Tuesday, June 14, 2011

II. Improve Conte Forum

This is the second part of our series on how to improve Boston College’s athletic department.  Check out Part I of the series here, but today I want to turn to the basketball and hockey programs.  Obviously the common link here is Conte Forum, a building which (if you watch the DVD documentary The Battle of Comm Ave) once was the pride of Boston College and is now in need of repair and renovation.

Let’s start with some of the things that BC has done well when it comes to Conte. First, the building is actually pretty underrated in that a lot of programs don’t have a building either that nice or that big.  Secondly, BC has done significant work on the building in the past several years.  The athletic department has rejuvenated the rink and court, whether it be through the addition of the wall of honor, or through the new lockers for the hockey team.  Despite these changes, however, the building still hasn’t lost that 1970s/1980s feel with the ugly yellowish gold, abundant cement, and crappy bleachers.  With that in mind, here are some ideas, some more realistic than others, for improvements.

  • New coat of paint.  If Conte isn’t getting a new coat of paint each year than someone isn’t doing their job, and, to be perfectly honest I don’t know the last time the place got a paint job.  I would also move to change the color scheme slightly from the current maroon and yellow to an actual maroon and gold.  I was tempted to suggest a maroon and white but then I realized...
  • Less is more.  I understand that BC is trying to cultivate a culture of sports at the school but we can’t pretend that the sports tradition at BC is on par with some top-tier schools.  Instead of having the wall of honor, I would rather we have a few exhibits in Conte dedicated to those individuals who are truly excelled both as people and as athletes.  As an avid BC sports fan, I can’t even tell you who the coach was who directed BC to their only football national championship.  Why doesn’t he have a statute and a display?  Ten life-sized statues and career displays of BC’s top men and women are significantly more valuable to the atmosphere than a few hundred names on the wall. If you don't believe me look at how much success the Flutie statue has had outside of Alumni.
  • Strip the Bleachers.  I don’t know what the cost of this would be but if this isn’t being discussed it needs to be.  More maroon seats could be added all the way to the top of the press box.  Maybe you could even intermingle gold seats to make a “BC” (you know, like the flowers on campus that spell BC).  In any case, it would remove an eyesore from the stadium and give fans something to lean against. 
  • Less Cement. I have no set solution to this problem, but I think that people generally agree that the cement look needs to go, especially when it comes to the areas near the V.I.P. boxes on the alumni end of the court/rink.  Does anyone have any ideas to what we could put here? Wood? Something? Anything? Even if we put a BC “wallpaper” up (I’m thinking of the adhesive pictures you can have specially made and cut to fit the wall; yes like a giant “fathead”) that would be an improvement. Maybe we could make one of a crowd of superfans to make it look like we actually have fans in the stands. 
  • Gold Days. Here’s a crazy idea. Get the e-mail addresses of your ticket holders (and don’t give me the argument that our older alumni don’t have e-mail…they do), e-mail them prior to the game, and urge them to wear gold superfan shirts.  Then back that up by providing a link to Superfan shirts which can be special ordered for any class year.  It seems like every other school has figured out how to get everyone to wear the same color at the same time, except BC, so let’s start to get on the same page here.


  1. Statues! We need more of them. Granted, it costs a ton of money and is a big project (took a long time to get a Flutie statue), having even just one or two more would be a huge boost to improving BC's athletic culture. Jerry York (when he retires...hopefully not for a long time) and Matt Ryan should be the first two to go up.

    Also love the "Gold Day" idea. As long as the Superfan shirts don't have the Under Armor logo on them. I think this would be easiest and work best with hockey.

  2. I feel like all these suggestions are already done, like this post was from 6 years ago? The paint colors have been changing throughout Conte for years now. They've also changed up colors and design of the banners int he rafters. There's a lot more maroon now instead of off-white paint on the cinder blocks, and a lot more stuff covering that.

    It doesn't have seat back chairs up top, but we do have the off-colored seats that spell out BC already.

    Conte does have adhesive picture wallpaper in some spots.

    Also a renovation last year - the new video scoreboards are amazing.

    There's definitely aspects about it that are aged, but they are only noticed if the place is isn't full. If we get a good crowd, which is unfortunately rare, Conte looks great.

    My suggestion is to get people closer to the court on the baselines. They try to get that look by putting one close row, then there's 10-20 feet of carpet, then there is that student & band section. Get everyone closer and use behind that section as a walkway. It's like they half ass that effort and cut corners. One row of people seated does nothing for atmosphere.

    Also, not that related, we need to retired the jersey of Troy Bell. Long overdue. The guy was a 2x Big East Player of the Year, and I think he finished as the school's all-team scoring leader.

  3. •The most visual walls in Conte are painted every spring before graduation along with the rest of work that goes into impressing the people on campus for the commencement ceremony

    •1 end of Conte is the “hall of fame” & the opposite end is a trophy case with trophies from bowl games, big east, hockey east, & other league championships as well as individual awards such as Flutie’s Heisman, Ruth’s Outland, etc. It also has photos & tributes to coaches, which I suggest you take some time to read before you start talking about statues…what school has statues lined up? The Flutie statue outside is without a doubt a deserving tribute to the only Heisman trophy winner we had & the part he played in the resurgence of the school in general. You don’t know the coach of the national championship team, because we NEVER had one. You’re probably referencing Frank Leahy of the 1940 undefeated team that finished 5th in the final NCAA pole. For some one who claims to be an “avid BC sports fan” 1) you should know who Leahy is, especially given the fact he left BC to go to Notre Dame & 2) know we don’t have a national title.

    •Why strip the bleachers if you can’t even fill them?

    •Creating a “prettier arena” does not bring people to the games, winning & consistently winning does.

    •Schools that get their stadium or arena to wear 1 color to game, perhaps like penn st with their white games have it a lot easier….there’s 30k+ student population all on campus with nothing else to do within 10 miles

  4. Bravo 2:22PM, bravo! Sometimes I think posts are written just to post something something without knowing what you are talking about! "Arounftheres" -- I hope you aren't going around thinking BC has won a national championship in football! Perhaps "avid" BC sports fan is pushing it a bit in your case. "Research, then write" is a good mantra to live by.

  5. Hey now, to be perfectly fair to Mike, he knows full well that BC's national championship was never officially recognized. That being said, we do claim it for ourselves and even commemorate it in the banners around Alumni Stadium. Most students don't know about that perfect season or about coach Leahy, so Mike's suggestions about increasing student knowledge/awareness of BC folklore stand regardless. Judging from past posts, Mike is not the type to overlook obvious details like the two above posts would suggest. He's just a die hard BC fan, as well he should be.

    That being said, I have to say that I'm very content with Conte Forum. I think it's a great venue for Hockey and B-Ball, however much it might need touchups here and there. Some of my most memorable BC sports moments were in Conte, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

  6. Max:

    Let's stick to "fact"lore as opposed to "folk"lore. Do you actually believe that Miami or Notre Dame or <> would "claim" a national championship for themselves?? That is utterly and outright embarassing. Where are these championship banners you speak of? If I were ESPN, I would zoom in on them and ask "Did we miss this somehow folks"? Mike overlooked the most obvious sports fact in BC football: THAT. BC. HAS. NEVER. WON. A. NATIONAL. CHAMPIONSHIP. IN. FOOTBALL. PERIOD. It's great to root for BC, but you can;t have in your head stuff that isn't reality.

  7. I can stick up for these guys, there is definitely a banner that says we won the National Championship by beating Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl. It was always in the case in Conte, so it probably moved now to the football building.

    Actually, looky here, just found a picture:


    It might not be Universally recognized because there were probably numerous sources to name a Champion, but we've got one.

  8. Anonymous,

    I think you're missing Max and Mike's point. No, we did not win the national championship that year. But BC does, unofficially call it our championship year. I think it would be wise to check with the BC athletic department as to why they call the 1940 team "national champions" (I have a feeling there was some minor dispute in the polls) rather than questioning Mike's BC fanhood. Here's a link to BC athletic website that calls the 1940 team our "national championship" team: http://bceagles.cstv.com/genrel/071000aac.html The point is that the 1940 team, which went undefeated and untied as well as played a few thrilling games, should be better known than it is. Though I do agree with you that we can't do much with Frank Leahy since he bolted for ND.

    For Conte Forum, bringing back past greats for games would help. Like Erik said, retiring Troy Bell's number. Or having Jared Dudley (students still love him) come back for anything. Would it be possible to bring Mike Mottau, Brian Gionta, Corey Schneider, or Nathan Gerbe for some sort of pre-game ceremony? Just thoughts...

  9. Two comments:
    1. The 'lower bowl' (maroon seats) actually look great. The yellow bleachers are horrible; I'd love to replace them with maroon seats. The only problem I can see is that you'd probably decrease capacity for Conte. The seats with backs take up more space than the yellow bleachers; my guess is that Conte would lose about 300-400 seats in total.
    2. The floor seating is constrained because of poor design; I'm not sure there's a lot you can do without blocking the view of people in the first couple of rows of the maroon seats.


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