BC rewards Spaziani with 2-year extension

By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / December 21, 2010

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While the coaching turnstile is spinning in the Atlantic Coast Conference, with both Miami and Maryland making changes, Boston College yesterday made certain there would be no revolving door at the Yawkey Athletic Center.

BC athletic director Gene DeFilippo yesterday recognized the solid stewardship of football coach Frank Spaziani by extending his contract two years, taking him through the 2015 season. Spaziani, who had three years remaining on his original pact, was rewarded after guiding a team riddled by injuries from a five-game losing skid to a five-game winning streak.

It propelled the Eagles (7-5) to their 12th consecutive bowl, opposite 13th-ranked Nevada in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Jan. 9 in San Francisco.

“Let me tell you, to bring the team back that was 0-4 in the ACC and 2-5 overall, it gave us all an opportunity to see, first of all, how these players and coaches reacted to Spaz,’’ DeFilippo said. “The fact he did a terrific job of rallying them through all the injuries, all the young kids we played, I told him, ‘You know, Spaz, there’ll be some times in the coming years when we’ll win 10 or 11 games, but I’ll always look back at 2010 and say that was probably your best coaching job,’ because of how it ended up.’’

Spaziani, in his second season as head coach after spending 12 years as a defensive coordinator under Tom O’Brien and Jeff Jagodzinski, overcame a rash of injuries by relying upon 25 freshmen and sophomores, many of whom were factors on the field. Sophomore linebacker Luke Kuechly was a consensus All-American.

“I certainly think that the powers-that-be looked at what was done and how it was done and it confirmed their initial selection,’’ said Spaziani.

When his team was in the throes of its losing streak, however, Spaziani said a contract extension “was the furthest thing from my mind.’’

“I’m obviously excited about it,’’ Spaziani said. “I’m going on my 15th year here, so it’s a good place to be.’’

Spaziani enters the bowl game with a 16-10 record at BC, including a 25-24 victory over Navy in the 2006 Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, N.C., as interim head coach following O’Brien’s departure to North Carolina State.

“The whole objective is one step at a time — the games, the seasons, with the big plan in mind,’’ Spaziani said. “You got to have a plan, but you’ve got to take the steps to get there and winning games are the steps.’’

DeFilippo took a broader view of what the extension means: stability.

“The thing that is important now to our fans, our players, our coaches, our recruits, our alums, is that we’re on real, real good footing here and Spaz is still going to be our coach,’’ DeFilippo said.

Men’s basketball Duke 98, Elon 72 — Kyle Singler scored 24 points and the No. 1 Blue Devils (11-0) blasted the visiting Phoenix, moving coach Mike Krzyzewski into a tie for second place on the all-time wins list.

Krzyzewski’s 879th win tied him with Dean Smith, who retired in 1997 as the winningest coach in Division 1 history. Krzyzewski can pass Smith by beating North Carolina-Greensboro Dec. 29. That leaves only Bobby Knight (902) ahead of Krzyzewski.

UConn 76, Coppin St. 64 — Kemba Walker scored 20 points and the No. 4 Huskies (9-0) cruised past the visiting Eagles (4-4).

Syracuse 97, Morgan St. 55 — James Southerland had a career-high 18 points as the No. 5 Orange (12-0) rolled past the visiting Bears (4-5).

Jacksonville 71, Florida 68 — Freshman Keith McDougald scored a career-high 18 points, including four free throws late in overtime, and the visiting Dolphins (7-3) upset the No. 20 Gators (8-3).

Fairfield 67, Vermont 59 — Sophomore Brendan Bald scored a career-high 16 points but the host Stags (8-3) held off the Catamounts (7-3).

Women’s basketball Baylor 82, Clemson 40 — Brittney Griner scored 18 points in 21 minutes to lead the No. 2 Lady Bears (11-1) to a rout of the Tigers (6-6) in the Sunsplash Shootout in Nassau, Bahamas.

Material from wire services were used in this report.