In a bit of a surprise move for Boston College fans, athletic Gene DeFilippo will retire at the end of September. DeFilippo has been the athletic director at Boston College since 1997 and oversaw the school’s move from the Big East into the ACC.
Despite the heights DeFilippo brought the athletic programs in Chestnut Hill to during his tenure, the reactions from alumni and those close to the school certainly approve the move and in a way are relieved to be moving forward.
The school released a statement indicating that senior associate AD John Kane will serve as the interim athletic director after DeFilippo retires until a permanent replacement is found.
From the official school website (BCEagles.com):
“My wife Anne and I have been discussing this decision for some time and we agree that this is the right time for me to retire,” DeFilippo said. “It is also the right time for Boston College to have new leadership in the athletics director’s position. In light of my recent bout with melanoma, which is treatable, this decision became clearer to me this summer. After the intensity of 40 years of intercollegiate athletics, this change will enable me to spend more time with Anne, my three children, and our granddaughter, Katherine. I look forward to this next stage of my personal and professional life.”
While Boston College won four national championships in men’s hockey, had 12 consecutive winning seasons in football (1999-2010), and experienced success in men’s basketball, as well as several other Olympic sports, there has been consternation among a high number of fans. Most of the criticisms surrounded the hiring of head football coach Frank Spaziani, as well as the direction of the men’s basketball program under head coach Steve Donahue.
In addition to continued success in the athletic realm under DeFilippo, he also demanded excellence in the classroom, and that was obvious in all sports fielded, but especially football, as Boston College’s Academic Progress Rate was ranked among the highest in the country year in and year out.
As far as basketball is concerned, it will be interesting to see who Boston College hires to replace DeFilippo. The basketball program has experienced a bit of a resurgence over the past decade, but with dwindling attendance numbers since the Al Skinner era, it is unclear what sort of emphasis will be placed on the sport going forward.
It seems that basketball ranks well below hockey and football in terms of importance to Boston College fans. Not to mention Boston is not exactly a college sports town so it is difficult to tell whether or not support will continue to be placed to increase the popularity of the basketball program overall.