Monday, May 10, 2010

Kvancz, Hobbs haven't talked about Ellerbe's replacement: symptomatic of a lack of desire to push GW athletics?

This is kind of odd. In the Hatchet's article about Ellerbe leaving, athletic director Jack Kvancz said he hasn't yet talked with Hobbs about finding Ellerbe's replacement: "I don't know what the hurry is at this time," he said. "But that's just me."

Maybe there isn't any hurry, but wouldn't earlier be better than later? It's not the most confidence-boosting quote I've heard.

I don't want to call out Kvancz, who by all rights is a good guy and I don't know the office politics or anything, but I just don't get the sense that the athletic department has a burning desire to push GW basketball and athletics. It seems like everything positive that happens comes after everybody asks for it for years: the Smith Center upgrades, getting better outreach and marketing from the sports information department, selling better merchandise, and so on. The school is making steps to improve (like having the sports information department doing a lot more and the GW-Mason game) but change comes slowly and there's a general lack of creativity.

One anecdote that I remember is from years ago when GW didn't sell basketball jerseys. I was asking around to see why not, and eventually I got a hold of a high-ranking person at the bookstore (this was also before they sold merchandise at games, another missed opportunity). I asked why they didn't sell jerseys, and the response was something along the lines of "why would you want a jersey? You'd have to ask the players for one of theirs." No one saw the potential to sell these things? Where's the creativity, the desire to do more? Eventually they started selling jerseys, and years later started selling merch at the games. Another example is how the school didn't do much to market the team after the fantastic 2006 season, it just sort of faded into the ether.

Yet another is when Scott Van Pelt used to talk about Pops Mensah-Bonsu on ESPN all the time, apropos of nothing. I emailed the department saying they should send him a foam hat, and they then did that. He wore it on the air and later came to a game at the Smith Center. I'm not trying to toot my horn, but a random blogger shouldn't need to come up with these marketing ideas. Of course, there has been some good news: the Obama visit got a lot of press, as it should. But there's still room for improvement.

And when changes do come, there isn't much transparency of them -- they don't get much publicity and cause confusion, like the various student section changes and the proposed change to the seating plan back a few years ago. That's improved, but still, transparency is lacking: some schools have a lot of hype when the schedule is released, or when new recruits are signed. For GW, the news sort of comes out piecemeal and late to and nowhere else, always after GW fans have been asking about it for months. Why not have a big event for the schedule, or for the recruits? Build some excitement?

Anyway, this turned into quite a rant. I'm not questioning people's loyalty or anything, I just think more could be done. I believe GW can be more.

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