Official Site of the Boston College Eagles

Sept. 17, 1997

Boston College Names Villanova AD Gene DeFilippo Athletic Director

Gene DeFilippio Photo

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- Boston College has named Eugene B. DeFilippo, Jr., currently director of athletics at Villanova University, to the position of athletic director at the Heights, effective in early October, Boston College President William P. Leahy, SJ, announced today.

DeFilippo, 47, will succeed former BC Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk, who was named athletic director at the University of Houston in July.

As both a top-level administrator and former Division I football coach, DeFilippo brings to Boston College a wide range of experience on and off the field. Since 1993, he has served as director of athletics at Villanova, where he was named to the NCAA Division I Management Council. Previously, he held positions as associate athletics director for external affairs at the University of Kentucky, director of athletics at the University of South Carolina at Spartanburg and director of athletics administrative services at Vanderbilt University. He was offensive backfield coach at Vanderbilt in the early 1980s, and, previously, offensive coordinator at Youngstown State University and graduate assistant football coach at the University of Tennessee.

A 1973 graduate of Springfield College with a bachelor of science degree, DeFilippo earned three varsity letters in football during his undergraduate career and graduated cum laude. He received a master's degree in educational administration, also with honors, from the University of Tennessee in 1974.

At Boston College, DeFilippo will be responsible for the administration and management of a broad-based athletic program committed to the pursuit of excellence in both intercollegiate competition and academic achievement. The Boston College program is comprised of 800 student-athletes participating in 33 men's and women's varsity sports, all of which compete at the NCAA Division I level, in addition to a wide variety of intramural, recreational and club sports. Boston College also is a member of the BIG EAST Conference and HOCKEY EAST.

At Villanova, DeFilippo has been responsible for the overall operation of the athletic department, including management of its budget, 25 varsity sports, personnel, facilities, fundraising, marketing, promotions, licensing, public relations, and broadcasting, among other areas. Athletic distinctions for Villanova during his tenure included the 1997 BIG EAST regular-season basketball co-championship (along with Boston College); 1995 BIG EAST Men's Basketball Tournament title; 1994 NIT men's basketball championship; two NCAA championships for women's cross country; and the NCAA Woman of the Year Award, among others. In addition to the NCAA Division I Management Council, DeFilippo was named to the NCAA Nominating Committee, the NCAA Special Committee on Marketing, Promotions and Licensing, and the executive board of the Philadelphia Sports Congress.

DeFilippo brought Villanova radio, television and licensing rights under athletic department control, which, along with his establishment of a new corporate sponsorship program, increased athletic department revenue. The Villanova University Capital and Athletic Endowment also increased substantially during his tenure. Additionally, he established a capital project facility and improvement plan for the upgrading and major renovation of several athletic department facilities; devised a five-year plan for gender equity to achieve proportional balance within the athletic program by the 1998 school year; and developed and implemented several new programs designed to improve services to the student athlete, including the creation of a student-athlete advisory committee, the establishment of a program to enhance post-graduation student-athlete job placements, and the development of the Villanova PAWS Program - Providing Athletes With Support - which provides academic and other resources for student-athletes.

During his tenure, Villanova student-athlete scholastic averages rose to 2.90/4.0 overall during the 1996-97 academic year, a student-athlete was named a Rhodes Scholar, and more than 200 Villanova student-athletes were named to the Big East Conference Academic All-Star Team.

Prior to his service at Villanova, DeFilippo was associate athletics director for external affairs at University of Kentucky from 1987-1993. In that time, annual private donations to the athletics department increased substantially. He also raised funds to build a new basketball training facility, coordinated development of the largest collegiate radio network in the country, and led the university's licensing program to a top-10 position nationally.

Previously, DeFilippo had served as director of athletics at University of South Carolina at Spartanburg from 1984-1987 and as director of administrative services for Vanderbilt University Athletics in 1983-1984. His coaching experience includes two years as offensive backfield coach at Vanderbilt University (1980-1982), which included the 1982 Hall of Fame Bowl. From 1975-1979, he was offensive coordinator at Youngstown State University, during which time the team won two consecutive Mid-Continent Conference Championships, 1978-1979. In 1973-74, he was graduate assistant football coach for the University of Tennessee (ranked in the top 10 in 1973), coaching in the 1973 Gator Bowl and 1974 Liberty Bowl.

DeFilippo and his wife, Anne, are the parents of three children.

Boston College New Athletic Director Press Conference
September 16, 1997, 2:00 p.m. - Shea Room - Conte Forum

Father Edward Leahy, S.J. President of Boston College:

This is an important day for Boston College and I thank all of you for coming this afternoon. First, I'd like to express my gratitude to the search committee - Joe Quinn, Leo Sullivan, Dr. Hasell McClellan - and for the assistance of Gene Corrigan, former athletic director at Notre Dame and Virginia, formerly the head of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and head of the NCAA. Mr. Corrigan gave us great counsel, and fine advice on the process of finding and evaluating candidates for the position of athletic director.

The criteria we used to find the person... A fit with Boston College, experience with a Division I college, a fit with BC's institutional culture and mission and one who understood the importance of the role of athletics at this institution. Also, one who shared our commitment with academics and athletics."

(We needed) someone who could be comfortable with me, and I with him. This person was currently an AD, well-versed with the issues that facing BC, intercollegiate athletics and the nation.

We have Division 1-A football, as well as men's and women's basketball and hockey and we intend to be successful in those four sports.

We had an exceptionally strong pool of candidates, and I believe we chose the best person who can best lead our efforts to enable us to respond to the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

He is a native of Northampton, Mass. Gene is graduate of Springfield College and has coached at Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and served as an assistant athletic director at University of Kentucky. For the past four years, he has been the AD at Villanova University.

He is committed to excellence, and the heritage and values that make Boston College the great place it is. Let us welcome the new Director of Athletics at Boston College, Mr. Gene DeFilippo.

Mr. Gene DeFilippo, Director of Athletics, Boston College.

Wow! This is an exciting day for the DeFilippo Family. It's been an exciting last three days, I think Anne (wife) and I have had a total of five hours sleep since Friday up until yesterday when I accepted the job.

I can't tell you how excited we are to be a part of the Boston College family.

I'd like to thank Father Leahy for giving me the opportunity to lead Boston College athletics into the next century. When I met with you, you convinced me that you wanted the BC athletic department to be the very best in our nation.

Boston College has had an outstanding tradition, and I hope to take it to the next level and have a lot of fun at it.

I would like to thank the selection committee for their professionalism and confidentiality in which they ran their search. I can tell you (the selection committee) that my wife, my mother, and mother-in-law thought you did one whale of a job. We are forever indebted to you.

I'd also like, and this will be hard, to thank my best friend in the world, my wife Anne, for agreeing to move for the eighth time in the 25 years we have been married. It's been a long haul and we finally arrived where we want to be - one of the top institutions in the country. Anne, I want to tell you publicly, I love you and I appreciate you.

I also want to thank our daughter Kristine (senior at Villanova), son John (a sophomore at James Madison) and Mary, a seventh-grader back in Philadelphia. It's very difficult for them to move around the country with their dad, but they've made a commitment. I thank them.

I would also like to thank Villanova University and Father Edmund Dobbin. It is a terrific school and I really enjoyed my stay there. Father Dobbin gave me a chance to be the director of athletics at the Division I level and I want to thank him publicly. I can't say enough about my stay there and I have very warm feelings about Villanova.

Lastly, it's been hectic, but fun. For the BC people in the back of the room, (I want you) to know how much Ann and I appreciate the warm welcome you have given us. It's been terrific.

Let me start by talking about my philosophy before I answer questions. My philosophy on athletics has always been simple. But I think it has always been successful, and I will carry that over to Boston College.

The philosophy consists of four parts:

Every decision that is made will be made with the student-athletes in mind. Our decision won't be made for faculty, staff, administrators, but for the student-athletes who will always be kept at the heart of the program.

#2, We want to be competitive in a broad-based sports program. We are not an elitist institution and we think the broad-based sports program is the way to go at BC and we are very, very proud of our intercollegiate, our club and our intramural sports programs.

#3, We will always be compliant...compliant with all BIG EAST rules and all NCAA rules. Not just compliant to the letter of the rules, but to the spirit and intent of the rule as well.

And number four, everything we do will have that recognizable class that Boston College has always shown. One of my biggest idols was Bear Bryant. I've read and studied everything about Coach Bryant because I believe he was the best football coach ever. He always used to talk about class. He said, "We win with class, we lose with class, and everything we do, we do with class." One day, he was asked to define it, and without stopping to think, he said "I can't define class but I can certain recognize it."

I will promise you this, that we will continue to have the recognizable class that has existed over the years at Boston College.

A couple other things I want to talk about... my contract, the length and what I am getting paid. It's a multi-year contract that I am comfortable with... well at first it wasn't... so during the negotiations I got up and said I was going to call my good friend, Rick Pitino, to get his advice on how to negotiate. With that, the contract is wonderful and we are all happy with it.

I love the great academics at Boston College. I love to be around the great student-athletes, where academics is important, and athletics is important, just as being a model citizen is. Those are the things that excited me about Boston College and why it has been one of the elite programs in the country. I got the assurance from Father Leahy that he wants to stay among the best in the country.... and I think it will be a good fit.

Question: A month ago you said you wanted to stay at Villanova. Why the change?

DeFilippo: It started Friday. I was not a candidate a month ago. I was an advisor, as were most of the other ADs in the league. But on Friday, I was asked to speak to the committee, this weekend we visited and we accepted on Monday. A key for me was just getting to know a little more about Boston College, and getting to meet Father Leahy... that guy, he's a salesman. I wasn't sure I was interested in Boston College, but after I met with him, I sure was. To be candid, I was very happy where I was, and I have had opportunities to talk to other places, but those places didn't have a Father Leahy.

Question: You talked about model citizens earlier. What are your thoughts or what has happened in the last year or so?

DeFilippo: We have around 800 student-athletes at BC and they have done a wonderful job. I don't know what exactly happened, I have only read it in the papers. But those things happen, we have learned from those, and we will move on and build a model program.

Question: Do you think Boston College has learned from last year's situation?

DeFilippo: Boston College has learned from it. We learned that we must do a better job in educating the athletes in certain areas, and we know what areas they are. I think college athletics as a whole will continue to educate and re-educate their student-athletes. From time to time, there will be incidents, but we will will do everything in our power to make sure those do not occur.

I look forward to working with the media, and working together with BC people. Ann and I are looking forward to becoming members of the BC family. Thank you.