Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Morning Coffee with Gene DeFilippo Part I

The interview with Gene DeFilippo went outstanding. I met with him for nearly an hour, and then he fed me over to the head of ticketing, Greg Lynch, so that I could discuss some of BC's ideas on how to sell out Alumni Stadium this year. I will make Greg Lynch the subject of another post because I was very impressed by what he is bringing to BC, but it suffices to say that a man who can sell tickets to Lions games can make a killing here in Chestnut Hill.

GDF's office was absolutely incredible. I've been in both Father Leahy's office and now GDF's, and I have to say that GDF has Father beat hands down. I really was shocked at how accommodating GDF was to myself and this blog, and I'm sure he had better things to do today than to give a small-time blog access to his office for an hour. I'm really, really thankful for the opportunity and I hope you guys enjoy the interview.

Thanks so much for doing this for us today. Let's start you off with a really difficult question. When do you plan on renaming Conte Forum King York's Palace?

King York's Palace??? (laughs) You know what, I think we'll leave it Conte Forum for now but nobody, I don't think, has done more to show how much we appreciate the present and the past than us. Being a lover of football, you see every Saturday, between the first and second quarters we introduce a former player. We've retired numbers. We've retired jersey's. We've hung banners in our arena and football stadium and we'll get to do those things in the future. You know, that's a neat question and I've got some thoughts on that too.

Will we see another Ice Jam next year?

Yes, we'll see another Ice Jam. I thought it was a terrific success. Our staff did a phenomenal job with it and it will be a yearly event...

With Vanilla Ice?

I don't know if Vanilla Ice will be back this year. We'll have to see, but we might do something a little bit new...

So one of the debates we've been having is which will happen first, an ACC championship in basketball or an ACC Championship in football?

I never predict anything but I know this; this has been the best decade in Boston College's history. If you take a look at the numbers, from 1980-1990 our football team was 62-52. From 1990-2000 we were 57-57. And now, from 2000-2010 we've been 88-40. The same is true for basketball, men's soccer, women's soccer, and women's ice hockey. This is the greatest decade in Boston College's athletic history.

Everything's possible. Let's not just limit it to an ACC Championship but let's think about being Butler or George Mason. If those two institutions can get to the final four three times, we certainly can.

We noticed that the spring depth chart hasn't been released yet for football. Is there going to be a spring depth chart released at some point?

I don't know. Spaz is experimenting with some people and trying some people at different positions so at some point he might release a depth chart but before the fall everyone will know what's going on. (inaudible)

Let's talk about the hiring of Rogers. How much of that was you doing the interview process and how much of that was Spaz going out and finding a guy he really wanted. 

Spaz is the head coach. I did not interview Kevin Rogers. I did not interview any of the candidates. This is Spaz's team and he has to hire a staff that he feels comfortable with. What I did is I was able to come up with the money where I was able to pay the person that he hired. Good coaches don't come cheap. They don't. So Kevin didn't come cheap but he is a great football coach and he is a great, great person and he'll do a terrific job here.

People sometimes think that I'm involved here or there but I didn't interview one of the candidates. This is Spaz's team and he's the one who has to be comfortable so he's the one who did all of the interviewing.

In terms of the defense, it seems like the linebackers get a lot of the attention nationally, but that the scheme itself runs around good tackles from the corners. How excited does it make you that BC was finally able to sign a blue-chip CB?

Well, I'm not sure that's accurate. In fact, I'm sure that's not accurate. Everybody on defense has a job to do and the defensive linemen have to control one of the gaps and keep the offensive linemen off the linebackers. Our corners have to be cover corners, particularly the corner to the wide side of the field. The other corner, to the boundary, is more of a forced-to-play-inside type of corner. So that's not truly accurate. Everybody has a job to do and when all eleven people are doing their job we're pretty good. To be candid, we've been awful good on defense for the past 12 years around here since Frank Spaziani's either had control of it, or now as head coach has his hand in it.

Was the decision to burn Chase Rettig's red shirt solely Spaz's as well?

Spaz made that decision. He makes all the decisions as to who we're going to red shirt and who we're not. Do we talk about those things? Absolutely. I mean do Theo Epstein and Terry Francona talk about things? Of course they do! But, when it comes to taking a pitcher in and out of a game, Terry runs the game. Spaz and I talk about things but when it comes to calling plays or who's going to play, Spaz decides things.

So has he given you any indication as to how many red shirts we might see handed out this year? 

We have no idea how many red shirts will be handed out this year because we haven't had a chance to see any of the players. They come in for the second session of summer school and we can't even watch them then. Only the strength coach and the trainers can be out there. When we start practice...And the other thing is that you don't even know then. Let's say you have one position and you have two or three injuries at that position. Well, then you have to take someone out of a red shirt even though you don't want to. You can't always do what you want to. It's just a plan. You have to go along and see how things work out.

Part II to come tomorrow. Read up on GDF's take on the basketball program and some of our reader questions...


  1. great interview - looking forward to Part II. It seems like Gene has been keenly aware of some negative perceptions out there that he has tight reins over the coaches, esp. football...and that he may have wanted to do this interview to "set the record straight" on his overall approach. It does seem a bit shocking how much he trusts Spaz - hopefully his trust is returned in spades. Good perspective, Mike - thanks for bringing it to us!

  2. That short post provided more substantial insight into the BC football program than I've been able to gain by reading the Globe and Herald for many years. Nice work!

  3. I agree, great interview. Nice work on this blog. I know that as an AD he often gets criticized, but I think Gene does a great job. He's a genuinely nice guy and a great ambassodor for BC.

  4. You guys are KILLING it with this blog. Love the interview. Keep up the good work.

  5. Nice work having the initiative to go out and get the interview. The BC blogs make GDF remarks on a daily basis but we rarely get to hear his answers to direct questions.

  6. This blog keeps adding solid depth and has become an essential stop in the BC Blogosphere.
    Just curious, were you guys satisfied after your interview with the answers GDF provided?

  7. Gene is a good spin doctor, you have to give him that.

    Anyone buying his disclaimers about his involvement in the football program needs his/her head checked. But, hey, if you loved Gary Tranquil and Gene's shock over Jags leaving a second-rate college football program for an NFL job, then you've probably been a big fan of his. He's either been incompetent or meddlesome, and I'm not sure which is worse.

    By the way, I can guarantee you that Gene wouldn't have been so 'accommodating' had you asked some real questions. I guess I can't blame you because he wouldn't have sat down with you at all.

  8. Great job on this guys. Co-sign comment #2, amazing insights into Gene here that Blauds hasn't given us in decades of coverage. Keep up the great work.

  9. @ Anonymous (the one who seems highly critical"
    "By the way, I can guarantee you that Gene wouldn't have been so 'accommodating' had you asked some real questions. I guess I can't blame you because he wouldn't have sat down with you at all."

    Did you actually read their questions? They weren't exactly softball questions like "So how awesome do you think the state of BC sports is?" Yes, he did direct some of his answers to the questions, but in all, I thought the ATR guys did a solid job coming up with questions that held GDF accountable. Sure, Gene may have his hands in directing the FB team, but it is a rather surprising insight that he didn't interview Rodgers. I thought he provided a rather frank answer concerning his role in that process.

  10. Keep up the good work, guys! I'll agree with the posts above - the interview (thus far) is excellent. It's been a pleasure keeping up with the blog for the past few months.

  11. I found your interview via a link from atleagle. This is excellent work. The entire interview was great and it is excellent to here answers coming directly from Gene. I thought his responses were very good and I like how, for the most part, he did not try to evade the questions.

  12. Spaziani doesn't have a clue on offense. Things are only going to get worse. He already has Rogers under wraps. His treatment of the seniors should have "pulled his own redshirt". Flutie should have bunched out the Spaz for the way that he treated his nephew. GDP knows that the future is shaky to say the least. Shinskie regressed and Rettig showed no improvement. This is a coaching issue.

  13. Can Gene explain why he fired the men's basketball coach that got him all those wins.

  14. King York's Palace??? Do you really think Gene cares about hockey?


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