Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The only option

As expected, Boston College promoted longtime defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani to head coach on Tuesday.

You already know how I feel about this situation, but let me clarify my stance and point out that I think Spaziani has been a very good coordinator in his time at BC and has probably earned the chance to be a head coach.

The Eagles were rumored to have interest in East Carolina's Skip Holtz, Florida offensive coordinator (recently promoted from offensive line coach) Steve Addazio and Richmond head coach Mike London, but anyone with a working brain knew that there was no way anyone other than Spaziani or another BC assistant was going to get the job.

Why? Because if you're going to fire your head coach for interviewing with another organization, how could you possible justify doing the same thing to bring in your next coach?

I'll give some credit to BC athletic director Gene DeFilippo for sticking to his word, and several columnists have pointed out that the firing of Jeff Jagodzinski could be a good thing in terms of limiting the job-hopping that's become standard operating procedure in coaching.

But there comes a point when you have to realize that what's best for your program isn't always what's best for your personal image. Is there anyone out there who thinks that Holtz wouldn't have been a better fit? What about Brian Kelly, a Boston native who just led Cincinnati to the Big East title after impressive stints as head coach at Central Michigan and Grand Valley State?

Those coaches weren't options, though, because there's no way DeFilippo could have hired either one of them -- or anyone outside the BC circle, for that matter -- and looked like anything but a complete and utter hypocrite. He dug himself a hole by taking such a hard stance on the "gentleman's agreement" he supposedly had with Jagodzinski, and he left himself few options when it came time to name a replacement.

So Spaziani is the guy. Again, I certainly don't think he'll be a disaster, as there's something to be said for experience and stability. But he's 61 -- the oldest hire in the history of the ACC -- and I just don't see the long-term potential for improving the program with Spaziani at the helm. When you've been around for as long as Spaziani has and you've never been seriously considered for a head coaching job -- even being passed over by Boston College just two years ago after Tom O'Brien left for NC State -- there's probably a reason for that.

Maybe Boston College is satisfied with 7-9 wins each season, and if so, I respect DeFilippo for choosing principle over wins and losses. I just can't say that I'd make the same decision.

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