Big Dan's Ramblings

Ramblings from a Boston Boy stuck in New York

Open Letter to Jack Wilson, President of the University of Massachusetts

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Mr. Wilson –

I recently read the following article on Boston.com – UConn scores by spending more – The Boston Globe.  As a UMass Amherst alumnus, I am extremely disappointed to hear that my alma mater is hurting so badly and slipping down the charts with regards to its academic and research performance.  This school, which has graduated myself, my wife, my sister, my brother-in-law, and my brother, was once one of the best institutions of higher learning in Massachusetts.  Now, from all accounts, it’s littered with run down buildings, sub par research facilities and students who are not necessarily the cream of the crop.

I implore you to follow UConn’s lead and empower the athletic department to start raising money for the rest of the university.  Make your flagship university just that – THE most sought after university in Massachusetts!  Build your OSU, your University of North Carolina, your Michigan!

Start with the mens’ basketball team.  UMass Amherst already has the infrastructure in place.  We currently have a reasonable size arena to play in.  The roughly 9,500 seat Mullins Center is similar in size to the 10,000 person capacity (including standing room) that perennial powerhouse Duke has in its Cameron Indoor Stadium.  Let’s starting bringing in top talent, playing top-level teams and building a winning tradition. You’ll fill the Mullins Center EVERY game!  You’ll get the student body very involved.  You’ll build the magic that was present in the early to mid ’90s during the Camby/Calipari era.  Work the basketball team, get them profitable and make us all proud.  Then turn your attention to the football team…

As a UMass Amherst alumnus, I was extremely proud of MY team hanging with a big-time school like Michigan this year.  And, to be able to watch my team on TV was even better.  Now, imagine if you could have the UMass Amherst student body filling the football stadium, going crazy over our team.  Imagine the alumni that would travel to western Massachusetts to see their team take on the powerhouses of college football.  Imagine the money that the gate, concessions, parking, etc could generate if we filled a big-time stadium.  Let’s make this happen.  A big-time football team AND basketball team could mean millions of dollars to the university – money that could be used to bring the academics to a level that would compete with any university in the country.

Yes, you’ll need to spend money on athletics and not academics at first.  And, yes, you are first and foremost an academic institution.  But, please, use the tools at your disposal.  I would love nothing more than to go out and buy a $100+ football jersey for the great, Heisman-trophy worthy quarterback we have or buy a replica jersey for our All-World point guard.  But, right now – we don’t have that.  And, right now, UMass isn’t bringing in the money that sales like these would produce.  You’ve got the tools in the tool belt – break them out and start building!

I have twin daughters and my sister and brother-in-law have a son.  Many of our classmates have children as well.  All are products of UMass alumni.  My family and friends would love nothing more than to have our children go back to the University that meant so much to us.  But you, Mr. Wilson, need to make the right moves so that our children can enjoy the same great education that all of us received.

Sincerely,
Dan DeLaiarro – Class of 2001

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8 responses to “Open Letter to Jack Wilson, President of the University of Massachusetts

  1. Rich Maltzman 24-October-2010 at 1:28 pm

    Nice job, thanks for doing this.

    • Dan 24-October-2010 at 1:46 pm

      My absolute pleasure. I truly love UMass and want to see it succeed. By the way, Rich, I see you’re a graduate of the College of Engineering. I am as well – BSME.

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  3. Mike 25-October-2010 at 8:48 am

    With (2) children currently enrolled at UMASS I agree 100% with Dan. Since an invitation is required from an FBS conference perhaps a lobbying campaign is in order?

    BIG TEN ? The marketplace from Boston-Nashua-Springfield-Providence even to Hartford is vast and would represent a huge WIN WIN in market share for the BIG TEN over the BIG EAST and UMASS too!

  4. Matt 25-October-2010 at 1:32 pm

    Nice article but drop Amherst. That’s step #1. We are the University of Massachusetts, UMass, or just Massachusetts. “Amherst” is runing our reputation as the flagship school of Mass.

    • Dan 25-October-2010 at 1:47 pm

      Thank you very much for the comment, but I disagree whole-heartedly with your argument. Look at Ohio State University. They have campuses in Lima, Mansfield, Marion, and Newark. But, whenever you hear The Ohio State University, you think of the flagship campus in Columbus. Likewise, the University of North Carolina has campuses Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Wilmington and various other locations. But, when you think of UNC, you think of the Chapel Hill campus. Every state university system has a flagship campus and Massachusetts should be no different. These flagship campuses lead the way for the entire university system and are the pinnacle of thought when people talk about that system. UMass Amherst was designed to be that school and, with some improvement, can once again be the shining star of the UMass system.

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