February 17, 2009

Superhuman Athletic Director

Let me start with this –– you really don’t understand how lucky you are to be a Terrier this year. I don’t know if this school will ever enjoy another year like this, with the amount of talent that is displayed on a daily basis on the field, court or ice.

Okay, sure, Boston University has been the most dominant America East school for the last three years, but this year seems more special than any in recent memory. The Terriers are the reigning three-time AE Commissioner’s Cup winners –– an award that recognizes the strongest athletic program in the conference. And right now, BU is again the front-runner for this year’s Cup.

Surely, this is just a testament to the work of Mike Lynch. Lynch took over as the BU athletic director in 2004 and brought with him this relentless wave of success. It’s insane. The man pretty much breathes success.

Lynch has done amazing things for this school, transforming it into an unstoppable America East powerhouse. Yeah, so maybe the America East isn’t a powerhouse conference, per se, but with the help of the athletes, Mike Lynch has put BU on the national map: BU finished 76th in the Director’s Cup Standings last year –– standings that rank every college in the country based on sports.

Under Lynch, the Terriers have captured over 30 percent of the conference titles: that averages out to about six per year. BU teams have reached the NCAA Tournament and actually won games. The Beanpot dominance hasn’t slowed down, and BU teams of every variety are on TV more often than ever.

And let’s not forget about one of, if not the greatest, large-scale events Lynch has put together: Red Hot Hockey. Mike Lynch orchestrated a Boston University hockey game at Madison Square Garden. Sure, it may have been like home ice for the opposing Big Red of Cornell, but Lynch gave me a reason to go to New York City and be in the national spotlight in the world’s most famous arena.

And good news –– from what I understand, Red Hot Hockey is coming back next year. You can send your thank-you cards to Mr. Mike Lynch, Boston University Athletic Department, 285 Babcock Street.

Alright, well what’s so special about Lynch beyond the unparalleled success as the Athletic Director? A lot.

No one who currently attends BU has ever played in a national college championship game. Mike Lynch has. In 1989, Lynch played in the College World Series for Rollins College, and, from what I understand, his fastball was hitting 90 miles per hour. He went on to pitch in the minor leagues for the Peoria Brewers. For those of you who only believe in the Red Sox, good news: Mike Lynch also pitched in their farm system.

Before BU, Lynch worked on the baseball staff at Union College and as the assistant athletic director for the Miami Hurricanes. I don’t doubt that he helped Clinton Portis develop at least four of his “characters” in his time there.

Before he was promoted to athletic director, he worked as the assistant vice president of development for athletics and student life for four years at Boston University. In that time, he increased monetary support for athletics by 200 percent.

This alone might be why Agganis, FitRec and the Track and Tennis Center all exist. Again, you can send your thank-you letters to Mr. Mike Lynch, Boston University Athletic Department, 285 Babcock Street.

All this is pretty incredible considering the type of environment this school has to operate in. Boston University isn’t usually a school people think of as a sports powerhouse, unless you’re talking about hockey.

The Terriers have to compete with the unrivaled popularity of the big four professional Boston teams, the unfairly high budget of the BC athletic department and everything else that is at students’ fingertips in the city. Lynch has more than doubled the number of donor-endowed athletic scholarships and given the more than 500 student-athletes pretty darn good reasons to stay at BU.

This guy is ridiculous. The perfection of this human being only rivals one other person. And if you don’t attribute all of BU’s athletic success to Mike Lynch, you have to attribute it to this other perfect human being: Jon Jonsson. As long as one or both of these men are at BU, there isn’t a doubt in my mind BU will continue to dominate athletics across the board.

When Lynch entered into his job, he said, “I would like to see Boston University’s athletics program grow and become more visible, and for the community to see the quality of the complete program we have here.”

I don’t think you can argue –– in Lynch’s limited time here, he has absolutely achieved his goal and helped better this school as a whole.

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