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Jagodzinski's fate all but sealed

Posted by Mark Blaudschun, Globe Staff  January 6, 2009 11:08 PM

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The waiting game now begins for Boston College - and it might not be a very long one. With published reports stating that BC football coach Jeff Jagodzinski interviewed with the New York Jets yesterday, school officials are waiting for a chance to talk to him in person to work out a deal that seems certain to end Jagodzinski's career at BC.

Athletic director Gene DeFilippo waited all day yesterday to hear from his football coach.
"I haven't heard a word," said DeFilippo. "And I've called several times."

DeFilippo said he would take no action until he had a face-to-face meeting with Jagodzinski - the assumption being that the coach would be back in the Boston area today - but he made it clear interviewing with the Jets would put Jagodzinski's BC career in jeopardy.

Although there is nothing in Jagodzinski's five-year contract that bars him from talking to NFL teams, DeFilippo had made it clear when he hired Jagodzinski two years ago that he wanted a coach for the long term, not someone who would use the job as a steppingstone to an NFL job.

Winning two Atlantic Coast Conference Atlantic Division titles boosted Jagodzinski's stature as well as BC's. But the picture was not perfect, and when the Eagles ended this season with back-to-back losses in the ACC Championship game to Virginia Tech and in the Music City Bowl to Vanderbilt, Jagodzinski apparently decided this would be the right time to test the NFL waters while he was still linked more to the pros than to college football.

According to an NFL source, Jagodzinski made inquiries among his NFL contacts and set up an interview with the Jets, who had just fired Eric Mangini, and sought advice from NFL people familiar with the interview process. Jagodzinski then made plans to meet with the Jets, but without telling DeFilippo, who found out about it Saturday, which caused a major rift.

DeFilippo told Jagodzinski that if he talked to the Jets, he almost certainly would not have a job at BC when he came back. Jagodzinski regarded that as an ultimatum and told his staff Sunday that he would be gone for a few days, that he had to make a major decision, and he would get back to them Tuesday.

DeFilippo waited to hear from his coach, wondering whether he had indeed talked to the Jets and forced the issue. Late yesterday afternoon, DeFilippo learned through published reports that Jagodzinski had indeed had his interview.

DeFilippo made it clear that while he still liked Jagodzinski, his trust in him had been diminished. Sources familiar with the situation said the only formality left was a face-to-face meeting at which DeFilippo and Jagodzinski could work out an arrangement to terminate the three years remaining on the contract.

While Jagodzinski's overall compensation package is slightly more than $1 million per year, his base salary - which BC would be obligated to pay - is much lower. BC officials were hoping that even if Jagodzinski did not get the Jets job - and he is regarded as a long shot - he would wind up with another position in the NFL.

Jets owner Woody Johnson also met yesterday with his offensive coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer, about the team's head coaching job, according to a person familiar with the search. And the Jets will interview Indianapolis defensive coordinator Ron Meeks Friday.

According to sources familiar with the situation, Jagodzinski would consider an offensive coordinator's job in the NFL. One possible landing spot is Seattle, where new coach Jim Mora Jr. is looking for an offensive coordinator. Mora and Jagodzinski have a connection from their days with the Atlanta Falcons; Mora hired Jagodzinski for his Falcons staff in 2004.

Sources in Seattle say the Seahawks have interest in Jagodzinski.

BC was making contingency plans to move forward without Jagodzinski, the main concern being a quick transition, with defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani the prime candidate to take over.

Spaziani is a perfect fit for DeFilippo in that he has been at BC for 12 years and has made it clear that, if he is elevated, his commitment to the school would be long-term.

DeFilippo thought he had such a commitment from Jagodzinski, but he no longer feels that way, which is why Jagodzinski is likely to be gone, perhaps today.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report

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