Martin Jarmond wrapped up his opening statement and opened the floor to questions from the press. The new Director of Athletics tucked his script away and looked around a packed Yawkey Center crowd full of administrators, coaches, and media. Over the past month of interviews with University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J. and a selection committee led by vice president of human resources David Trainor, Jarmond had nailed his audition and won the part among a crowd of more experienced candidates. Now was his first performance for the people.
The first question came from Fox25’s Tom Leyden, who introduced himself as a BC grad, Class of 1994. “I like you already, Tom,” Jarmond quipped. Leyden asked him how he would apply what he learned at Michigan State and Ohio State to his new job on the Heights.
“First and foremost, I have to get here, and I want to learn and understand what we do and who I work with—our coaches, our staff,” Jarmond said. “And then once I learn more, I can start to kind of form my plan and how I can help support because, at the end of the day as your Athletic Director, that’s my job is to find support, how I can help each of our programs be competitive and win.”
Several questions later, the microphone returned to Leyden. Jarmond, recognizing him from earlier, delivered his most genuine moment of the press conference.
“Tom, BC grad,” Jarmond recalled. “We’re going to ask you for money, too.”
The room burst out in laughter as reality set in for the audience. With Jarmond, the University hadn’t just hired a fundraising extraordinaire, as evidenced by his record-setting campaigns at MSU and OSU—it had hired a 37-year-old leader brimming with charisma. Jarmond went on to give one of his most thoughtful answers of the day to Leyden’s question about the gameday experience for BC fans.
“The gameday experience, you have to envision the customer from their home to when they get to Conte or Alumni,” Jarmond said. “You have to look at the whole process and understand the challenges that they’re going to go through. So it has to be from, when I leave, is there traffic? How do I navigate? When I park, where is parking?”
Jarmond appeared comfortable at the podium, keeping it fun and casual while seriously addressing questions from reporters. One member of the media asked what excites him about plans for new facilities in the future.
“What’s exciting is $200 million,” Jarmond said before turning to Leahy. “Thank you, Father.”
The toughest question of the afternoon came toward the end of the press conference, and Jarmond more than held his own.
“Both women’s and men’s basketball programs haven’t had a winning season since almost 2010,” one reporter said. “They’ve usually been forgotten about at Boston College. There might be coaching changes. You’ve never had to hire or fire a coach. Do you have people in mind already?”
“I stand before you today with no particular plan for any kind of program,” Jarmond replied. “I’m just here today to tell you how excited I am to join Boston College Athletics and really get in and learn where I can help. I have not thought about that at all.”
He wasn’t done yet.
“Then as far as me ever hiring or firing, I have done that,” Jarmond continued. “You just don’t know that, but I have. But that’s not something that you typically put on a resume.”
In his first appearance as the University’s most visible administrator, Jarmond’s versatility was on full display. He stood firm in response to hardball questions, charmed with answers to softer questions, and mixed in a few witty remarks along the way. The soon-to-be youngest AD in the Power Five won’t transform a struggling athletic department based on his magnetic personality alone, but it’s certainly a start.
“Passion is contagious,” Jarmond said. “It spreads, and it is the fuel that builds momentum. We need passion and energy among all our staff and coaches in all that we do.”
In Jarmond, BC found itself a new AD with plenty of passion. And, before he officially takes over on June 1, you can already feel it beginning to spread.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor