Thursday's Chat Wrap For Bruce McCutcheon On ESPN.com

Jan. 31, 2002


Tom Odjakjian: Bruce, Hope things are going well. Thought I'd throw a question your way. As you know, the NCAA is making a special exception and allowing teams to play 12 football games in both 2002 and 2003. In looking at your future football chart in the media guide, it lists 11 games both years. Is the decision to play only 11 and not 12, a Patriot League decision, or a College decision? Or, are you looking to add opening games each season? Thanks

Bruce McCutcheon: (2:04 PM ET ) OJ -- Thanks for the note. The Patriot League has granted a 12th game for a couple schools. It just depends on if the extra game will benefit the program.


steelerfan (Easton): Is it really true that you like the Raiders?

Bruce McCutcheon: (2:07 PM ET ) I've been a Raider fan since George Blanda got traded from the Oilers to Oakland...and as far as I'm concerned the Steelers will also be a NFL rather than an AFC team. GO AFL!!


Carla (Wilmington): How do you convince prospective athletes to go to a "non-scholarship" school within a "scholarship" league, and still be competitive?

Bruce McCutcheon: (2:10 PM ET ) Great Question Carla. We are working hard every day to vastly improve all of the other elements in our programs to provide our students the highest quality experience. We look to translate that into a recruiting advantage.


Tim Cribbet Columbus: Dear Mr. Mc Cutcheon, Good luck with all your sports programs
Go Leopards!!!!!
Tim Cribbet


Bruce McCutcheon: (2:11 PM ET ) Thanks Tim. My father-in-law still lives in Columbus...what a great town.


Buffy MacLelland : How do you plan to address the inequity in the Patriot League as far as athletic scholarships and opportunities so the Lafayette can be competitive with the teams that give scholarships. The disparity seems to be very obvious in some sports at Lafayette.

Bruce McCutcheon: (2:15 PM ET ) Buffy -- American University is the only Patriot League school offering scholarships in sports other than basketball. After the fall seasons we seemed to hold our own. In basketball, particularly men's basketball, we beat each of the three scholarship schools.


Randy - Flemington: There has been a lot of talk re: LafCol's "commitment" to winning. While to some that may mean scholarships, it can also mean increased recruiting budgets, facility improvements, ass't coaches etc. Please discuss both LC's current position on scholarships and if not that what form of commitment are we taking?

Bruce McCutcheon: (2:19 PM ET ) Since beginning my watch as athletic director, I've talked about providing a quality experience for our student-athletes. To me that includes the opportunity to compete for a conference championship at least once during the students career. Through a specific fundraising effort we are increasing our resources for recruiting, staffing and financial aid to assist our coaches.


John (Easton): What has been your primary focus in your first couple of months as being the athletic director?

Bruce McCutcheon: (2:23 PM ET ) Top priorities over the last couple months have been to: 1. Rally the entire athletic department around the common theme of being smart in the classroom and good on the athletic fields. 2. Integrate the athletic department more fully with the Lafayette community. 3. Begin a master planning process for all athletic facilities.


John (Philly): How has the hiring of more full time coaches translated into improved teams

Bruce McCutcheon: (2:25 PM ET ) Through the Athletic Enhancement Fund we have been able to elevate several part time positions to full time. Women's soccer is a great example of how a program has improved vastly because of those changes.


pard fan: what are you doing about the seating conditions in Fisher Field and Kirby Fieldhouse? Both need help...

Bruce McCutcheon: (2:28 PM ET ) As Pard Fan knows, you better wear your old pants when you come to a football game at Fisher Field. A critical feature of the athletic facilities master plan will be a view of Fisher Field. Seating is a big part of that mix.


Liam '96: What are some of the things that you have changed since you began your tenure?

Bruce McCutcheon: (2:30 PM ET ) I hope that the biggest change to date is the attitudes of staff. We have a tremendous group of coaches and it is my job to assist them any way that I can to do a great job with their student-athletes.


Pete (Quakertown): Is it your feeling that awarding athletic scholarships would some how translate into accepting students who are less qualified academically? That seems to be the argument against scholarships.

Bruce McCutcheon: (2:34 PM ET ) Pete -- I've heard that argument many time. If you allow that to happen it could very well happen. Lafayette is a tremendous place and it is up to all of us to recruit the best and brightest students to continue our national reputation.


leopard fan(Easton): As a local high school administrator on the job for the 1st time, I found putting a staff, including secretarial, together can be one of the most important tasks to make the program go. How did you pick your staff and would you say they will make your program go with the same philosophy you have?

Bruce McCutcheon: (2:37 PM ET ) Without question selecting personnel is the most important part of the job. I was involved in every staff hiring here in the athletic department since my arrival in 1990. You are only as good as the people around you and I am very fortunate to have great people on our team.


commuter (phillipsburg): what can be done for visitors and fans looking for parking?

Bruce McCutcheon: (2:40 PM ET ) Believe it or not the first issue to hit my desk when I became director was a parking issue. For a long-term solution we are looking to our master facility plan consultants for some help. In the short term all I can say is come early and use the College's parking deck.


bill: has the full scholarship changed for basketball, if not have we increased the financial aid as much as colgate and bucknell

Bruce McCutcheon: (2:43 PM ET ) We are in the ball park in terms of need-based financial aid for basketball players as compared to Colgate and Bucknell. We are extremely fortunate to have such an outstanding coach to go along with those resources.


Jeff, NY: When do you think the basketball team will make an appearance in the NCAA Tourney

Bruce McCutcheon: (2:45 PM ET ) Our men's basketball team was at the dance 2 of the last 3 years. The Patriot League regular season chase is half over and it's the most even I can ever remember. It will all come down to the League tournament.


Bruce (Baltimore): Do you think the scholarship issue (beyond basketball) may be subject to further discussions league-wide since AU has somewhat tilted the playing field?

Bruce McCutcheon: (2:51 PM ET ) I think the only League discussion surrounding scholarships is the speculation as to whether Bucknell and/or Colgate will make a move in that direction. The policy has been set. I don't see the League going back to a non-scholarship situation.


Jeff, NY: With the recruiting wars so important, how can you as an athletic director help to convince recruits such as McDonalds All-Americans to come to Lafayette

Bruce McCutcheon: (2:55 PM ET ) Only through an extraordinary set of circumstances would McDonald's All-American find their way to a Patriot League school. What we market first and foremost is the quality of the educational experience at Lafayette. We are student focused in a small school setting with large school resources. If you want a great education with a Division I experience, Lafayette is for you.


JOE BOB NY: HOW HAS BEEING THE NEW ATHLETICS DIRECTOR FOR A COLLEGE CHANGED AT HOW YOU LOOK AT SPORTS

Bruce McCutcheon: (2:57 PM ET ) I have been in collegiate athletics for nearly twenty years. As I tell everyone, the best thing about my job is that I still get to come out of the tunnel on Saturday.

Bruce McCutcheon: (3:02 PM ET ) I want to thank everyone who took time out of their day to join me in this chat. It's a great honor for me to be part of the Lafayette athletic experience. We have high hopes and big dreams for our program. I can promise all Lafayette Alumni and friends that we will work hard every day to make you proud. Go 'Pards!