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  Athletics    
         
    Q&A with the new A. D.
Talking with Dick Regan ’76

By Frank Mastrandrea ’88, Sports Information Director

On July 1, Richard M. Regan '76 began his tenure as Holy Cross' new athletic director. Regan replaced Ron Perry '54, who served as AD from 1972-98. Regan becomes just the fourth Crusader AD in the last 50 years.

He takes over a Crusader program which this year will return to the policy of awarding athletic grants-in-aid in both men's and women's basketball; a program that has seen tremendous growth in the area of women's sports in recent years and which has continued the goal of maximizing the collegiate athletic experience for all its student-athletes through the creation of more full-time coaching positions.  

Prior to returning to Worcester, Regan had served as the managing director of the Scottish Claymores of the NFL League (formerly the World League of American Football). Joining the League in 1991, he had been based in London beginning in 1992. Regan had served as vice president of finance, vice president of European operations and chief operating officer before taking charge of the Edinburgh-based Claymores in 1997.  

When the World League went through a reorganization following the 1992 season, national Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue appointed Regan managing director of NFL International, in charge of overseeing and developing the NFL's interests throughout Europe and planning the NFL's American Bowl series of international games in London, Dublin, Barcelona and Berlin.  

After receiving his degree from Holy Cross in 1976, Regan spent nine years working for Arthur Anderson & Co. in its Boston offices, rising to the level of senior manager. He then moved to the NFL with the New England Patriots, where he served as vice president-finance from 1985-88.  
Before joining the World League, he had worked for three years as the managing director of Monarch International Inc., a licensing and financial consulting firm.  

Regan's ties to Mount St. James run deep; a third-generation alum, his father is Richard M. '50 and his grandfather was the late Harold J. '17. Regan's sisters, Mary '77 and Ann '80, also received degrees from Holy Cross.  

A native of Providence, R.I., Regan and his wife, Judi, have three daughters - Jennifer, 17, Deirdre, 15, and Colleen, 12.  

What is it like replacing a man like Ron Perry?  
Ronnie Perry is a Holy Cross legend. I can't even remember Holy Cross sports before Ronnie Perry. I can tell you that he has been great in the transition. He has been extremely supportive and I appreciate the fact that he will be available to assist.  

Fr. Reedy was an integral part of what brought you back to Holy Cross. How does his decision to resign affect you?  
I was very disappointed when Fr. Reedy resigned. One of the reasons I accepted the position is that we clicked immediately and I knew I could work with him. However, there's been a great deal of focus on athletics over the past two years by both the Trustees and the College Administration, so I'm confident that the College has a fairly clear direction.   

Was it the position or the school which brought you back from a successful career in Europe?  
I was in Europe when Ronnie announced his retirement. I was unaware of the search until I was contacted by a Trustee. It struck me as a very unique and appealing situation. Leaving Europe when I did was not on my agenda. If this had been any other school, I would not have been interested in the position.   

You graduated from Holy Cross 22 years ago. How has Holy Cross athletics changed since 1976?  
The entire sports landscape has evolved since then, so there are numerous changes. The world of college football has certainly changed. At Holy Cross, student interest in attending athletic events is much less than it was 20 years ago. That is a concern of all of us and stimulating student interest is a priority. Perhaps the most dramatic difference has been the growth and development of women's sports. Unless you are very close to collegiate sports, I don't think you can really appreciate how much this has changed in recent years. While the male-female composition of the student body has been nearly 50-50 for a number of years, the number of women who want to participate in varsity athletics and the quality of women's programs have both increased dramatically in, say, the last 10 years.  

You mentioned a decrease in student interest in the years since you graduated. What about fans and alumni?   
One of our main priorities is to increase attendance at all of our events, but particularly at what we call our "revenue sports" which are football, men's and women's basketball and ice hockey. We need to increase our support in all areas: students, alumni and the local community. I'm convinced there is a lot of historical interest in the local community in Holy Cross sports and we hope to build off that.   

How can you accomplish this? Can you draw upon your NFL experience?  
We will be doing a number of things to increase attendance. For one thing, I would like to see the events themselves become more entertaining. That's what we had to do in Europe to promote American football . increase the overall entertainment value of the event. Obviously at Holy Cross, we don't have the resources that we had in the NFL, but I think we can make our events more entertaining. We will also be increasing our marketing efforts. We would really like to see the Worcester community take more of an interest in Holy Cross athletics. Hopefully, within the next few years, we'll be able to bring major games for both our men's and women's basketball teams back to the Centrum.  

Your return coincides with the return of athletic grants-in-aid to the men's and women's basketball programs. What's your initial take on their impact?  
We are committed to improving the men's and women's basketball programs, and scholarships are an important step towards doing just that. Not only do we think that giving scholarships will allow us to get better athletes, but we also believe that they will allow us to attract better student-athletes. As every alumnus of Holy Cross understands, we have an excellent academic reputation and we do not intend to tarnish that. While we will be very aggressive in recruiting top athletes, an athlete must be able to meet the challenge of our academic program. Also, the addition of scholarships allows us to improve the strength of our schedule. We need to renew rivalries with some of our traditional opponents. Let's face it, it's going to take a few years to get this program back where we want it. Unlike professional sports, you can't trade for a superstar, so the "turn around" process won't be as quick. I think, however, there will be noticeable improvement this year, particularly in the men's program.   

What about the football program? Do you see a return to scholarships there as well?  
Unfortunately, not in the foreseeable future. Football scholarships are very difficult for a college of our size. To be competitive with other scholarship schools, you would need to have 12-15 scholarships per year. You would then need to offer an additional 12-15 scholarships per year for women's sports to comply with the gender equity provisions of Title IX. The cost is prohibitive. For the present, we're committed to I-AA football and playing schools like Harvard, Dartmouth, and Colgate, none of which offer athletic grants-in-aid. I'm convinced we can do a lot better than we have in the recent past. Consistently losing to schools like that is unacceptable. We have a lot to offer a student-athlete: an excellent academic institution, a wonderful campus, and a good football tradition. But so do the other schools I mentioned. We're simply going to have to out-hustle and out-sell our competition. At the same time, we'd like to strengthen our non-league schedule. In particular, we would like to schedule schools that we've played in the past. For example, we are bringing back the University of Massachusetts in 2003, which was the first year in which we both had an open date. 

Hall of Fame Nominations 

The Varsity Club's selection committee will meet in late January to elect the inductees to the Holy Cross Athletic Hall of Fame. All who have a candidate in mind should submit nominations by Dec. 31, 1998 to James A. Maloney, Secretary, Holy Cross Varsity Club, 862 Pleasant Street, Worcester, MA  01602. 
A candidate should meet the following qualifications: 

  • His or her class must have been graduated five years, although the nominee need not have graduated. 
  • The nominee must have been outstanding in one or more sports.
  • The nominee must have made an outstanding contribution to Holy Cross athletics.

A brief summary of the candidate's qualifications is required to support each nomination. The Varsity Club reserves the right to make its own independent inquiry. 

To be considered, candidates must be nominated for the 1999 selection year, even though they may have been nominated in prior years. 

New Athletic Logo 

Holy Cross Athletic Director Richard M. Regan '76 recently unveiled the new Crusader logo. "We believe that the new logo is very appealing and more dynamic, but still consistent with Holy Cross tradition," said Regan. The new logo is the first redesign of the College's cognomen in over 20 years. 
 

 

New Athletic Logo
New Athletic Logo

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