Today, my alma mater Boston University named interim director of athletics Drew Marrochello the new head of BU athletics. The University needed a replacement for Michael Lynch, who stepped down after two unfortunate, public incidents – one involving sexual assault charges against two male hockey players, the other being accusations that former women’s head basketball coach Kelly Greenberg mistreated players in an emotionally damaging way.
On the surface, this hire seems like a great move. Marrochello came to BU in 2005 as an associate athletic director for internal affairs and was eventually promoted to deputy director of athletics. According to BU Today, Marrochello’s promotion “received strong support from the coaching staff, colleagues in the athletics department, deans, faculty, and University administrators.”
Even better, the new athletic director grew up in Arlington, Massachusetts, and used to go to BU-Boston College hockey games. Between his nine years at Boston U and his growing up in the Boston area, the guy seems like a perfect fit as the new Terriers AD.
In my opinion, however, Marrochello is a safe candidate who will fall short of his goal of getting BU viewed as “the best non-football-playing Division I school in the nation.”
What angers me most about that statement is its subtext. That goal is akin to wanting to become the greatest rock band of all-time from Uzbekistan. No offense to Uzbekistan, but who cares if you’re the best rock band there?
To be less facetious, what I mean is who fucking cares if you’re the best non-football-playing Division I school in the nation? We’re a nation that loves football. And we – the BU nation – are starving for a goddamn football team. The fact that Marrochello even uses the phrase “best non-football-playing Division I school” is an admission that we can only be the best in a tier below the best tier.
Excuse me if I want to be in the premier league of college sports.
What pisses me off most about the quotes that BU Today attributed to Marrochello is the frequency with which football is mentioned. The new AD described himself as a “kid who grew up watching the Boston Breakers play on Nickerson Field.” According to BU’s athletic website, the Breakers were part of the United States Football League, and played their home games on BU’s campus during 1983.
One of Marrochello’s fondest memories of Nickerson Field was watching a football game. And why wouldn’t it be? Nickerson is a beautiful stadium, a gem in the heart of Boston. It begs for college football to be played there.
In fact, a lot of really great football has already been played there. The Patriots played three seasons there toward the beginning of the 1960s. And if you haven’t heard of the awesome 1993 BU Football team that beat future NFL Hall of Famer Kurt Warner then you should watch this video (and parts 2 and 3).
If you want to feel better about yourself, watch the video below that some friends and I made. It was supposed to be a parody, but Barstool got hold of it and ripped us to shreds.
I spent my BU infancy frolicking around West Campus. I lived on the fourth floor of Sleeper Hall my freshman year. I woke up numerous times way earlier than I wanted to on Saturday mornings to the sound of “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” blaring from Nickerson’s speakers every time our nationally-ranked women’s lacrosse team scored. They were fucking good. I heard that song a lot.
While my hungover ass could have used more sleep, I always loved looking out my window to see the excitement unfolding on and around Nickerson. I often daydreamed about nearby Babcock Street and Harry Agganis Way shutting down for a Saturday morning football tailgate. Droves of alums, students, and Bostonians in Scarlet and White, chugging Sam Adams, Natty Light, and busting a move as the BU Band played their rousing, awesome version of The J. Giles Band’s “Centerfold.”
Can’t you just smell burgers and brats on portable grills outside of Camp Co? Can’t you see Rhett playing bags with a group of wide-eyed freshmen excited to be experiencing college football at the best college in the Northeast? I can see wily upperclassmen explaining BU’s offensive game plan to sophomores who think they know it all. It’s not hard for me to picture professors, students, and BU brass filing into Nickerson hoping to somehow, someway take down Boston College in week one of the NCAA football season. That’s assuming the Eagles would have the gumption to take us on in a non-conference week one barnburner.
Look, I’m not naïve. I understand that bringing football back to BU is not easy, and it sure as hell wouldn’t be cheap. I’m also grateful of the efforts a number of students have made to make club football a big deal.
But I’m frustrated with the current administration and athletic department’s close-mindedness. Why can’t we be one of the nation’s best academic AND athletic institutions? Why has the current administration not considered bringing football back? Or, if they have, why hasn’t that discussion been public?
Boston is one of – if not the – best cities to go to college in. Sure, we might not be able to recruit top football talent in the same way that we struggle recruiting top basketball talent, but it’s worth a shot. Can’t we, at the very least, talk about the pros and cons of bringing football back to Boston University?
I mean goddamn it, our campus has a statue of famed BU athlete Harry Agganis throwing a football yards from Nickerson! Talk about a slap in the face.
Let’s stop pretending football isn’t part of Boston University’s past and discuss it becoming part of our future.
I’m looking at you, Marrochello.