Tuesday, January 06, 2009


As the titanic programs of college football duke it out in the BCS, Boston College, who lost to Vanderbilt and will finish the season unranked, made some headlines. Apparently, BC threatened to fire head coach Jeff Jagodzinski if he took an interview with the Jets for their recently vacant head coaching job.

At first, I was appalled. Head coaches, particularly at the college level, often take interviews for jobs. And this would be no insult to BC. The Jets are an NFL team. That's a step up from any college program. So why threaten a coach like this?

Then I thought more and more about it. Boston College internally recognizes that it's a second-tier football program. Competetive, occasionally making a cameo in the AP Poll, perpetually bowl eligible, but never in the same club as elite programs like Texas, USC, Ohio State, or Virginia Tech, and so on. BC knows this, and they want to change it. They want to be in the BCS every year, win conference titles, even compete for the national championship.

In order to do this, one of the things they need is coaching stability. They need a guy to stay at BC long enough to generate multiple generations of recruits. They want a coach to stay for 8, 10, 15 years; long enough to be thought of simultaneously when one thinks of BC football. The way Joe Paterno = Penn State, Bob Stoops = Oklahoma, Mack Brown = Texas.

If Jagodzinski interviews with the Jets, then he's not this guy. Whether or not he gets the job, if he takes the interview, it's clear he doesn't want to stay at BC. I can't blame him, the NFL is the NFL. But if he's just coaching at BC in order to secure his next job, then BC should move on and go in another direction.

The problem is, not many great coaches would consider BC to be their ultimate career ambition. Perhaps BC's next head coach should be a long-time assistant, or someone from Boston, or perhaps a BC alum. In other words, someone who's happy to be on Chestnut Hill for a long time.

Another interesting little twist. BC Athletic Director Gene DiFilippo (GDF) had been asked by the media if Jags was interviewing for the Jets job. This was over the weekend. GDF denied it. Jags also apparently denied it, assuring GDF that the rumors weren't true. Then it became clear that there was a meeting scheduled between Jags and the Jets. In other words, Jagodzinski lied to the BC Athletic Department. Why? There was an understanding that he wouldn't seek an NFL job for the first 3 years of his deal with BC.

If he lied to his AD, then that's pretty good reason to fire him. If BC wants a coach who will stay for a long time, it's not Jagodzinski, and maybe they should both move on. If so, BC should also lower its standards because very few top coaches want to finish their careers on Chestnut Hill.


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