Matt Kupec: Why Fire a College Football Coach During the Season?

By Matt Kupec

November 5 2019

Florida State University made big news today when they announced the firing of Head Football Coach Willie Taggert even though there still remain three games left to play in the season.  Coming of a terribly disappointing performance in a loss to Miami, and standing at a record of 4-5, the Seminoles administration made the decision to fire Taggert because as FSU President John Thrasher said, “we had no choice but to make a change.”

So, Coach Taggart gets fired just 21 games into the tenure of his six-year contract at Florida State.  He didn’t even get to finish his second season as the coach.

Why fire the head coach when the season isn’t done yet?

Don’t we preach to our student-athletes that we should never give up, never stop working and fighting to get better?   The game isn’t over until the final whistle we have heard countless times?  Don’t we believe in comebacks?

What is the purpose of a six-year contract when the Coach gets only 1 ¾ years to right the ship??

These are very important questions we must ask the leaders of higher education.  Below you will find some of the reasons why in-season coaching changes are made in football.  At the end of the day, it all comes down to money!  Big money at the Football Bowl Subdivision level!

Don’t cry for Coach Taggert.  His six-year contract was for $30 million, yes, $5 million per year.  In addition to the two years worth of compensation he has already received, Coach Tagger is due approximately $20 million for the remainder of his contract.  Oh, by the way, Florida State had to pay the University of Oregon $3M to buyout Coach Taggert’s contract from Oregon.  And, FSU was also responsible for an additional $1.3M to the University of South Florida left on a buyout when he jumped ship early to take the Oregon job.

To read the full article, go to:  http://mattkupecsports.com/matt-kupec-why-fire-a-college-football-coach-during-the-season/

About the Author

Matt Kupec is a fundraising professional with 32 years of significant higher education development experience. He has directed three major university fundraising campaigns and nearly $5 billion has been raised under his leadership. He has led the fundraising programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Hofstra University, Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute and HelpMeSee, a New York City based non-profit. He is currently serving as Senior In-House Fundraising Counsel for Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Matt is a former record-breaking four year starting quarterback for the UNC Tar Heels. During his career he set 19 season and career passing records. Two of which still stand — most consecutive games with a TD pass and most wins as a starting QB. Matt also set the ACC record for TD passes his senior year at UNC. Matt was named MVP of the 1977 Liberty Bowl and the 1979 Gator Bowl becoming the 1st player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to be named MVP of two bowl games.

Matt Kupec: Working With Fundraising Campaign Volunteer Leaders

by Matt Kupec

October 30, 2019

It seems like every non-profit and educational institution is in the midst of a major fundraising campaign!  Campaigns are so frequently launched that it now feels like it is more the norm to be in a campaign than not to be in a campaign.

I have had the chance to lead four major fundraising campaigns:

  • “The Campaign for Hofstra University,” a $30 million effort that was Hofstra University’s first-ever comprehensive campaign.  That initiative raised $32 million in total.
  • “The Bicentennial Campaign” at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, a $320 million effort that was launched on the celebration of UNC’s 200th That campaign raised $440 million in total.
  • “The Carolina First Campaign,” a $1.8 billion campaign launched by UNC-Chapel Hill. This effort wound up totaling $2.38 billion in commitments, at the time the 5th largest campaign by a University in U.S. history.
  • “Forever SIU Campaign,” a $75 million effort launched by Southern Illinois University Carbondale. This effort is nearing the $90 million mark in commitments as the campaign marches on.

Having run four major fundraising campaigns, I know the important role that volunteer leadership can play in the subsequent success or failure of these important fundraising initiatives.  In this blog post, I share my thoughts about successfully working with volunteer leaders in a campaign:

Recruiting Volunteer Campaign Leaders.  Finding the right mix of individuals to serve as volunteer leaders of your campaign is one of the most important decisions an organization can make.  I’ve had the privilege of working with some giants like Hugh McColl, Billy Armfield, Paul Fulton, Charlie Shaffer, Mike Overlock, Barbara Hyde and Mary Ann Dickson in the two UNC campaigns.  SIU has a star in Dan Korte and if the campaign gets extended additional great leaders will join the SIU effort.

But what do you look for when recruiting campaign chair(s)?  Do you need just one chair?  Maybe co-chairs?  How about multiple chairs?  There are number of factors you should consider when recruiting volunteer leaders.  How passionate are the individuals about your organization?  Are they major donors?  If not, does that matter?  Are they connected?  Do other volunteers respect them?  What about the proper balance of your leadership group in terms of gender, race, and age?

These are all important questions to ask when recruiting leadership for the campaign.  Remember, you will be working very closely with these individuals for the duration of the campaign so it is important that you select the right people to lead your campaign.

To read the full article, go to http://mattkupec.org/matt-kupec-working-with-fundraising-campaign-volunteers-leaders/

Matt Kupec: My Top Ten Favorite College Football Stadiums

by Matt Kupec

October 5, 2019

This past week I had the chance to visit Memorial Stadium on the University of Illinois campus for the first time.  The Fighting Illini are not a power in the Big 10 and have not competed in many games of importance over the years but I have enjoyed seeing the occasional highlight from an Illini game on football TV shows.

IllinoisWhen driving up to Memorial Stadium I was very impressive with the outside of the football stadium.  Columns on the outer walls made me think of the Los Angeles Coliseum which is home to the USC Trojans.  The inside of the stadium is somewhat of a different story with lots of concrete, field turf and a facility lacking in character.  I do believe with some minor renovations it could be a pretty cool place to play.  Ghosts of the late great Red Grange still run strong in the football environment.

Visiting Memorial Stadium made me think about the best football stadiums I have either been in as a player or a fan.  Here is my top #10 list and the rationale behind my rankings:

#1. UCLA (Rose Bowl Stadium – 90,888 seating capacity)

UclaI consider the Rose Bowl to be the best stadium in all of college football.  I have seen three games there including the 2005 Texas win over USC to capture the national championship and 2009 National Championship games in which Texas fell to Alabama.  I grew up loving to watch the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day when the major bowls still played their games on the same day to start the new year.  I love the beautiful grass, the hills in the background, the circular stadium and history of the place.

#2.  Notre Dame (Notre Dame Stadium – 77,662 seating capacity)

Notre DameI grew up watching Notre Dame highlights on Sunday with Lindsay Nelson and Paul Horning providing commentary.  Watching ND legends like Terry Hanratty, Jim Seymour and so many others filled my childhood dreams of being a football player.  The gold helmets.  The plain uniforms.  No colors in the end zone but diagonal white stripes.  And real and beautiful grass.  The echo’s of Knute Rockne and Touchdown Jesus outside.  A majestic place that, unfortunately, has been tainted by the installation of field tur.  It is painful to watch ND on television these days.  Shameful!

To read the full story, go to https://mattkupecassociates.com/matt-kupec-my-top-ten-favorite-college-football-stadiums/

About the Author

Matt Kupec is a fundraising professional with 32 years of significant higher education development experience. He has directed three major university fundraising campaigns and nearly $5 billion has been raised under his leadership. He has led the fundraising programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Hofstra University, Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute and HelpMeSee, a New York City based non-profit. He is currently serving as Senior In-House Fundraising Counsel for Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Matt is a former record-breaking four year starting quarterback for the UNC Tar Heels. During his career he set 19 season and career passing records. Two of which still stand — most consecutive games with a TD pass and most wins as a starting QB. Matt also set the ACC record for TD passes his senior year at UNC. Matt was named MVP of the 1977 Liberty Bowl and the 1979 Gator Bowl becoming the 1st player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to be named MVP of two bowl games.

Matt Kupec: The Power of Philanthropy in Higher Education

by Matt Kupec

September 29, 2019

Philanthropy plays a critical role in our society.  In 2018, Americans gave $427.71 to charities, a record level.  Of the total amount, $58.72 million went to support education.  In higher education these dollars help colleges and universities recruit and retain students and faculty, improve and build facilities, strengthen academic programs and support cutting edge research.

At a luncheon with Southern Illinois University alumni earlier this week, I had the chance to make the following points to the Saluki alumni pitch about the important role philanthropy plays for the University:

  • Philanthropy Provides the “margin of excellence.” Universities generate revenue from a variety of sources.  These include state appropriations (for public universities), tuition, research (for research institutions), philanthropic support and auxiliary revenue.  In many instances, dollars raised from philanthropy will be mingled together with other revenue sources to start a new program or build a new facility.  Philanthropy provides “the margin of excellence,” that is the money from private gifts gives organization the funds needed to complete a project, an initiative or a fund.  Without philanthropy, that project would not have been able to be completed.  As state budgets get tighter, private giving is playing an even more important role in allowing Universities to meet the challenges that await them.

To read the entire article, go to http://mattkupec.com/matt-kupec-the-power-of-philanthropy-in-higher-education/

Matt Kupec: ESPN “Game Day” Host Site Surprises

by Matt Kupec

September 10, 2019

ESPN’s College Football Game Day is one of the great television programs!  Last year, “Game Day” celebrated its 25th year anniversary of hosting a college football pre-game show on the college campus featuring one of the top college games of the week.  I wrote a blog to commemorate ESPN’s 25 years of “Game Day.”  https://medium.com/@mattkupec/matt-kupec-a-review-of-espns-game-day-football-sites-95c918094e33

“Game Day” has become a staple of the college football weekend!

This past weekend, “Game Day” was in Austin, TX to host the LSU vs. Texas battle featuring two top ten teams.  What I found amazing was that Austin, TX and the mighty Longhorns has not been host to “Game Day,” since 2009.  A ten-year drought!!  The last time Texas hosted “Game Day” was when my good friend Mack Brown was in his hey day as the Texas coach and Colt McCoy was playing his senior season of what was a remarkable career.

Since I was so shocked by the 10-year drought of Texas as “Game Day” host, I thought I’d take another look back at the “Game Day” host sites and give you some interesting tidbits:

  • Surprising Absence from Last Hosting “Game Day”

Texas’ ten-year ESPN “Game Day” drought was shocking.  Other droughts from successful programs include:

  • Florida (October 20, 2012)
  • Oklahoma (October 27, 2012)
  • Nebraska (September 10, 2007)

To read the entire story, go to https://mattkupecassociates.com/matt-kupec-espn-game-day-host-site-surprises/

 

Matt Kupec: Remembering Coach Mike McGee

by Matt Kupec

August 18, 2019

The sport’s world recently lost one of its great football legends with the news that Mike McGee – a decorated Duke football player, college football head coach and successful athletic administrator – died on Friday at his home in Montrose, Colorado.  Coach McGee was 80 years old.

I didn’t know Coach McGee very well but his life impacted me in a number of significant ways.  And I know that he had significant impact on thousands of young people throughout the years.  The man was a leader who lived a rich life in terms of his role in transforming so many lives.

As a quick refresher, here is a summary of Coach McGee’s very impressive career:

  • Coach McGee won the Outland Trophy as the college football’s top lineman in 1959.
  • He was named first-team All-American and ACC Player of the Year.
  • Coach McGee went on to play in the NFL for three seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, starting 36 games for the Cardinals.
  • He was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1990.
  • Head football coach at ECU (1970) and the Duke (1971-1978).
  • He later became director of athletics at the University of Cincinnati, University of Southern California and University of South Carolina.

But how did a former Duke player and coach who went on to become athletic director at two USC’s have an impact on my life?

Here’s how:

  • “The difference between chump and champ is U”!!

I was heavily recruited by Duke and Coach McGee out of high school.  As the New York Player of the Year and quarterback of the #1 ranked Syosset High School team, I was a prime target of Duke. But what influenced Coach McGee the most was that my older brother Chris was finishing up an All-ACC QB year at UNC and was breaking NCAA records.  Coach McGee was probably hoping the football genes were good.

I took my official recruiting trip to the Duke campus.  The final meeting of all these trips is always with the Head Coach.  This was going to be the final push to get me to sign with the Blue Devils.

So, I travel to the football office and get walked into Coach McGee’s office.  He begins his pitch.  It was impressive.  I will always remember that as Coach McGee was building to a great close, he stared at me, straight in the eyes, and with a raised voice, asked if I knew “the difference between champ and chump?”  Without hesitating and giving me a chance to answer, he raised his hand and pointed his figure at me and answered his own question with a barking “YOU!”

For the full story, go to  https://mattkupecassociates.com/matt-kupec-remembering-coach-mike-mcgee/

About the Author

Matt Kupec is a fundraising professional with 32 years of significant higher education development experience. He has directed three major university fundraising campaigns and nearly $5 billion has been raised under his leadership. He has led the fundraising programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Hofstra University, Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute and HelpMeSee, a New York City based non-profit. He is currently serving as Senior In-House Fundraising Counsel for Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Matt is a former record-breaking four year starting quarterback for the UNC Tar Heels. During his career he set 19 season and career passing records. Two of which still stand — most consecutive games with a TD pass and most wins as a starting QB. Matt also set the ACC record for TD passes his senior year at UNC. Matt was named MVP of the 1977 Liberty Bowl and the 1979 Gator Bowl becoming the 1st player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to be named MVP of two bowl games.

Matt Kupec: Is There a “Right” Age to Hire a College Coach?

by Matt Kupec

March 26, 2019

Southern Illinois University Director of Athletics Jerry Kill recently made a great hire by bringing former SIU basketball standout Bryan Mullen back to Carbondale as the Salukis new head basketball coach.  Coach Mullen has been a top assistant for the Loyola Chicago basketball program over the last four years and should return the Salukis back to the hierarchy of college basketball.

At thirty-two years old, Mullen becomes one of the youngest head coaches in Division I basketball.  In addition to Coach Mullen, the SIU football coach Nick Hill is just 33 years old.  Combined these two head coaches total just 65 years in age!

Is this unusual to have such young coaches or is this consistent with trends in the coaching field?

I immediately thought about my alma mater UNC with 67 year-old football coach Mack Brown, and 68 year-old basketball coach Roy Williams.  Heck, the two SIU coaches are younger together than BOTH Coach Brown and Coach Williams!!  But also remember that Coach Brown was 34 years old when hired as Appalachian State University’s football coach.  Coach Williams was 42 years old when Kansas made the former UNC assistant its head basketball coach.  Neither of the Hall of Fame coaches started head coaching careers at UNC but both have had remarkable success in Chapel Hill

But even at UNC, young coaches have been hired in the past.  Bill Dooley, who was my UNC college coach in the late 1970’s, was hired in 1967 at the tender age of 33 years old.  The basketball coach at the time was “ancient” 37 year- old Dean Smith who had been hired six years earlier at the even younger age of 30 years old.  So, UNC has had mix of young and old over its history.

So, is it the trend to hire young coaches?

For the full blog post, go to… http://mattkupecsports.com/848-2/

About the Author

Matt Kupec is a fundraising professional with 32 years of significant higher education development experience. He has directed three major university fundraising campaigns and nearly $5 billion has been raised under his leadership. He has led the fundraising programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Hofstra University, Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute and HelpMeSee, a New York City based non-profit. He is currently serving as Senior In-House Fundraising Counsel for Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Matt is a former record-breaking four year starting quarterback for the UNC Tar Heels. During his career he set 19 season and career passing records. Two of which still stand — most consecutive games with a TD pass and most wins as a starting QB. Matt also set the ACC record for TD passes his senior year at UNC. Matt was named MVP of the 1977 Liberty Bowl and the 1979 Gator Bowl becoming the 1st player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to be named MVP of two bowl games.

 

Matt Kupec: Does a Mid-Major NCAA Final Four Run Turn into Fundraising Success

by Matt Kupec

March 16, 2019

It is the time of the year – March Madness – when the NCAA Men’s Tournament takes over the sports scene and dominates our time and attention with a dazzling display of collegiate basketball games with the focus on getting to the NCAA Final Four.

Last week I had the privilege of attending my first Missouri Valley Conference basketball tournament.  The MVC is one of the “mid-major” conferences, not quite considered at the level of the Power 5 Conferences (ACC, SEC, Pac-10, Big 12, and Big Ten.),  but conferences that play outstanding basketball.   Often a “cinderella” team emerges from one of the mid-major conferences and earns a trip to the Final Four.

Last year, Loyola of Chicago had the magical ride to the Final Four.  Other mid-major teams that have gone to the Final Four in the last fifteen years include Butler (2010, 2011), Virginia Commonwealth University (2011), Wichita State (2013 as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference), Memphis (2008) and George Mason (2006).

It is widely believed that NCAA Basketball Success and a trip to the Final Four leads to significant increases in enrollment, fundraising and new national branding opportunities as the national media brings unprecedented marketing and publicity opportunities for these mid-major schools.

In this blog post I have researched whether these schools did experience significant fundraising success after a Final Four run.  There are some good studies that have concluded to differing degrees what this March Madness success had done for these major schools in terms of enrollment and merchandising but I am looking solely at the fundraising performance……….

For the full post, go to http://mattkupecassociates.com/matt-kupec-does-a-mid-major-ncaa-final-four-run-turn-into-fundraising-success/

Matt Kupec: My First Missouri Valley Conference Basketball Tournament

by Matt Kupec

March 11, 2019

I attended the Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament for the first time this past weekend.  I was there to watch the Southern Illinois Saluki’s compete for the MVC Championship in hopes of coming away with three consecutive wins and the prize of a berth into the NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship.

Unfortunately, SIU came up short and lost a tight contest to the University of Northern Iowa Panthers on a last second bucket by UNI.  A very disappointing loss in a season that began with high hopes and ended in the resignation of Head Basketball Coach Barry Vinson.

I have attended many Atlantic Coast Conference Championships over the years when I was the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s vice chancellor for development & university relations.  I had seen many great games with Tar Heel victories and some disappointing losses as well.  During my twenty-one years at UNC, the Tar Heels won five ACC Tournament titles.

As I watching SIU compete Friday night, I began comparing the Missouri Valley Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference basketball tournaments, thinking about the similarities and differences.  Here is my assessment….

To view the full article, go to http://mattkupecsports.com/matt-kupec-my-first-missouri-valley-conference-basketball-tournament/

About the Author

Matt Kupec is a fundraising professional with 32 years of significant higher education development experience. He has directed three major university fundraising campaigns and nearly $5 billion has been raised under his leadership. He has led the fundraising programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Hofstra University, Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute and HelpMeSee, a New York City based non-profit. He is currently serving as Senior In-House Fundraising Counsel for Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Matt is a former record-breaking four year starting quarterback for the UNC Tar Heels. During his career he set 19 season and career passing records. Two of which still stand — most consecutive games with a TD pass and most wins as a starting QB. Matt also set the ACC record for TD passes his senior year at UNC. Matt was named MVP of the 1977 Liberty Bowl and the 1979 Gator Bowl becoming the 1st player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to be named MVP of two bowl games.

Matt Kupec: Just How Little is “Little ‘ole Clemson?”

by Matt Kupec

January 17, 2019

In the aftermath of Clemson’s very convincing victory over Alabama to clinch the national college football championship, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was rightfully basking in the success in his post-game remarks.  In a joyous, happy and jubilant ESPN interview, Coach Sweeney in his homespun and country way kept referring to his national champions as “little ‘ole Clemson” as he talked about the Tigers undefeated season to capture the national championship.

Coach Swinney has had an amazing ten-year run building the “little ‘ole Clemson” program into one of the top programs nationally and making an argument for the top spot over college football’s other powerhouse the University of Alabama Crimson Tide.

The question we pose to our readers in this post “is Clemson really that small” as Dabo Swinney would like to make us believe?  We decided to investigate for ourselves.  We looked at all the Power 5 Conference teams (ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big Twelve and Pac-12) to see where Clemson would fall in comparisons in four categories – town population, enrollment, fundraising success, and stadium capacity – to give us a little better insight I as to whether or not Clemson is indeed “little ‘ole Clemson.”

Here is what we found:

For the full story go to:  http://mattkupecassociates.com/matt-kupec-just-how-little-is-little-ole-clemson/