GV | ONLY IN NEW JERSEY
WITH STEVE ADUBATO
Steve Adubato, PhD., is an Emmy Award–winning anchor for Thirteen/WNET (PBS) and NJTV (PBS) who regularly appears on the Today Show, Fox 5
in New York and on many New York-based radio stations. His newest book, You Are the Brand, examines the brand strategies of more than 30 individuals
and companies. For more information log on to stand-deliver.com. Find Steve on Facebook at Facebook.com/SteveAdubatoPHD.
New Rutgers AD Patrick Hobbs takes the long view of
success for the school’s troubled athletic program.
PATRICK HOBBS HAS SERVED as Dean of Seton Hall University Law School. He was
selected by Governor Chris Christie as the state’s ombudsman. He led the effort
to get Newark to invest $210 million in the Prudential Center. His new challenge:
athletic director for Rutgers University. This, after Rutgers fired its media-shy and
mistake-prone former AD, Julie Hermann, and embattled football coach Kyle Flood.
The RU football program has been troubled since the university’s move to the Big
10 Conference in 2014. The team won only four games last season, and off the field,
seven Rutgers players had a series of embarrassing tangles with the law. Restoring
faith in the program is just one of the tasks facing Hobbs in his new job.
What are some of your key challenges?
We have a lot of catching up to do on the
facilities side. We have a facilities plan
which includes a multi-sport practice
facility that will serve several of our
sports, another facility that will serve
men’s and women’s soccer and lacrosse,
as well as a plan to expand the Hale
Center for football. All of our sports will
be impacted in one way or another.
What do you have to do to restore the
RU brand? One of the biggest challeng-
es, which we have already met, is hiring
the right leadership for our football
program. [New head coach] Chris Ash
is an individual of great integrity and
character and has a commitment to do-
ing it the right way. It starts at the top. If
you look at any organization, leadership
is cause and all else is effect.
How does the football program recruit
young men with integrity and character? First, the overwhelming majority
of young men in our football program
are exactly that kind of individual. In
an environment where people focus
on the ugly episodes, we
stop looking at the posi-
tive things that so many
of our student athletes
do. Our football play-
ers get involved with
Special Olympics, they
visit hospitals and sick
children. They are decent people and
are just as embarrassed as everyone else
when things like [the recent incidents]
happen. The overwhelming majority of
our athletes are committed to that level
of integrity and chose Rutgers because
they believe in what RU stands for in
terms of education.
You have a long-term view. Will boosters
and fans share your patience? I believe
they will be patient and they will see
progress. If we are competitive in games,
and you see young athletes that you know
in a year or two will be physically at a
different level, you can get excited for the
future. The next thing is to help the fans
understand the role they play in the process. On game day, how our fans react is
the most important part of the recruiting
process. We can’t have our athletes being
booed. You don’t see that at other Big 10
schools. If you are a parent of someone
considering Rutgers and you hear boos or
screaming at the coach, is that the place
you want your son or daughter to play?
What we have to show is if you come to
play a sport for Rutgers, you will be applauded for your efforts, win or lose.
What’s unique about Jersey college
sports fans? Our fans are the most
knowledgeable in the country, and part
of that is because they are interested
in sports at every level, from professional sports to college to high school.
What I hope that our sports fans will
understand is that while our student
athletes are at the college level, and they
are going all out to bring success on the
playing fields, patience and understanding are important. My job is to continue
to make decisions so our fans have a reason to cheer and can be excited about
the future of Rutgers athletics. ;