BC search for new coach begins

It began with a simple statement on Sunday evening, following a brief team meeting in which Boston  College Director of Athletics Brad Bates told the BC football team that football coach Frank Spaziani was being dismissed after four years, including this season’s 2-10 disaster.

There is little need for further evaluation.  The results of the past month are obvious, with Boston College’s 27-10 loss to North Carolina State on Saturday the latest example. The Eagles stumbled to a 2-10 mark, after last season’s 4-8 crash and burn performance which ended  BC’s bowl appearance streak at 11.

The tenure of Spaziani as the Eagles’ head coach is now over.’

Bates called a team meeting on Sunday night and informed the team of his decision.

“He just told us that we were going to make a change” said one player. “It wasn’t that big of a surprise.”

BC linebacker Steele Divitto said that the Eagles will absorb the change and move on. “No one here is feeling sorry for themselves,” said Divitto, who praised Spaziani who did a good job.  “It’s time to move on.”

Spaziani did not meet with the team, but will instead meet with them individually over the next few days.

But he did  issue a statement: Obviously this is a sad day for my family and me,’ he said. “”Boston College has been my home for more than 16 years and I have been fortunate to work with some amazing student athletes. I will aways treasure my  relationships with them and with the BC staff.

Boston College is a tremendous place and I am extremely thankful for my time there. I wish the current and future Eagles nothing but the best.”

What is important now is to make the process of finding a successor for Spaziani as seamless as possible. Bates said the will follow the philosophy of former UCLA Hall of Fame basketball coach John Wooden with a “be quick, don’t hurry” coaching search, looking for the right person that fits what BC needs

Bates has been the AD at BC for slightly more than a month and is well into  the evaluation process. He has already formed a list of candidates who would be coaches of interest for BC. Whether that interest is returned remains the question.

With the virtual conclusion of the college football regular season this weekend, the silly season of firings and hirings will speed up.

Bates has already met with a group of advisors who have compiled a list of names. Included on that list are Penn State coach  Bill O’Brien, Miami coach Al Golden, Mississippi coach Dan Mullen, Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, and Air Force Coach Troy Calhoun.  It is a strong wish list, but all would be long shots to come to BC, although Mullen might be worth watching.

He grew up in New Hampshire and has connections to Oregon Coach Chip Kelly and former BC assistant coach Ryan Day, who also came out of New Hampshire.

Mullen’s name was mentioned when Penn State was looking for a replacement for Joe Paterno.

Why leave Mississippi State? Look at the landscape.  The SEC has won the last 6 national championships and could win a 7th if either Georgia or Alabama beat Notre Dame in the BCS title game. Mississippi State was not a factor in any of those championship races and is not likely to challenge any time soon. Mullen might just want a change of scenery.

Whether Mulin would be the right fit for BC is not clear.

After two coaches–Spaziani and Jeff Jagodzinski–without college head coaching experience, Bates highest priority is to hire a coach with previous head coaching experience.  If Bates’ first list doesn’t work, Bates might go to the Mid-American Conference. Northern Illinois’ coach Dave  Doeren and Kent State coach Darrell Hazel would be the most likely leaders from that group.

Bates could also dip into the coordinator pool from major successful BCS programs. Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi and Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco would be the front-runners from that group.

Bates could also look into the NFL, although there might be some concern about a lack of familiarity with college recruiting and the sometimes mind-boggling NCAA restrictions on access and recruiting. Other candidates with local ties and a record of achievement such as Harvard coach Tim Murphy could also be included.

That is a fairly comprehensive group  of candidates which Bates feels will produce the next BC coach.


Bates said the criteria for the next BC coach is three-pronged.

“Someone who oozes integrity, someone who sincerely cares about the students and  we want someone who is going to win,” said Bates, who said that Spaziani met two of those three criteria. “When you are working in the profession of athletics, winning is a very big factor.”

“Spaz is clearly a man of integrity,” said Bates. “He  genuinely cares about his students. But his performance (in terms of winning) the last couple of years has suffered.” 

In the end, it was a bottom line performance. Frank Spaziani simply did not win enough games.

 For Spaziani, it will be time of decision and transition. With three years remaining on his contract, there are no immediate financial concerns. BC VP Leo Sullivan and Spaziani should be able to work out an equitable deal that will be fair to both sides.

In a perfect world, Bates would like to complete the process in the next two weeks, since recruiting season begins on Friday, but Bates wants to make sure it is not only the right coach but the right fit for BC.


© 2012, Mark. All rights reserved.

  19 comments for “BC search for new coach begins

  1. Ryan
    November 25, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    There isn’t one coach mentioned in this article that would actually come to BC…

    • Mark
      November 25, 2012 at 11:26 pm

      OK. You find some coaches

  2. Tom H 92
    November 25, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    Thanks for the update.
    A big public thank you to Spaz and his years and years of service – he was very successful as a defensive coordinator and I was happy when he first was hired, and I wish him well now.

    Any news on the rest of his staff?

  3. Ben Dover
    November 25, 2012 at 5:38 pm


  4. Oskar
    November 25, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Mr Blauds, please follow your comrade Francisco’s lead, and retire this week too.

    You need a rest.

  5. Ted Whitesel
    November 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Rumor has it Bates will interview Kevin Gilbride for the job.

  6. jeffrey maciejowski
    November 25, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Hopefully BC will finally realize that you need to spend money to make money. Spending close to $1.75 to $2 million a year to bring in the right person pays off instantly with fans in the seats at Alumni Stadium. I do not want to hear any more excuses about the BC academic restrictions being too difficult……..ND….Stanford….Northwestern and Vandy are excellent schools. Watched the Vandy-Kentucky game last week on ESPN and the commentators noted that James Franklin sells the players on the academics and the city of Nashville…..the new BC head coach can do the same. Hopefully Bates has the backing of the BC Admin. to bring in a young and aggressive recruiter. The ACC is an average league with two under-achieving coaches at FSU and Clemson. If the right coach is hired……BC can be very competitive in 2 to 3 years,

  7. Ben Dover
    November 25, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Covering all your bases here huh Blauds?

    “Bates highest priority is to hire a coach with previous head coaching experience.”
    “Bates could also dip into the coordinator pool from major successful BCS programs.”
    “Bates could also look into the NFL,”
    “Other candidates with local ties and a record of achievement”

    So essentially anyone with a pulse and has thought about coaching college football?

  8. Buster R Hymes
    November 25, 2012 at 8:06 am

    his name be frank
    he coach like old skank
    team is in da tank
    help me hank

  9. Matt B.
    November 25, 2012 at 7:59 am


    First off, let me just say I enjoy your coverage of BC Sports. I’m a long time subscriber/viewer of the other BC blogs/subscription sites, and your information is the best that’s out there when it comes to updates/news on BC sports.

    A couple of thoughts/questions….

    Mullen is a pipe dream. I know you’ve already highlighted him as a “wish list” guy, but I don’t see why he would even return our call. I know MSU has to compete with the Bama’s of the world to be prominent in their conference, but MSU is paying him a lot of money than BC ever would. The school just committed 25 million to build a new football facility, and he does not have to deal with admissions.

    I used to work in college athletics, and one constant I’ve always heard from coaches when discussing BC is that they know how tough it is to get “borderline” players accepted. There is a small pool of coaches out there that embrace the high academic life style – you need to find one that likes that.

    Also, we are soooooooo far behind when it comes to facilities/pay scale. BC is the lowest paying job in the ACC in the most expensive city. Our assistants are underpaid and get zero perks – IE (no free car). Can Bates figure out a way to generate more funds for us to be competitive?

    I know he has only been here for a short period of time – but I hope “others” within the school have figured out a way to free up some more cash for a new coach, because it is going to cost us.

  10. TheMan
    November 25, 2012 at 7:51 am

    Shame on you, Blauds, for cutting your firmed Spaz loose. He is still Boston College head coach until he has his wildly undeserved multi-million-dollar buyout check in his hand.

  11. Ben Dover
    November 25, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Keep deleting my posts Blauds, i’m still celebrating Spaz error being over!


  12. Jason
    November 24, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    It’s hard to imagine O’Brien leaving PSU or Golden leaving Miami for BC but I appreciate that BB is thinking big if he does intend to ask permission to speak to those gentlemen.
    Diaco is an intriguing choice to me. Here’s hoping he would be willing
    to leave a great situation at ND for the chance to run a program like BC.
    If I remember right, after Dan Henning resigned at the end of the 96 season in the wake of the gambling fiasco, BC was looking to hire Bob Davie off of Holtz’s ND staff, but then Holtz ended up resigning and Davie got his job.

    • Mark
      November 25, 2012 at 12:23 am

      You got it right. Davie had the job, but changed at the last minute when Holtz retired

  13. Kegan
    November 24, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    What about Notre Dame’s DC Bob Diaco? Why hasn’t he been mentioned?

    • Mark
      November 24, 2012 at 11:21 pm

      do you bother reading the story before you comment. Diaco is mentioned.

  14. SpazWastedMySeason
    November 24, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    The “good coach” that you talked about just concluded perhaps the second worst season in BCs history. Please end the farce and never use good coach to describe Spaz again.

  15. Eileen Ulick
    November 24, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Didn’t you just copy and paste 90% of your post game post from last week?

    • Mark
      November 24, 2012 at 11:54 pm

      NO. I wrote what was going to happen last week and reported what I learned and it actually happened. What a thing. Thanks for reading.

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