Thank you for sitting down with me today. I wanted to ask a few questions generally about the athletic department and then maybe get into a few specific questions about the major sports if that's okay.
How has the Flynn Fund been able to weather the economic downturn? Are donations to the BC athletic department down?
You know what, we've been doing very, very well. When we got here in '97, the athletic department was raising about 2.5 million dollars per year. In the last three or four years we've been somewhere between 17.5 million and 20 million every year. In fact, I can get you the exact money. Here are our reports [hands me end of the year report to take home]. Here we are right here, at 17.5. The year before was a little more because we got a large gift, but that's about where we are. So it's been exceptionally well.
You have to understand the other thing is that we have very few tickets which we call donor-based seating. When you go to some of the larger schools, the Tennessee's, the Ohio State's, the Oklahoma's, you know they have as many as 50,000 or 60,000 donor-based seats. Our stadium seats 44.6, or 44.5, and we have approximately 6,000 donor-based tickets so that's why you see here that the Florida States and the Virginia Techs and the North Carolinas and the NC States raising a lot more money; because they have a lot more donor-based seating than we do. Our fund-raising is shoe leather. We're gone all the time...
So what are some of the things that BC Athletics is doing in terms of facilities in order to help BC stay on top?
Well, two things, from the fund-raising end of it. Number one, we want to add to our endowment. We want to grow the athletic endowment to somewhere around 200 million dollars, so that my successor, be it he or she, would have approximately 10 million dollars to start the year. And when you have 17 million from the ACC and 10 million from the endowment, that gives you about 27 million dollars to start the year, before you sell anything at all.
How involved is Father Leahy with the Athletic Department, if at all?
Father Leahy is very, very supportive of what we do in athletics. He's aware of everything that we do in athletics. He comes to some of our functions. He's very supportive, but he has a job to do to run this institution and that comes first to him, and it should. But I talk with Father all the time. I meet when the vice presidents meet. I meet with him sometimes separately, so he's involved with everything we do and knows about it but isn't necessarily right in the middle of it.
What are some things that the Athletic Department is doing to adapt to social media and social networking?
Jamie DiLoreto knows this better than I do. We're on Facebook, and they are communicating to our students through Facebook. We're doing a much better job with our website. Jamie Parker and also Christina Connelly have been doing interviews during and after games. We put those up. We're doing a lot better of a job of securing e-mails from students, alumni, fans; we're communicating that way to them. So our marketing and promotions departments have done a really, really good job, Michael. And being able to reach students, faculty, friends, through Facebook and social media has been great.
So let's talk hockey for a second...What do you think of our chances this year?
You know, as long as Jerry York's here, we never rebuild, we reload. It's about this time, now, as we get closer to the Beanpot...In the next week or two is when our team takes off every year. They get really going and playing well, and I suspect that it will be the same thing this year. We'll be right in the hunt.
What are some things that the Athletic Department can do to build wider support for the hockey program?
Well, you know, I don't know what we can do...First of all, most of our games are either sold out or nearly sold out. We're on radio this year. A number of our games are on television. We're putting players up on our website, coaches up on our website, with game stories or whatever. I think as we keep winning and winning here, there will be more and more people that will be coming to games and following the team. This is a team that's won three national championships since 2001, so they're a pretty good program.
Does Notre Dame moving into the Hockey East change anything?
You know I'm not sure it changes anything but it gives us another rival at home. When we play New Hampshire at home, BU at home, Notre Dame at home...those are great games and our fans love to see those games. So I love the fact that Notre Dame is coming into the Hockey East.
How has outdoor hockey at Fenway helped the program and when will we see a game at Alumni?
(laughs) How has outdoor hockey??? Well, I think the exposure we've gotten both nationally and locally from our two games at Fenway have been outstanding. I think there was more hoopla for the first game of course than for the second game. But the second game they sold 29,000 tickets so it gives more people a chance to see our team, to see how good they are, to get into a great environment like Fenway Park, and to come cheer for the team. So I think it's done a lot of things. We can't really do Alumni because we've got the bubble up, and that would be really difficult for us to do.
...I'd be willing to sacrifice the bubble...
You know...We've thought about how to get it done. (laughs) But that bubble is important to us too, because the last 12 years we've been practicing for a bowl after the last home game, and they need somewhere to practice, you know. That wouldn't leave us a whole lot of time for skating so I think if we continue to do it we'll do it at Fenway Park.
Check in for Part II tomorrow...