So now the elephant which has been in the offices of Boston College athletics for the past several months has become visible.
Boston College acknowledged on Tuesday that athletic director Brad Bates would be leaving The Heights in June to start a new job--as a vice president of a search firm headed by former UConn AD Todd Turner.
The irony in that move, of course, is that Turner's firm tried to get Bates another job in athletic administration, but couldn't, so it did the next best thing--it hired Bates, who will be a good administrator in that role.
What he was not--during his four and one half year stint at BC--was a good athletic director, which was why Bates was given a simple message last summer that he had a year to find a new job, because his contract would not be renewed at BC.
The bottom line for Bates at BC was that the revenue producing sports were floundering, fund raising and attendance were down and the core group of a small, but loyal base of BC fans was declining.
Since Bates now has another job, BC will not have to "fire'' him, which has always been the preferable mode of operation for BC.
But before things can get better, whomever is making the decision--the final call will still be BC President Father William Leahy--needs to hire the right person.
The danger for BC is that it follows its normal path of looking for new personnel: hire a search firm, go through a vetting and interview process and then come up with a list of three or four finalists for more interviews and more vetting.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
That would be a mistake, especially since there are two possibilities who look to be a cut above everyone else for a job which requires strength in fund raising, as well as organizational skills.
They are Army Athletic director Boo Corrigan and VCU athletic director Ed McLaughlin, both who flirted with BC five years ago before Bates was hired.
Both have excellent credentials--and McLaughlin is a BC graduate.
Corrigan, the son of fomer ACC commissioner Gene Corrigan, has a strong ACC pedigree, as well as ties to Notre Dame and has dealt with the Pentagon in his role as the AD at Army.
Corrigan also has experience as a "football'' AD, which McLaughlin does not, but McLaughlin has done a superb job in fund raising and facility upgrades at VCU.
What BC must not do is make either Corrigan or McLaughlin go through a process of competing for this job.
There are other possibilities, including former BC football coach Tom O'Brien, who could emerge, but having a forum in which several candidates are involved is the wrong way to proceed.
The Eagles must pick a front runner, talk to him and if both sides like what they hear, the job should be filled.
And BC must let its new athletic director have the freedom and the funding to make the improvements necessary for the Eagles to compete.
Getting this hire right is crucial for BC because the new AD will determine the future of football coach Steve Addazio and men's basketball coach Jim Christian, both of whom will be on coaching seats which will start out in the "warm'' category next season, especially for Christian whose teams have been below the mediocre line the past two seasons.
This is a crossroads moment for BC, which is a great school in a great city, but has floundered in almost every athletic area in the past several years.
The job will draw lots of candidates, as any Power 5 opening will. And BC is an upper tier school, despite its recent performances.
How BC handles this will be an interesting soap opera for BC fans the next few months.[/membership]