Boston College Director of Athletics Brad Bates is closing in on finding his new football coach and sources at BC say that Bates has pared down his list to two finalists with an asterisk.
New Orleans offensive line coach Aaron Kromer, and Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco and Miami coach Al Golden are on top of Bates’ list, although Golden remains more of a wish than a reality at this time. According to people familiar with the search, Bates has interviewed several candidates over the last several days and is ready to make an announcement.
Ball State coach Pete Lembo was thought to be one of the finalists list, but sources at Ball State said that Lembo was recruiting in Cincinnati on Tuesday and was not one of the finalists.
“I have not heard from Boston College about their coaching position,” Lembo told the Muncie (Ind.) Star Press “I did not apply for the job.”
Bates met with the football team on Tuesday morning and told them an announcement could be made in a few days and no later than next week. But other sources at BC are confident that the deal can be closed this week.
While there has been wide-spread speculation about Golden being involved, sources continue to maintain that Golden is still not ready to make a move away from the Hurricanes despite the impending NCAA sanctions which will further cripple the program. Although BC made it clear that it was ready to make a deal, Golden has maintained that he is not ready and Bates moved to his next plan of attack. If Golden does change his mind, then he moves back to the top of the list.
Bates was at BC on Tuesday as he worked out the final details, which could include one last effort to get Golden. And while Diaco is the hot name, the Miami Ohio connection with Bates and Kromer can not be discounted.
Other names have surfaced in the past several days and Bates has done a thorough job of checking out each credible candidates. The problem that Bates is now facing is the competition from other schools such as Tennessee, Purdue, California and Colorado, all who are also looking for coaches, often tapping the same pool as BC.
While no official move has been made by the Eagles, sources at BC say the Eagles are fairly comfortable that they will have their coach in place by Thursday.
Who emerges from that list of finalists–and it could obviously change if Golden decides he wants to make a move–is not yet totally clear. All have credentials that meets the criteria that Bates wants in the Eagles’ next football coach.
Here are profiles, provided by the Saints, Notre Dame and Ball State of the three coaches who appear to have moved to the top of the BC list. Barring any unforseen changes or mystery candidates emerging, one of these men seems likely to be the next Eagle head coach.
Kromer, who also served as the Saints’ interim head coach for six games this season, was interviewed by Bates over the weekend.
Here are the profiles:
Entering his fifth season with the Saints, Aaron Kromer brings 22 years of coaching experience to the coaching staff, the majority of it developing and tutoring offensive linemen. He’s also responsible for the design and blocking schemes of the rushing attack.
After initially tutoring the Saints running backs in 2008, Kromer has tutored the Saints offensive line the past three seasons. The former college offensive lineman has developed the skills of seven Pro Bowl blockers during his time in the NFL, including three in 2011. Known for his teaching skills and attention to detail, five Saints blockers have been selected to the Pro Bowl under Kromer’s tutelage. The line has allowed just 70 sacks over the past three seasons, the third-lowest total in the NFL. In both 2009 and 2011, the New Orleans offensive line has been honored with the Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award, awarded annually to the best offensive line in the NFL.
After tutoring an offensive line in which all five players had started 22 consecutive regular season games, Kromer played a vital role in the development of two first-time starters in T Zach Strief and C Brian de la Puente in 2011. The line allowed just 24 sacks, tied for the second-fewest in the NFL, and played an instrumental role in blocking for an offense that set the league’s single-season yardage record as well as several other NFL marks, with a resurgent run game ranked sixth in the league, grinding out 132.9 yards per game, their most productive season since 1987. The guard tandem of Jahri Evans and Carl Nicks were selected as Pro Bowl starters and voted Associated Press All-Pro, while T Jermon Bushrod was selected to his first Pro Bowl. It marked the second time in three years that three of Kromer’s linemen were selected to the NFL’s All-Star Game.
The offensive line allowed only 26 sacks in 2010, the fifth-lowest total in the NFL. Evans and Nicks were selected to the Pro Bowl, marking Nicks’ first appearance.
In his first season in his new position in 2009, a trio of Kromer’s linemen were selected to the Pro Bowl, each for the first time: Evans, C Jonathan Goodwin and T Jon Stinchcomb. Thanks in part to the line’s strong performance, New Orleans was ranked first in the NFL both in total yards per game (403.8) and points scored (510). Churning out 131.6 yards per game on the ground, the New Orleans running game was ranked sixth in the league. The offensive line surrendered only 20 sacks, the NFL’s fourth-lowest total.
Kromer’s achievements in leading the running backs in 2008 were many. RB Pierre Thomas emerged as a top threat over the last half of the season, rushing for 625 yards, hauling in 31 passes and scoring 12 touchdowns. As a unit, the running back corps combined for 2,472 yards from scrimmage and 28 TDs.
Kromer came to New Orleans after a three-year stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including the final two as senior assistant/offensive line coach. In two of Kromer’s three seasons at Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers captured the NFC South division title. In 2007, he worked with an offensive line that cleared the way for the Buccaneers to rush for 1,872 yards and average nearly 327 yards of offense per game, as G Arron Sears earned All-Rookie honors. In 2006, despite the unit losing a total of 23 starts from injuries, Kromer contributed to the preparation of a pair of rookie starters weekly and Tampa Bay cracked the 1,500-yard rushing milestone.
He was a senior assistant for the Buccaneers in 2005, working primarily with the offensive line. Tampa Bay surpassed the 100-yard rushing plateau in 10 contests, and Kromer helped polish the skills of All-Rookie selection G Dan Buenning. Following the season, he was selected by former Bucs coach Jon Gruden to attend the NFL’s Coaches Career Development Symposium.
Kromer arrived in Tampa Bay after spending four seasons with Oakland as offensive line coach from 2002-04 and assistant offensive line coach in 2001, where he was a part of two AFC West Champion squads. The Raiders’ offensive front was the foundation of a unit that led the NFL in total offense in 2002 – the same season the club advanced to Super Bowl XXXVII.
While in Oakland, Kromer tutored Pro Bowl selections T Lincoln Kennedy (2001-02) and C Barrett Robbins (2002) and also coached 2004 All-Rookie selection T Robert Gallery. Prior to joining the Raiders – his first NFL assignment–he served as offensive line coach at Northwestern from 1999- 2000, with the Wildcats leading the Big Ten in total offense his final season.
He had previously spent nine seasons (1990-98) at Miami University (Ohio), his alma mater, where Kromer gained a wealth of experience and perspective while holding several assignments. He coached the offensive line in 1998, after previously working with the tight ends/H-Backs, defensive line and special teams. Kromer was a graduate assistant at the school from 1990-91.
Kromer lettered at Miami at offensive tackle from 1987-89 and served as a captain his last two seasons – one of only four players in the history of the program to serve as a two-time captain. He was a recipient of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete Award and graduated with a degree in education. Kromer earned his master’s degree in education administration in 1991.
Kromer and his wife, Dawn, have a son, Zachary, and a daughter, Brooke.
PLAYING CAREER: Miami (Ohio), 1986-89.
COACHING CAREER: Miami (Ohio), 1990-98; Northwestern
1999-2000; Oakland Raiders 2001-04; Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2005-07;
New Orleans Saints 2008-.
Semifinalist for the 2011 Broyles Award, presented annually to college football’s top assistant coach.
• Promoted to assistant head coach for 2012 season.
• The 2011 defense ranked in the top 50 in scoring defense (24th, 20.7), total defense (30th, 344.7), rushing defense (47th, 138.9) and passing defense (38th, 205.8). It was only the second time since 2003 and fourth time in the last 15 seasons a Notre Dame defense ranked in the top 50 in all four categories.
• Led a defense that held 12 of 13 opponents below their season scoring average and 11 of 13 teams below their season rushing average.
• For the first time in 10 years, Notre Dame’s defense allowed fewer than 21 points per game in consecutive seasons. The Irish are one of 13 teams to allow less than 21 points per game in each of the last two years.
• Diaco’s defense surrendered 14 points or less in five games in 2011, the most since 2002.
• The rush defense was stingy near the goal line in 2011 as only eight rushing TDs were scored against Notre Dame. Only four schools permitted fewer rushing TDs. Of the eight rushing TDs last year, only three were scored by running backs.
• The Irish defense was nothing short of sensational in the third quarter as Pittsburgh and Florida State were the only teams to score against Notre Dame in the first period following halftime.
• Coached the linebackers and helped the growth of Manti Te’o who led the team with 128 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. Te’o was a second-team All-American and a finalist for the Butkus Award and Lott Trophy in 2011.
• In his first season at Notre Dame, Diaco switched defensive schemes from a blitzing 4-3 defense the Irish utilized in 2009 and instilled a 3-4 no-crease defense.
• Diaco’s defense was drastically better than the 2009 Notre Dame defense. The Irish allowed 5.69 fewer points per game, 40.5 fewer yards per game, averaged one half sacks more per game and forced more turnovers in 2010 than 2009.
• The 2010 defense was dramatically improved compared to the 2009 defense in almost every statistical category: scoring defense (from 63rd in ’09 to 23rd in ’10), pass efficiency (82nd to 25th), rushing defense (89th to 50th) and total defense (86th to 50th).
• In the final three games of the regular season, Diaco’s defense limited teams averaging at least 31 points per game to 22 combined points – the fewest points allowed by a Notre Dame defense in three straight games since the 1993 season.
• Only four touchdowns were scored against the Irish defense in the final five games of the regular season.
• Working with the inside linebackers, Diaco helped turn Te’o into an All-America candidate in 2010. The Bednarik Award and Butkus Award semifinalist led the Irish with 133 tackles and posted 9.5 tackles for loss as a sophomore.
• In his only season at Cincinnati, he was charged with replacing 10 starters on the Bearcats’ defense, including every player on the front seven for 2009.
• The Bearcats recorded 110 tackles for loss in 2009 (8.46 per game) to rank third in the nation. They totaled 37 sacks and tied for 10th in the country averaging 2.85 sacks per contest. Cincinnati’s defense allowed 3.6 rushing yards per carry.
• Focused on the inside linebackers in 2009 at Cincinnati and helped Andre Revels and JK Schaffer experience career years in their first seasons as starters. Revels led the Bearcats with 108 tackles and added 4.5 tackles for loss and one interception, while Schaffer ranked second on the team with 100 tackles with 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and three interceptions.
• Safety Aaron Webster was named first-team all-BIG EAST in 2009 after pacing Cincinnati with four interceptions and five pass breakups. Defensive end Ricardo Mathews was named second-team all-BIG EAST as a first-year starter after he recorded a team-best 12.5 tackles for loss.
• Prior to Cincinnati, spent three years as the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator on Al Groh’s coaching staff at the University of Virginia from 2006-08.
• At the conclusion of the 2008 season, was promoted to the Cavaliers’ defensive coordinator position, but he left two months later to take the same position at Cincinnati.
• Diaco’s linebackers were critical to Virginia allowing only 3.7 yards per carry and just over 21 points per game to their opponents in 2008.
• Only four schools permitted fewer rushing touchdowns than Virginia’s nine in 2007, and the Cavaliers allowed 106.9 rushing yards per game, 13th in the nation. Virginia ranked 16th nationally at 19.7 points allowed per game and were 23rd in total defense, allowing 332.5 yards per game.
• Served as co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach under Brian Kelly at Central Michigan in 2005.
• In his only season with the Chippewas, Diaco turned around Central Michigan’s rushing defense that just two years earlier had ranked last in the Mid-American Conference.
• Under Diaco’s watch, Central Michigan led the MAC, allowing only 113.7 rushing yards per game. He also helped defensive end Dan Bazuin lead the nation with 26.5 tackles for loss and tie a MAC record with 16 sacks.
• In 2004, coached the special teams and linebackers at Western Michigan. The punting, punt return and kickoff return units all finished in the top three of the MAC.
• First full-time position was at Western Illinois where he was the running backs coach and special teams coordinator in 1999 and 2000. The Leathernecks won the Gateway Conference crown in 2000 and made an appearance in the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs.
• Twice an all-Big Ten selection at Iowa under Hall of Fame coach Hayden Fry and was named team’s co-MVP in 1995.
• Led the Hawkeyes in tackles in both 1994 and 1995 and finished his career as the seventh-leading tackler in Iowa history with 334 career stops. Started all 23 games during his final two seasons.
LB Manti Te’o (Notre Dame)
• 2011 finalist for Butkus Award and Lott Trophy
S Aaron Webster (Cincinnati)
• 2009 first-team all-Big East
LB Clint Sintim (Virginia)
• Led nation in sacks by a linebacker in 2007
DE Dan Bazuin (Western Michigan)
• Led nation in tackles for loss in 2005; Second-round NFL draft pick in 2007 by Chicago Bears.
© 2012, Mark. All rights reserved.