The Frank Spaziani era at Boston College football officially came to a close on Sunday but in reality, he was probably thinking about his next move as soon as the Eagles lost 34-31 at Army back on Oct. 6.
It’s tough to come back from an unforgivable loss like that, especially when your teams have trended downward each season you were in charge. In four seasons at Chestnut Hill, BC was 8-5, 7-6, 4-8 and most recently 2-10 this fall. His last game was Saturday’s 27-10 loss at North Carolina State - ironically former Eagles head coach Tom O’Brien’s last game with the Wolfpack.
Before this hopeless season had even kicked off, you got the sense that this was the final go-round for Spaziani. Once new athletic director Brad Bates took over Oct. 9 (a few days after the Army loss), you knew Spaziani was done. It is remarkable that a man who was renowned for his defensive prowess (he spent 10 years as BC’s defensive coordinator) could be in charge of a team that was so woefully inept on both sides of the ball. The Eagles were 0-6 on the road this season and the only reason they didn’t join Southern Mississippi as the only winless teams in FBS is because they beat Maine (FCS) and Maryland - which played its fourth quarterback at the time due to injuries.
This is the biggest coaching decision that Bates will make in the next few years. You can’t expect someone to come in and immediately return BC to prominence, but on the other hand, you couldn’t make the team or program become more irrelevant locally or nationally. BC has morphed into the Cleveland Browns - they are so bad that it’s not even that enjoyable to make fun of them. Big-time college athletics, namely basketball and football are all about two things: 1. Recruiting, 2. Bringing in good assistant coaches.
It will never be easy to build BC into a contender because of their academic requirements but you could say the same thing about their main rival in Notre Dame. How have the Fighting Irish been this season?
My advice to Bates would be to look at who is at the top in college football this season and see who you can poach. Whether that means Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart or Oregon offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, set your sights on a powerhouse team.
If you can’t get any of those guys, and it won't be easy since everyone else will be after them, another idea is to hire someone that’s successful at a smaller level. Look no further than the MAC (UMass’ new home) where Northern Illinois and Dave Doeren is 11-1 and ranked 18th while Kent State and Darrell Hazell is 11-1 and ranked 19th. BC needs an infusion of talent from the outside and Spaziani had been within the program for the last 16 years (12 as an assistant). A new voice and innovative ideas are paramount to their return to success.