Cheers to you, Brad Bates
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 23:10
Oct. 9, the history and vision of the Miami University Athletic Department changed vastly. Brad Bates, Miami’s athletic director (AD) for just over 10 years, moved onto Boston College (BC) where he will attempt to right the ship of Eagles athletics.
Bates certainly had his ups and downs while at Miami.
He oversaw the hiring and firing of three separate football coaches. He watched as Miami came within a minute of glory in the 2009 Hockey National Championship (where, as fate would have it, Miami fell to the Boston University Terriers, who conveniently are the hockey rivals of the BC Eagles). He watched as a career built on legacy and tradition fell to shambles in Coach Charlie Coles’ final years as the men’s basketball head coach, which were marred by overhyped expectations and unfulfilling disappointment.
Bates came into a no-win situation at Miami, and yet somehow has managed to make a career without winning much. Bates took on the project of rebuilding the Goggin Ice Center, which moved across campus and turned into a palace … the envy of other premier College Hockey programs. Yager Stadium was in a state of major disrepair, and Bates embarked on a major renovation of the stadium, eventually rebuilding both sides of bleachers and installing FieldTurf.
Under Bates’ watch, the Student Athlete Development Center was constructed. A new facility specifically built for athletic training including a tutoring zone, “athletic classrooms” and other “student” based needs were in mind when the building was constructed.
Bates walked into Miami as the finishing touches were being made on McKie Field. Now Bates leaves with renovation and addition in place following this baseball season.
Bates’ record at Miami speaks for itself. Miami is a school committed not to athletics, but rather to the student experience. On Bates’ watch, Miami saw a massive growth in graduation rates among its student-athletes. Bates made sure that the world knew: the student comes first.
However, Bates leaves Miami under heavy scrutiny in terms of fan support, and many alumni watched as the fan base of the 1970s and 80s have diminished to near nothingness today.
To describe Bates’ tenure in a simple phrase would be the following: “Bates was not the Director of Athletics, he was the Dean of Athletics.” Bates was among the most well-respected AD’s in the country because of his desire to have a 100 percent graduation rate.
Ultimately, Brad Bates fit the culture at Miami. Miami values academics over nearly everything else. If Miami had the opportunity to be the No. 1 school in the country academically in every category, I’d bet my own skin they’d give up everything to do it.
Miami will survive in the aftermath of Brad Bates because he has left a solid foundation for whoever replaces him.
Whoever does replace him will have their work cut out for them though. Fan support is in the toilet, facilities are among the worst in Division 1A athletics and simply the desire to win just doesn’t seem to be among the leaders at this school.
I end with a hearty cheer to Brad Bates. He certainly will have success in his future endeavors; all that’s left to ask is “what’s next?”