He had a lot to prove.
He was a law school dean. An “academic”. Sure, he had been a short-term “athletic director” at some school in South Orange, but they didn’t even have football.
He had a lot to prove.
And then, of course, he had to hire a football coach for a program that was in disarray and to which the term “dumpster fire” was attached by more than a few people. Oh, and he had to figure out how to raise real money in order to be competitive in the Big Ten. And then had to fire a favorite son hoops coach and replace him. Whew!
Well, check all the boxes, folks, because Pat Hobbs has pretty much proven that he can do this job. Let me change that: Pat Hobbs is an athletic director like no other we have ever had at Rutgers and has done more in 11 months than most other ADs have done in their entire tenure.
Simply put, he gets it. He understands what needs to be done and he goes about getting it done. Including being the lead “make nice” guy when a bitter rival comes to town.
That letter to Rutgers fans was positive yet told people that we have a responsibility as fans - and as a University - to represent well. Be loud, be proud, be good. And to the point about negative chanting towards Penn State, he was up front and frank: don’t do it. In his words, “I don’t believe that is who we are.”
His outreach to the student community has been nothing short of amazing and, as far as I can tell, unprecedented. Whether trying to make amends over the PR disaster of closing The Alley and his taking a drink of beer there, or reinforcing a positive image and promoting good behavior among students, Hobbs has done it and done it right. Look at the tweets from the past week as the Athletic Director of a Big Ten university visited fraternities and sororities on campus. Who ever did that?
Good grief, in this photo he could just be one of their fathers stopping by to see how things are going. It’s all very natural for Hobbs.
Thank you to our Athletic Director Pat Hobbs for stopping by tonight! We can't wait for Saturday pic.twitter.com/W1yhkjiwG4— Rutgers Sigma Chi (@RutgersSigmaChi) November 17, 2016
And in return, Athletics understands the value of reaching out and thanking those who participated.
Possibly the greatest achievement for Pat Hobbs seems to be that he has alienated no one, and more importantly seems to have engaged and connected with everyone.
And is it working? Oh, yeah. I know Penn State draws out people, as does a night game. But it isn’t an automatic at Rutgers. But then Hobbs doesn’t seem to take anything for granted and works to make it successful. Promote, promote, promote!
So are students showing up for the game? Yup.
Pat Hobbs has performed beyond anyone’s imagination; he is doing a great job. And to me it seems like he is really enjoying the job and that he is relishing opportunity to turn this ship around. Pat Hobbs made an impression on Bob Barchi, which in turn gave him the job on a permanent basis instead of interim. And while he had a lot to prove, as far as I’m concerned, Hobbs is here for life!