My Boss, My Mentor, My Friend
By: Connor Lenahan
This is an overdue article, but it’s late on purpose. I’ve been trying to write this all out in my head for weeks but I could never get it quite right. A tinker here and there and it would be fitting. But I would never get it quite exact. Then I sat and realized that this wasn’t something to get accurate, this was my thank you note to one of the most important people I have ever met in my life. Imperfection would make it perfect. Today needed to be the day.
Pictured above is Dan Mercurio, holding Jose Mercurio, who has been my boss, mentor, and friend here at Boston University since I first arrived back in 2013. A casual conversation with our Dean of Students Kenn Elmore, expressing my wish to work with Athletics, led me to Dan. Dan had just come over from the Student Activities Office to take over the marketing operations for the BU Athletics department. I met him by pure chance at one of our first basketball games of the year and from there magic happened.
Dan and I talked and talked about how I could end up getting involved, realizing that he needed public address announcers and I was experienced. I wanted to announce games in college, but I never thought I’d get a chance. After two tryout games for the women’s basketball team I was picked up for the rest of the season – and the two that have followed to this point. That spring I took over lacrosse. Then that next fall I got to do soccer and men’s basketball. Throw in experience with both men’s and women’s hockey too and you have the short story of how Dan started a chain reaction where I wouldn’t stop talking on a microphone.
When I came to Boston in the first place I was able to sell my parents on the adventure because I had family in the city. Should anything go wrong they were going to be around to take care of me. My parents quickly came to love Dan as well, knowing that I had someone looking out for me while I was living my dream. I couldn’t have been happier.
I had a weird high school experience in that I never held an actual job because of my long absences with broken bones. It was only when I came to college that I was actually hired for the first time. Dan was my first boss and will forever be my favorite. I learned quickly how to operate at a collegiate level for games and how to make professional impressions on co-workers and supervisors. I got the lay of the land for how I would need to adapt to function as a real adult. Dan, unknowingly, was doing a better job as an educator than half of my professors. I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of interesting job opportunities as a result of him forming me into a functioning human.
But all of this is the boring work portion. While professionally Dan and I were able to do a lot of cool things – watching students pack Nickerson Field for a record setting Terrier Tailgate, then again for Terrier Madness, and making SportsCenter twice in a week this spring – I will forever be thankful that I have him as a friend. He has never been afraid to call me on things, like my extreme hyperbole or tendency to give people statues at the drop of a hat, but has always been there to help me figure things out here at school. He has helped me enjoy the college experience more than I could have ever expected, encouraging me to take advantage of this crazy time and the city we share. Dan is the perfect kind of crazy person for me. He would fit right along with those closest to me.
A few weeks ago Dan gave me the advanced heads up that he would be leaving to Holy Cross this summer. He got the opportunity to take over marketing for a completely different kind of school – one with football! – and have a new challenge with a bump in title. I was hurt when I found out he was leaving, but only briefly. Because I knew that Dan wasn’t the kind of person who looked out for me because I wouldn’t leave his office. He looked out for me because we are a team. I want to do the same for him. So while selfishly I would want to lock him into his office until he came to his senses, I wanted a man who is responsible for at least half of my favorite memories from BU to get the recognition he deserved, it just happened to come down the road.
But this isn’t the end of any story for us. It’s not like Dan died, nor am I leaving Boston anytime in the immediate future. He chose a school that only plays the Terriers roughly 20 times a year. The move was never going to be perfect, but I’ll be damned if this wasn’t about as perfect a spot as possible – especially given that a sizable chunk of my family has attended Holy Cross, giving me a complete clearance on wearing purple.
I don’t like saying goodbye, but what’s fortunate is that I don’t have to in this moment. I have to say congratulations to one of my favorite people for working his ass off and moving up in the world. But I also have to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for everything that he’s given me. There is no version of Boston University that I love nearly as much than the one that I got to spend with Dan Mercurio, my boss, my mentor, and my friend.