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30 Reasons for 30 Days - Day 13: Because of Pat Hobbs

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NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Rutgers Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

From now through September 3rd, I am posting a daily reason why it is great to be a fan of Rutgers football. There are a lot more than thirty, but I picked my thirty reasons, and hope you like them. If not, be sure to let me know.

Last November 29, a day after the disappointing end of the Rutgers football season, a trifecta of big news rocked the Rutgers campus, and it reverberated around the state, and throughout the Big Ten. In one felled swoop President Richard Barchi fired Athletic Director Julie Hermann and Head Football Coach Kyle Flood, and almost immediately thereafter announced that he had hired Pat Hobbs to be the new athletic director.

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Rutgers
Pat Hobbs greeting fans the day after his hiring.
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Hobbs was known primarily as the Dean of the Seton Hall University Law School, and had briefly been the AD at Seton Hall as well. The naysayers were chirping loudly, that Barchi had blown it again, that Rutgers again hired someone without the credentials necessary to run a Big Ten athletic program.

Boy, has Pat Hobbs proven them to be incredibly wrong. Ridiculously wrong. So wrong there aren’t enough adjectives to describe how wrong they were. I mean, WRONG!

Since his arrival, he has overseen an almost complete transformation of the program from top to bottom, not just in football, but also in basketball. New head coaches in both of those positions that have received nothing but praise and both have made practically no mis-steps since they arrived on campus. Both Chris Ash and Steve Pikiell

NIT Season Tip-Off
Head basketball coach Steve Pikiell instructing his players
Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

have hired a supporting cast that have received raves in terms of their professionalism as well as their ability to recruit and retain those recruits.

Head Football Coach Chris Ash meeting reporters
Head Football Coach Chris Ash meeting reporters
rvc73

Less than two months after his arrival, Mr. Hobbs announced a $100 million fundraising effort to begin much of the needed upgrades in facilities across the campus. This had been attempted in the past (most recently in 2008 for the expansion of the football stadium), and had not been successful. This time, as Mr. Hobbs himself declared at the beginning, things moved very differently. Coupled with $25 Million in tax credits from the State of New Jersey, within four months of the kickoff the school had announced it had surpassed even the most optimistic estimates, raising over half of the total. At this point they have raised $55.8 million of the total needed, and construction has begun on a baseball/softball facility, the football weight room as been completely redone, and plans are currently being drawn up for a critically necessary basketball practice facility.

Exterior of new Baseball/Softball practice facility
Photo courtesy of Bob Cancro

All of this can be laid at the feet of the athletic director. Pat Hobbs vision to date has been spot-on, and every move he has made has been done in a professional, calm, and measured way. It is not business as usual anymore in Piscataway, where tormented fans have long been used to poor decisions, reckless actions, and finger-pointing when things go wrong. For all that, the fans say, “Thanks, Pat!”

Now, this is early, really early. After all, Pat’s hires have yet to play a down or oversee a tipoff. However, just based upon the professionalism of his hires, and the new sense of “can-do” that permeates the campus these days, it is a different place. For that, and more that will happen as the season progresses, it is just another reason why it is great to be a fan of Rutgers football.

Pat Hobbs at recent fundraiser meeting.
Photo Courtesy of Megg Sherman