Wednesday, January 7, 2009

He wasn't kidding

As expected, is reporting that Boston College will fire coach Jeff Jagodzinski for interviewing with the New York Jets.

To recap, athletic director Gene DeFilippo told Jagodzinski earlier in the week (after news of the Jets' interest surfaced) that he would be fired if he went through with the interview, and Jagodzinski essentially told him, "Sounds good," and went ahead as planned.

Like a lot of people, I thought that the AD was bluffing -- you just don't fire a 45-year-old coach who has won 20 games in his first two seasons. It's possible that Jagodzinski thought the same thing, but it also seems possible that he just wasn't very attached to coaching at Boston College.

The article unearths an interesting nugget:
Sources told the Globe that Jagodzinski has made multiple inquiries into returning to the NFL, where he was a coach for the eight seasons before taking over the head coaching job at BC. The newspaper reported that Jagodzinski has put out feelers for offensive coordinator positions as well as head coaching spots.
Assuming this is true, that would partially explain DeFilippo's seemingly insane decision. But even if Jagodzinski is looking around, and you're concerned that you're going to lose him at some point in the near future, why in the world would you voluntarily accelerate that departure?

It's obvious that DeFilippo felt somewhat jilted by the whole process, but I just don't understand how he feels that firing Jagodzinski is going to make his program better in the long run.

ESPN's ACC beat writer/blogger, Heather Dinich, makes an excellent point:
Athletic director Gene DeFilippo is naive if he thinks Boston College is the final destination for young, talented coaches with higher aspirations.
As foolish as he appears to be, I doubt that DeFilippo could be that naive -- he just watched Tom O'Brien dump him in favor of NC State two years ago. No, the only logical answer here is that he's going to ridiculous measures in what appears to be basically a jealous fit. Again, you just don't fire young, successful head coaches for no good reason -- and no, interviewing for an NFL head coaching job (about five steps above coaching at Boston College) does not qualify as a good reason to fire someone.

It's true that Jagodzinski should have been up-front with the administration and told them about the interview, rather than having them find out about it from a reporter two days before it was set to take place. But when was the last time you told your boss that you were interviewing for a promotion with another company? I mean, can you blame him?

And it's not like there are going to be replacements waiting in line for a chance to take over. Again, O'Brien left Boston College for NC State -- basically a lateral move -- and it's not like he had NFL teams beating his door down. The Eagles have always struggled to gain consistent fan support (it doesn't help when you have four major pro teams in the area), and are known as a team that's regularly passed over in the bowl pecking order because of the difficulty they have selling tickets.

In some ways, I'm sure that's part of the reason they were so sensitive about the possibility of losing Jagodzinski -- he's young, he's a good recruiter and he appears to have an excellent offensive mind.

According to the Boston Globe's website, it appears that longtime defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani is the favorite to replace Jagodzinski (I'm sure the copy editors there are wondering why the coach can't be named "Smith"). This should not be a surprise, as Spaziani was the interim coach for the team's 2005 bowl win over Navy after O'Brien had left for NC State.

If they're looking for loyalty, they've probably found their guy. But if they're looking for success, well ...

Jagodzinski is on his way back to the NFL eventually, he's made that much clear. If he's good enough to raise your program with him in the process, why is that a problem?

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