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 Gene DeFilippo

Do you have a question about Boston College Athletics? Go straight to the top. Submit your questions now and join BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo for a live chat this Thursday, November 11, at 3 p.m. ET.

Moderator: Welcome to today's live chat with Boston College Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo. Gene will now take your questions.

lynnfield: why have the past two seasons the hockey team not have a radio outlet? other local Hockey East schools have a radio presence. Thank you for responding.
Gene DeFilippo: Unlike football and basketball, which IMG pays us to broadcast, we must pay the station to put hockey on the radio. In these economic times, we have decided that it is best to spend our money in other ways to support our hockey program. Examples include one of the finest locker rooms in the country, new lighting in Conte Forum, new video boards and a preseason Ice Jam, which was a huge success.

John Slocum (New York): Is there any chance of working with the city to come up with a long term solution to the game day parking problem at BC which hurts ticket sales and diminishes the game day experience compared to other ACC schools?
Gene DeFilippo: John, like everyone else, I realize that game-day parking is difficult for our fans, alums and friends of the university. We have worked closely with the city to gain an additional hour of pregame tailgating, but the fact remains that there are limited parking spaces in and around our stadium and there's nothing we can do about that.

Corey (fall river): Can you please get some quality teams to play BC please. NOT Buffalo, UMASS, or Stony Brook. Get Penn State back, play some Big East schools. CONNECTICUT!
Gene DeFilippo: I really don't understand your thinking, as this year we play Notre Dame and Syracuse. Next year we play Northwestern and Notre Dame. In 2012, we play Northwestern, Army and Notre Dame, and in 2013, we play USC, Army and Syracuse. I look at all of those teams as quality opponents.

Sam (Chestnut Hill): 1. Will BC ever add Men's Lacrosse? 2. Also will BC improve it's Baseball facilities to compete with the Florida schools?
Gene DeFilippo: I don't see men's lacrosse being added as a varsity sport any time in the near future. Only four institutions in the ACC sponsor men's lacrosse - Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Duke. I must note that none of those four institutions offers 18 scholarships for men's ice hockey and 18 scholarships for women's ice hockey. Hockey has been, and always will be, a very important sport here at Boston College. As for baseball, yes, we have raised almost all of the money needed to build both a baseball and softball stadium on the newly purchased Brighton campus. We hope to begin construction sooner rather than later.

Jack (Boston): Why was Shakim Phillips' redshirt burned if he was barely going to play?
Gene DeFilippo: Shakin Phillips missed most of preseason with a hamstring injury. When the hamstring had healed, he began to practice very well and got into a few games. Unfortunately, Shakim injured his shoulder, and that is why his playing time has been limited.

Jack (Boston): Is there going to be a reward system this year for students who attend the most basketball and hockey games?
Gene DeFilippo: Yes, there will be a reward system for students who attend the most basketball and hockey games. This is a continuation of the rewards program that was put in place last year.

milton ma: why doesnt bc expand alumni stadium?
Gene DeFilippo: Until we sell out on a consistent basis, there is no need to expand Alumni Stadium.

Greenarthur (Saugus): You're doing a great job Coach. With the recent upswing in the team's performance, any thoughts on extending Coach Spaz's contract?
Gene DeFilippo: I work with Coach Spaz on a daily basis and I can tell you that he is one fine football coach. This team continues to improve every week and there's still 25% of the season left to be played.

Phillis Oeters (Miami Lakes, FL): Do you believe Frank Spaziani will lead BC to the Orange Bowl within the next 3 years?
Gene DeFilippo: Yes, I do believe that Frank Spaziani will lead us to the Orange Bowl within the next three years. We haven't played in a major bowl game since 1984, and I believe that Spaz will lead us to one. We are all spoiled, especially me. I hate losing and have suffered as much or more than anybody through our five-game losing streak. When I arrived at Boston College in 1997, the football team had three winning seasons in 10 years, was coming off a gambling scandal, and hockey had six consecutive losing seasons. Our record in football over the last decade is 88 wins and 40 losses, and we have been to 11 consecutive bowl games. Our hockey team has won three national championships, and has been to the Frozen Four seven times in the last 11 years. We're spoiled, and the expectations are high, but that's a good thing, because we want high expectations, and we expect to win here at Boston College.

chris (Boston): Gene, it appears there are more empty seats and tailgating spaces this football season. What proactiv measures will you take to improve this in 2011?
Gene DeFilippo: Across the country, there has been a decline in the sale of tickets at most institutions in football, basketball and other sports. We are looking at the entire parking and ticket situation. We are going to evaluate the pricing of our parking, of our season tickets, of donor-based seating, and we will look to improve on all phases of ticket sales and parking prior to next season.

Kerwin (Charlotte, NC): Hello, how will new men's basketball head coach Steve Donahue do in his first year at the Heights?
Gene DeFilippo: I'm the wrong one to predict how a season will turn out, because I have no idea of what injuries or other circumstances might affect the season. Steve Donahue is a great basketball coach, and he will do a phenomenal job here at Boston College.

Teddy (Telluride): Any truth to the rumor that the Big 10 is looking at BC, mainly to get BC Hockey. Nice job by the way
Gene DeFilippo: There is no truth to that rumor. As long as there is an ACC, Boston College will be in it.

Erik (Boston): Mr. DeFilippo, This year on the day of the ACC Football championship we play BU in Hockey and UMass in basketball. Unfortunately, it looks like the Eagles won't be making it to Charlotte (Not eliminated yet!), but had we had a division winning season it would have forced our fans to decide between these games. Shouldn't we schedule all basketball and hockey events in that first December weekend on Friday night and Sunday afternoons? The basketball at the Garden is probably out of our hands, but we must have some pull for Hockey East scheduling. Our basketball and hockey athletes deserve better fan attendance against our rivals than what they'd see if the football team was playing for the championship.
Gene DeFilippo: Erik, I agree with everything you say. Unfortunately, we have little say in the scheduling of conference games. Our situation here at Boston College is very difficult because we play four different sports in Conte Forum, men's and women's basketball and hockey. And believe me, the conferences bend every way they can to help us to get our contests scheduled. When there is an overlap, it is as disappointing to us as it is to you, but please understand that it is not unique to Boston College. Most other institutions are facing the same situation.

Frank (Worcester): Hi Gene, As a season ticket holder to men's basketball, I was curious if it is possible to schedule more games on Saturday nights rather than early afternoon tips? I believe it would have a positive impact on attendance.
Gene DeFilippo: Hi Frank. Thanks for your question. My staff has records that prove that afternoon start times attract the largest crowds for our weekend basketball games. We have found that, unless it is a Duke or North Carolina, there is less attendance at night games on the weekends.

Chris (Boston): Gene, there is no doubt that the demographic of the student body and alumni base is spreading out and becoming less concentrated in the New England area. As a result, alumni can't be depended upon as much to purchase and attend tickets for football, basketball and hockey. What plans do you have to counteract this recent shift? Will there be more visible attempts to bring in non-alums to help supplement our fan base?
Gene DeFilippo: There is no question that the demographics of the student body have changed, even since I arrived here nearly 14 years ago. To help deal with this, we have hired a full-time director of outbound ticket sales who does nothing but help us sell tickets to those in the community. Greg Lynch came to us from a similar position with the Detroit Lions, and he is going to have a very positive effect on ticket sales.

Kevin (Chestnut Hill): I am currently a student at BC and don't understand why we have to pay for basketball tickets. No other university makes their students pay for tickets to basketball games, especially private schools.
Gene DeFilippo: At every institution, students pay for tickets, but it is done in a variety of ways. The payment is sometimes in the form of student fees, and some students who don't like attending athletics contests are disappointed because they are paying for those who do enjoy attending. Rather than increase the student fee for all students, our policy is that students who want to support us can come by paying, and those who do not want to attend are not required to pay.

Taylor (Boston): Ticket sales and game attendance seem to be steadily declining since I came to the heights in 2005. What do you plan to do to get sales up in 2011?
Gene DeFilippo: I agree that ticket sales have declined since the 2007 season. The surprising fact is that, over the last three years, season ticket sales have declined in men's ice hockey and we have won two national championships and there is no donor-based seating in hockey. I don't have an answer as to why, but we have hired a director of outbound ticket sales, and my staff is continually working to come up with more ideas as to how to sell tickets.

Matt (Holliston): We all see the success Stanford is having on the football field. Like BC they also have high academic standards. BC however appears to be going downhill the past few years. Is it the programs goal to compete on a similar high level?
Gene DeFilippo: Matt, if you look at Stanford, their last two seasons have been very successful, no doubt. Since 2005, however, Stanford is not even in the top 10 for the best record among private schools. I will include the record, so that you can see for yourself that Boston College has done very well. Since 2005, Boston College is 51-23. Only TCU (62-11), USC (61-12) and BYU (54-20) have had a better record than BC among private schools.

Jimmy (Lowell): I can't remember a season where so many games were only available via internet or ESPN3. Are you concerned about the impact on the program due to lack of national television exposure?
Gene DeFilippo: Hi Jimmy. We have had more games on ESPN3 than in past years. The reason for that is that, in football, you must play your way on, and we suffered through a five-game losing streak. You might notice that, after winning the last two games, ESPN has decided to televise the BC vs. Virginia game on ESPNU with a noon kickoff. We hope to keep winning and keep getting more ESPN games.

Bill Sitar, Chatham, NJ: Gene - in order to enhance our appeal to better bowl committee's, why dont we make season ticket holders pre-purchase one seat per season ticket held for both the ACC-CG and whatever bowl we get in (assuming we get in one that year). We would sell out our allotment and the tickets could be traded, donated, or used by the holders of those tickets. I know that wouldn't necessarily fill the stadium, b/c many would still not attend, but on paper it would make us more attractive that at least our fans purchased the tickets - and bowl organizers would know that if they choose BC, they would automatically sell 20,000 seats - etc. Please consider this. Thanks.
Gene DeFilippo: Bill, this is a question I am often asked. There is confusion about the bowls and tickets. When selected to a bowl, every institution is required to purchase a certain number of tickets, so we already have the tickets in hand, but that's not what the bowl is looking for. The bowl is looking for people to travel so that their hotels, their restaurants, their other tourist centers are having people come in during a dead period between Christmas and New Year's. We have already purchased the tickets. We need more bodies to travel. We need to look at this, and to be fair to the Boston College fans. Several years ago, we played Michigan State in the Champs Sports Bowl. Michigan State has approximately 460,000 alums, and Boston College has approximately 153,000. Michigan State has 47,000 undergraduate students and BC has approximately 9,000. Which team do you think will travel better? Of course Michigan State will.

Matt (atlanta): What is your vision for BC football? In deciding to join the ACC, I assume our thought was we could compete for ACC championships. Without pointing fingers, it seems like things are going in the wrong direction - what is your plan to right the ship?
Gene DeFilippo: My vision for Boston College football is to win the ACC Championship and play in the Orange Bowl. In the five years that we have been in the ACC, we have played in the championship game twice and we have the best record in the Atlantic Division since we joined. We have the third-best conference record in the ACC since we joined; only Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech have won more games than BC in that time period. There was noone more disappointed than me when we losts five consecutive games, but this program is headed in the right direction. The next several years are going to be very good years around here. There is no need to panic.
Gene DeFilippo: Thank you very much for joining us for today's chat. We'll hold another one in the near future. Go Eagles!

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