Tuesday, January 05, 2010


Unlike the Nobel Peace Prize, this Award is given to people who have actually done something. And this year's winner has accomplished a great deal.

The winner is...

Gene DeFilippo, Athletic Director at Boston College.

DeFilippo took the reigns of BC's Athletics in 1997. Before that, he was the AD for Villanova, an Assistant AD at Kentucky, and held various coaching positions in the football programs of Tennessee, Youngstown State, and Vanderbilt.

DeFilippo has certainly left his mark on BC. He's spearheaded campaigns to improve facilities. He oversaw construction of the Yawkey Athletics Center, which now houses the football team, freeing up space in the once cramped Conte Forum for other sports' locker rooms.

Remember the astroturf at Alumni Stadium?

No more!

Being the AD at Boston College is a balancing act. The school's insistence that athletes meet academic standards coupled with the need to remain competitive in all sports. Throw in competing with Boston's pro-teams for fan support and revenue. But under DeFilippo, BC has maintained its reputation for academic prowess (in '04, the football team had a 100% graduation rate).

At the same time, BC athletics have thrived on the court/field/ice:

The hockey team has won 2 NCAA titles during DeFilippo's tenure, as well as 6 Hockey East crowns, and 10 NCAA tournament appearances.

The football team has a 104-58 record since he took over as AD. BC has made it to 10 Bowl games during his tenure, and won 8 of them.

The basketball team has made it to the NCAA Tournament 7 times under DeFilippo, advancing to the Sweet 16 in 2006, which matches the program's farthest advancement.

The baseball team went to the NCAA Tournament in 2009, for the first time since 1967. They lost to #1 Texas 3-2 in a 25 inning game, the longest college game ever.

When you peruse rosters for BC sports, you don't just see people from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island anymore. Matt Ryan was from Pennsylvania. Craig Smith and Jared Dudley were from California. Nathan Gerbe was from Michigan.

The big accomplishment for DeFillippo and BC was the move from the Big East to the ACC. Although it was fraught with legal mines and booby traps, it's been worth it. ACC basketball is far superior top-to-bottom, ACC football just feels like it's on a bigger national stage with teams like Clemson, FSU, Miami, and Georgia Tech, and ACC baseball seems to have stimulated growth for BC's baseball program.

And just from personal experience, I work at BC sporting events, and at basketball my spot is a few feet away from Gene's seat at the press table. He's always full of energy, seems to know half the people in the crowd, and always has a piece of paper in front of him, taking notes on something. He is the very model of a modern Athletic Director.

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