It all was so magical, so full of promise and in overall terms it wasn’t all that long ago.
Five years ago next month and Boston College fans can certainly recall the time frame without too much prompting.
In October 2007, Boston College football was at its highest point since the Doug Flutie Cotton Bowl, Heisman Trophy Days of 1984.
The Eagles were unbeaten and climbing in the polls and were preparing for a key Atlantic Coast Conference game against Virginia Tech in a battle of ranked teams.
That would be No. 2 BC vs. No. 8 VTech
That would be BC, with Matt Ryan at QB, in a Thursday night ESPN special in Blacksburg.
That would be No. 2 in the country.
And that would be the BC Eagles coached by Jeff Jagodzinski, whose career appeared to be on the same fast track that Ryan seemed to be heading.
The game played on Oct.25, 2007 did nothing to hurt either Ryan or Jagodzinski’s resume. Ryan, in what was called Heisman moment, threw a game winning TD pass in the final seconds to post a 14-10 win.
With a home game against Florida State the following week and Ryan and the Eagle defense playing as well as any BC team in recent years, the Eagles appeared ready to fly even higher.
But the Seminoles, who had already lost three games that season, acted like the Bobby Bowden coached Seminoles during their Top 5 run, and pulled off a 27-17 upset.
BC never climbed that high again. And while Ryan is on the cusp of being an NFL Superstar, Jagodzinski’s star also faded, slowly and steadily.
After tasting the ACC championship game for two years, Jags, who had given BC athletic director Gene DeFilippo a five-year commitment when he was hired to replace Tom O’Brien, was bitten by the NFL bug and chased a job with the New York Jets in the winter of 2009 , which was never offered.
DeFilippo fired him for breaking the agreement not too chase another job during the length of the contract at BC.
He recovered from that and bounced back as the offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but he barely lasted through the summer before that job disappeared as Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris, who hired Jags as his OC in January, demoted him to QB coach in September.
Jags declined the demotion and left. He resurfaced as the head coach with the Omaha Night Hawks of the United Football League league. That didn’t work out. He was fired after one season.
Jags went underground until this summer when he re-emerged as…the wide receivers coach for Ave Maria University, an NAIA school in the Naples, Fla. area.
I covered BC during the Jags stint, which produced a pair of ACC Atlantic Division titles. We had our moments of confrontation and clashes, which was highlighted or lowlighted by Jags putting me on his family “Shit List” as he called it.
His ability as a head coach is questionable, although he did win two ACC division titles, but he was and probably is a good position coach and he has a personality which can sell almost anything. Overall, I liked Jags.
Jags has seen both sides of the street, in the NFL and in college football. At 49, he has plenty of productive years ahead of him. Jags told the Naples Daily News that he likes his new challenge. “For me, it’s really about being with them and having fun,” Jagodzinski said. “It’s a great setting here–a Catholic setting and I love it here.”