how come they can’t do the same?
Anyone who attends or covers Boston College athletics knows what I’m talking about. Even in the biggest of games the crowd files in a quarter late or doesn’t file in at all. Did DeFilippo think the solution was to fire a promising young offensive minded football coach who led the Eagles to a 20-8 record over his first two seasons? Did firing the man who took BC to the number two spot in the BCS Standings and who won the ACC’s Atlantic Division his only two years at the program make it better?
College coaches inquiring about NFL jobs is an accepted part of the college football landscape. I don’t care if Jeff Jagodzinski interviewed for Hitler’s job, he should have been retained as head football coach. Now it appears DeFilippo is making the same egotistical overreaction with the winningest basketball coach in BC history.
The real problem at Boston College is that the powers that be fail to admit gifted athletes into the school. Why should coaches even bother to recruit if they know the players they court won’t be accepted if they are lucky enough to sign them? Every school in America has student athletes with questionable grades and questionable character. BC sure has had plenty of athletes in the Globe’s police log, but rarely are any of them impact players! Please Google the likes of Andrew Bryant, Jermaine Watson, and Akida McLain. It’s time to start taking these risks on kids who actually have the potential to compete at the highest level and who will breathe life into this program.
I will close by telling a quick story. In December of 2006 my best friend, a BC student, and myself attended a UMass-BC basketball game in Amherst. I was in school at UMass at the time, but sported my Super Fan T-shirt in support of BC at the game. Why did I do this? I knew UMass was going to be the same old team, going nowhere all year long, so I chose to root for BC because they were playing for something.
The Eagles won the game and my friend and I walked down on the floor as the players and coaches began to exit. Sure enough Gene DeFilippo was amongst the BC cavalcade. I uttered the words “congratulations on the win” to Mr. DeFilippo and held my hand out with the hopes of a handshake. All he could offer me, the true diehard BC fan, was a dismissive wave of the hand as he brushed me aside. If Boston College Athletics is under the leadership of a man with that much ego then I have little hope for the future. In the best interest of BC Athletics I beg of you Mr. DeFilippo sir to please get over yourself.