Loyola University Maryland introduces Jim Paquette as the… (Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun )
At the news conference trumpeting his hiring today, Jim Paquette did all the right things. The new Loyola athletics director kissed his wife, shook his predecessor's hand, donned a green cap and embraced the school's mascot, a 6-foot Greyhound who ambled up to the podium to greet his new boss.
If the 39-year-old Paquette -- who looks young enough to suit up for Loyola -- was overwhelmed, he didn't show it. After all, this is a man who helped raise more than $200 million for Boston College athletics through the years. Those who know him say Paquette is well prepared to take his first AD job at Loyola.
"We wanted someone with leadership, passion and the profound vision it takes to lead a successful Division I athletics program," said Loyola President Brian F. Linnane, himself a Boston College graduate. "Jim is the guy to take us to the proverbial next level."
Paquette, whose career has been solely on the management side of college sports, believes his experience will help him succeed.
"I've worked tirelessly for 20 years to be an athletics director," he said. "Father Linnane said he wanted someone with fire in his belly.
"Well ... fire lit."
The fourth AD in Loyola history, Paquette succeeds Joe Boylan, 72, who is retiring after 19 years.
A graduate of Providence College, Paquette has carved a reputation as a tireless fundraiser, increasing athletic gift-giving at Boston College by great strides since his arrival in 1994. Most recently the Eagles' associate athletic director for development, Paquette helped fill the athletic coffers at that Jesuit school to record levels in each of his 16 years. He can do the same at Loyola, said the new AD, who described himself as "a high-energy, aggressive, push-the-envelope-a-little-bit type of guy."
"We'll grow here significantly," he said. "The upside here is huge; this is one hot, up-and-coming university. A lot of Loyola alumni who have the resources and a passion for the school just haven't been asked [for money] in the right way."
A Massachusetts native, Paquette shrugged off concerns that he'll find it tougher to drum up dollars south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
"A lot of Loyola students are from New York and New Jersey," he said. "Plus, the world is so small among Catholic and Jesuit schools."
Paquette's lack of coaching experience he has never worn a whistle won't matter when it comes to hiring staff, he said.
"I've spent 20 years working around coaches," he said. "How do you hire one? You find someone whom you'd want your sons to play for."
Hiring an AD with a chalkboard past wasn't a prerequisite, Linnane said.
"Our goal is to enhance the athletic program, and that's not going to come on the backs of tuition dollars," the president said. "Those funds must come from external sources, and Jim has the track record to find them."
Paquette, whose first job was as assistant ticket manager at the University of New Hampshire, has a master's degree in sports management from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He is chairman of the Atlantic Coast Conference Development Committee and a vice president of the National Association of Athletic Development Directors.
Married 13 years to his college sweetheart, he is the father of two young sons.
"Convincing Erin to marry me is still the best sales job I've ever done," he said.