It took only one question for Bobby Valentine to be reminded what public life often becomes for him.
The recently deposed Red Sox manager had just been introduced as the new athletic director at Sacred Heart University when the press conference was thrown open for questions. The first reporter asked why he was there and suggested many people thought it was “a joke’’ that Valentine landed an AD job at a Division 1 college with no previous experience.
During a year spent surrounded by an imploding, dysfunctional Red Sox organization, Valentine got used to difficult questions. Yet even he seemed taken aback before smiling that familiar Bobby V smile.
“Ouch!’’ he said. “The press is amazing. I really didn’t think I’d be insulted by the first question, but that’s the way it goes.’’
Things got better from there, which isn’t always the case when Valentine meets the press, but he wasn’t in Boston anymore, Toto. He was sitting only a few miles from Rippowam High School in Stamford, where he became one of Connecticut’s greatest athletes and launched a career that made him a lightning rod and a legend in the world of baseball. This time, he was on safe ground.
The decision to name Valentine as retiring AD Don Cook’s successor certainly was unorthodox. Sacred Heart’s president, John Petillo, acknowledged as much, saying, “We recognize that this is an out-of-the-box selection, but we believe his entrepreneurial spirit and love of athletics make him an ideal choice.
“He’s a native son with a strong name recognition. We’re known as the Pioneers, and once again we are pioneers, doing something unconventional with the appointment of Bobby as our athletic director.’’
The Red Sox tried the same thing a year ago when Larry Lucchino handpicked Valentine to replace Terry Francona, a two-time World Series-winning manager who was sacked for losing control of the clubhouse.
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Next job up for Bobby Valentine
Boston Herald | Feb 27