Q&A With NEXT UP Honoree Martin Jarmond

November 1st, 2017 | by College AD
Q&A With NEXT UP Honoree Martin Jarmond
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Editor’s Note: Boston College Director of Athletics and 2016 NEXT UP honoree Martin Jarmond recently spoke with CollegeAD on a wide array of topics. The Q&A below has been edited for clarity and length.

CollegeAD: Being a first-time athletic director, what has been the biggest adjustment in delegating duties that you previously handled?

Martin Jarmond:  It all comes down to trust. When you’ve been at a place for a long time you have this inherent trust and you have an understanding of those people that you worked with.  At the end of the day, we’re in a people business. So it’s all about the people and when you’ve been somewhere for a long time, you know and you have a pretty good feel for a trust level and their capability and you understand how they operate, how they work and how you work with them. Whereas when your new, you’re starting over. You’re having to establish trust with many different people that you work with and it’s also understanding trying to find that balance of you know I cant do it all so I need to delegate. However, being new, you’ve got to get in the weeds because the direction that you are setting, and the tone that you are setting is important for everybody to understand and make sure we are all in alignment. So the hard part for me is finding that balance of delegating because you have to trust, to gain the trust, you have to trust. But also understanding when you’re new and you’re setting a tone and you’re setting a culture, you’ve got to get in the weeds and you’ve got to be more involve and hands-on than maybe you normally have been because that sets the culture the tone for where you’re trying to go. That’s been an interesting challenge and it takes time, trust takes time to develop and build. That’s one of the things that is really important, but that is a balance.

I think we have a very talented group, we’ve got a hardworking group, and it’s on me to trust and also help to build the trust and delegate and let go.

CAD: The Big Ten Network launched in 2007, during your time at Michigan State and of course you stayed involved with the Network at Ohio State. With the ACC Network getting set to launch in 2019, what are some of the lessons you can take away from the BTN and apply to the ACC Network?

MJ: The biggest thing I think I’ve helped Boston College with, in just my experience in the network, is understanding the impact it has on recruiting. That’s something 10 years ago I didn’t realize, just how big it was going to be, especially for our Olympic sports, how big of a recruiting tool the network was going to be and is. So where that manifests itself now, and we have been gearing up the ACC network is gonna launch in 2019, but all of the schools are going to be ready for a test run throughout the 2018 year. What I’ve been able to do is come in and look at our investment and be able to say, you know, we may want to spend more money, we need to spend more money on cameras and production because you want that kind of quality. The ACC Network will be the single biggest impact on our Olympic sports recruiting that we’re going to have. So, when you’re in a position like Boston College, where we can’t build a new volleyball facility to compete in, so when you can’t compete that way the ACC Network becomes the prime opportunity for your recruiting to showcase your program and showcase your institution. So helping our staff internally across campus understand that the ACC Network, you can’t look at that as just a network, you have to look at it holistically and how much of a recruiting tool it can be. Not only for athletics but the student body when you’re talking about reaching California, Texas, and the Midwest. For a school in the Northeast, that’s huge.

This is going to help recruiting, this is going to help admissions, this is going to help advancement, so instead of maybe having an investment level that is just required now we’re talking about doing a little more because we understand the totality, the holistic approach and impact that we’re going to have on our institution.

At the end of the day, we have to be great stewards of our resources at Boston College, and we’re going to be. We don’t have a hundred thousand seat football stadium, there’s a natural cap when it comes to revenue generation and some of the traditional way to drive more revenue. So we have to think differently and we always have to be mindful of, if we are to invest more in something like the ACC Network there has to be a why. I understand that and that’s something that our whole department has to understand that we have to be able to articulate the rationale as to why we need more investment in a certain area and this is one of those where drawing from that previous experience has really helped me.

CAD: What are some of the challenges/opportunities you face at Boston College?

 

MJ: The number one challenge, as many athletic directors may say, is the resources, revenue generation, resource generation. For the things that we want to do, and how we want to move the program forward it is going take a commitment level from revenue generation that we haven’t had before. So, our job is to articulate the vision and the plan to drive and layout that roadmap to have investment from our fans and our donors and supporters. That’s always going to be a challenge, and that’s something we think about every day. We’re in the revenue generation resource business because we’re trying to provide our student-athletes a great experience and a lot of it is the resources. That’s a challenge but that’s probably no different than a lot of people you talk to. Also here at Boston College, living in Boston obviously is an opportunity. We are in great city, we are in a place that people want to go, want to visit, want to be here because of the energy in Boston so, that’s something of a positive that really as I think more about it, we have to leverage that a little more than what we probably have it before.

I’d say in the ACC, its competition.  People forget, we have only been in the ACC a little over a decade, and so there’s a still getting to know what commitment level needs to be to be competitive in the ACC. Not just for our university, but also for our fans. So there has to be a level of this is where we are and this is where we aspire to be but also understanding the landscape. So understanding we are in a very uber-competitive division and conference in the ACC we want that, we embrace that, that’s a challenge though.

You can come to BC and get a unique experience, not just an education, but an experience that is truly transformational for you as a person as you have these formative years of your life here on campus.  To be able to tell a mom or dad or guardian, hey if your son or daughter comes to BC they’re going to have a great experience, we’re in a great conference, the ACC, they’re going to be challenged and developed to the best, with the best, athletically, and then oh by the way academically, we’re a top 30 institution. To me, that is something that is a unique opportunity here at BC.

CAD: You’ve spent much of your career working for Mark Hollis at Michigan State and Gene Smith at Ohio State, what are some tools/traits you’ve picked up from them and is there anyone else along the way you’ve leaned on/still lean on as a mentor?

MJ: Gene and Mark have been absolute rockstars for me. I think about Gene Smith every day, I think about some things that I learn from Gene and you know you’re learning even when you don’t realize it. There are a lot of situations that I find myself in, and I  think about what did I learn, what would Gene think about this, and that just shows the impact that he’s had on me. He’s been such a great mentor and leader for me. Mark Hollis, he’s always been there for me whenever I needed him. From both of those guys, with Gene it’s about leadership and culture and understanding setting the tone, it starts with people and really investing in people. It’s about the student-athlete, he was a former athlete, I am a former athlete, and so you always keep that as a core. You know, I’ve learned so much but those are the things, leadership, and culture and driving that every day. That’s really important to me.

I’ve gotten so much from a lot of people, I think becoming an AD, John Currie at Tennessee was really helpful in sending me things and the couple times we’ve talked on the phone he’s been tremendous to me. I talked to him a lot at the end of his time at Kansas State and then his transition to Tennessee. So it was cool that we were going through some of the newness at the same time.

Kevin Anderson, he’s been a mentor to me, he was one of the first people that really invested in me when I 23 years old at my first NACDA not knowing anything. I really appreciate all the guidance and council that he’s given me.

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