Pat Kraft Post-Mortem: Amiable

patkraft

Back in the day while working in the sports department of the Doylestown Intelligencer,  a column accompanied forecasting the weekend’s high school football games and an adjective attached to my name piqued my curiosity.

Lou Sessinger, then a wordsmith for the op-ed page  whose turn it was that week to write the column, turned this phrase when coming to talking about me in the piece: “the amiable Mike Gibson picks CB West to beat North Penn, CB East to beat Souderton and Quakertown to upset Upper Merion.”

Penn State v Temple

Pat Kraft (with tie) on the way down from setting the athletic director vertical leap record at Temple in a 27-10 win over Penn State.

Hmm. Not used to people writing nice things about me in print, I was fascinated by the adjective.

The only thing I knew about amiable was that it meant something good so I scrambled for my pocket Merriam-Webster dictionary.

“Friendly, sociable, and congenial.

I thought about the word last week when Pat Kraft left Temple for Boston College. He was competent enough for most but, for me, his legacy will be how amiable he was.

Was he the best athletic director ever at Temple?

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From a football standpoint, and that’s what we care about here, I would think you have to rate Bill Bradshaw and Ernie Casale above him. Bradshaw hired both Al Golden and Matt Rhule (and, to be fair, Steve Addazio) and signed contracts with Power 5 schools like Penn State and Notre Dame that were beneficial to Temple. Unlike Kraft, Bradshaw eschewed a formula that included multiple FCS opponents for a more Power 5 lean.

Casale hired one of the best head coaches in the country, Wayne Hardin, to bring the Owls from essentially an FCS status to national prominence. He was such a mover and shaker that he formed what was then the East Coast Conference (which the press dubbed the ECC or Ernie Casale Conference).

Both of those guys were amiable enough but Kraft took amiability to another level. He sought out fans, gave his opinion, listened to theirs, and was friendly to everyone.

“Friendly, sociable, and congenial.

That was Pat Kraft at Temple and I’m sure it will be Pat Kraft at Boston College.

I would talk to Pat a few times every year and would come away more impressed each time about his knowledge of football and commitment to excellence. We disagreed on the schedule, but it was a friendly disagreement.

What we did agree on was a commitment to excellence. One football Saturday morning I congratulated him on firing a men’s soccer coach who hovered for a decade around .500.

“That’s mediocre,” Pat said. “I’m never going to accept mediocrity at Temple.”

If he brings that level of acceptance to BC along with his natural amiability, that school should be in good shape.

Saturday: Some Early Stat Predictions

 

13 thoughts on “Pat Kraft Post-Mortem: Amiable

  1. Mike as Teen we always looked for the weekly buxmont football guess from the intellegencer. The heart would rise or fall for that weekly prediction for our Pennride with coach Helman. and we had one of the football stadiums too. Friday night games under the lights was America.

    • Amazing to me how seriously fans of all the teams took those predictions. Pennridge had some great teams with Jeff Lockett, Louis Riddick, etc., and coach Helman was a great coach as well as a terrific guy.

  2. Mike, your assessment of Kraft would not be as high had Diaz stayed. Kraft always went for the shiniest pick not the most competent and if McKie continues to flounder, Kraft’s reign will be mediocre at best. Finally, a competent AD would have fired Collins right after the Nova loss especially because Kraft recognized how incompetent Collins was by rejecting and scrapping Rhule’s highly successful offense.

    • basically, a nice guy who won’t make the same mistakes at BC because he won’t have to take a chance on unproven coordinators nor schedule the Norfolk States and Lafayettes there. Power 5 can hire the hot G5 March Madness coach so he won’t have a McKie-like option. I agree Diaz would have had a rough first year here but he recruited his ass off for Miami this year and probably would have been able to keep Roche at Temple, ironically. Jury still out on Diaz. Sad to say I think he’s going to kick our ass this year. I’ve never hoped to be more wrong.

      • Miami likely will win simply because of how poor our recruiting has been and how good they’ve recruited the last four years. They have high 3 to five star players at every position, players that can turn any play into a touchdown because of their speed and athleticism. If anyone thinks that the long pass plays that worked for UCF and SMU won’t work for Miami, which has better athletes than either of those two schools, think again. Throw in Houston’s ex QB into the mix and it’s going to be a long day for the defense, especially if we have August weather that isn’t overly hot and humid and game day is in the mid nineties with high humidity. By the way, Kraft can’t make the same mistakes because his schedule is already challenging due to mandatory conference games and a guaranteed athletic income stream.

      • Even tho Miami has been down lately they still carry that high end reputation plus they’re a P5 program both of which Temple doesn’t have, so there’s no guarantee Diaz would have done so well recruiting at Temple – he can rely on that Miami brand down there. Al Golden, as a great recruiter, but also for the same Miami brand reasons, brought in higher rated recruits there than he was able to at Temple (but his game-day coaching did him in, as it would again here if Temple ever brought him back).

  3. Hey Mike, to add to my comments like how import the daily Doylestown Intelligencer was important to myself, brother and parents: we all read every page ( almost OK ) everyday, except Sunday I think.
    Sad but this year on my re-new time for the A C Press, in SNJ fo rme, I have decided to no longer keep it.
    It’s so expensive and you get ” NOTHING absolutely Nothing ” as per Schultz.
    Such a shame how everything has changed,
    WE ALL know TU Football gets next to nothing in either the Intelligencer ( my parents still get it ), Philly Inqy or my AC Press. And all the ACP does is copy some lame Inqy writer once in a while and 90 % AFTER a loss, very few with positive win stories.
    Not happy, but these are the new times and they are a chaingin’
    Can U dig it , man ?

    • Great hands and the best thing about him is that he doesn’t give up after the ball is delivered. He’ll wrestle away from one guy, knock the next guy over, juke the next guy and run away from the final guy. Very pleased with our 2021 recruiting so far.

  4. And just wouldn’t you know it ? Today in my AC Press a rather glowing story about the wonderful new ass’t coach and recruiter for RUTGERS Football,
    Yes they wrote nice things about that kid from Camden High , who has already nabbed about 4 players of South Jersey. for a revived Rutgers.
    And that bright shinning star would be ex-Temple guy, Mr. Fran Brown.
    They call SNJ as South Rutgers, wow.
    Sad. He left Temple for some reason, Issue with Cary and his group ????

    • It wasn’t Carey. He got a big raise at Rutgers and had bitter feelings because he wasn’t hired as the head coach at TU.

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