Former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, appearing at a Tuesday press conference announcing his appointment as athletic director at Sacred Heart University, promised that his new job is a challenge he is taking very seriously.
Asked right off the bat if his appointment was a joke, Valentine responded (via the Connecticut Post): “If it’s a joke, it’s an inside joke. I’m very serious about everything I do in my life. I deal with passion and commitment and I deal with excellence.”
Valentine, who officially takes over July 1, apparently is not locked into his position for any set time, and he did not rule out a return to baseball.
“It’s a term that will last until it’s no longer beneficial to each other,” Valentine said of his contract with Sacred Heart, a Division 1 school in Fairfield, Conn., near his hometown of Stamford.
“It’s a significant and wonderful moment for Sacred Heart University,” said Jim Barquinero, senior vice president for intercollegiate athletics and student affairs. “Bobby’s a leader and brings great energy.”
Barquinero said the school also will hire a “deputy athletics director” to work with Valentine. Outgoing AD Don Cook, 72, is retiring after two decades at the helm.
Valentine, 62, managed the Sox for one season, getting the boot last fall after a disastrous 69-93 campaign. However, he said he doesn’t view his performance as a failure.
“I thought I did a hell of a job in Boston,” Valentine said. “I thought what had to be done there was done except for winning a pennant. But Connie Mack wasn’t going to win with that team.”
Added Valentine: “It’s six months of a 62-year life. It’s six months of a 42-year career in baseball. It’s a blip, a little spot on the radar, as far as I’m concerned.”
In an interview with the Connecticut Post on Monday, Valentine insisted he’s not taking the job for the publicity.
“Why would I need the publicity?” he said. “I wouldn’t understand the question and I wouldn’t dignify it with an answer.”
Valentine also chatted with Boston Herald columnist Steve Buckley on Monday, telling Buckley that he had no interest in rebutting some of the critical remarks made about him at Red Sox spring training.
“I don’t want to comment on stupid things that stupid people say,” Valentine said. “I’m not going to comment on any of that.”
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