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BC must move quickly

Posted by Mark Blaudschun, Globe Staff  January 8, 2009 10:32 AM

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Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo began the business of finding a new head football coach this morning. Former coach Jeff Jagodzinski, who was fired by DeFilippo Wednesday morning, met with his former staff last night to say his goodbyes.

DeFilippo says he has started a search that will include candidates outside the staff. The question is: Why? The only reason to do that is if you feel that the on-staff people you have aren't good enough. That is not true in this instance, especially regarding what BC wants to be and where it wants to go.

Both assistant head coach Jack Bicknell Jr. and defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani meet the qualifications. So does offensive coordinator Steve Logan. If any of those men express an interest, DeFilippo should pick the person he feels is the best and move on. DeFilippo is expected to do that later today in one sense, when he chooses an interim head coach. Sources close to the program said this afternoon that the choice will be Spaziani.

Ideally, the interim tag could be taken off in a few days, after BC and Spaziani can get comfortable with the new role and judge the reaction internally -- which already has been overwhelmingly positive.

"What BC needs in football is the equivalent of Jerry York [the Eagles' hockey coach]," said one source close to the program. "And Frank Spaziani would be that guy.''

Whether or not Spaziani gets the permanent job, this much is certain: BC needs to move quickly with the entire process. The recruiting season is in its final stages and BC is getting trounced right now. Even the recruits who are leaning toward BC are wavering as they watch to see who is commanding the ship.

BC cannot afford any lag time here. They need a new coach right now. By going outside the box, DeFilippo is sending a message that says the guys on staff aren't good enough.
An added danger here is that if you do hire someone from outside, you are going to lose everyone inside.

When DeFilippo hired Jagodzinski two years ago he caught a break in keeping several members of Tom O'Brien's staff, including Spaziani and linebackers coach Billy McGovern.

That's not going to happen this time, especially for someone like Spaziani, who is the best candidate on staff. Spaziani is as loyal to BC as anyone, but he is not an ornament that can be moved around with a new head coach. He applied last time and was passed over. If he is passed over this time -- again, after being named the interim coach -- he will be gone. McGovern might also bolt, as will Bicknell and Logan and others on the staff since a new coach will not acquiesce as Jagodzinski did by agreeing to keep members of O'Brien's staff.

A new coach from outside the loop would want his own staff. And then it will be time to clean house completely, which is remarkable for a program that has won 30 games in the last three seasons.

So DeFilippo will start the process today. The tentative game plan will be to name Spaziani the interim coach, then conduct a quick search to see if any candidates emerge, and have the new coach in place by early next week so the recruiting process can resume.

The Eagles can still do it right if they act quickly.

If they don't, chaos is lurking around the corner. And the blame will fall on DeFilippo.

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