I do not think Frank Spaziani is the answer for the BC football program. I believe his dismissal is necessary to turn around the program. Firing Spaz alone will not fix the problem. BC needs to also tell Gene DeFilippo to clean out his office. He cannot be trusted to hire a new coach.
There are really only two schools of thought on Jeff Jagodzinski. The first is that he was an excellent coach and a breath of fresh air. The second is that he was a faker who did not recruit and deserved his fate. No matter which of these camps you fall into, the way the situation played out is an indictment on DeFilippo's judgment.
If you fall into the first camp, Gene fired a coach with a .714 winning percentage. Of course a good coach is going to be in demand. Smart programs lock them up. Just look at a storied program in another sport, Kansas basketball. In 2000, Roy Williams, a legend there was courted by his alma mater, North Carolina. Kansas did not fire him. They embraced him when he decided to stay. He did leave Kansas for Carolina three years later. Kansas dusted itself off and hired Bill Self, who led the program to a National Championship.
If you fall into the second camp, Gene showed an alarming lack of discretion making the wrong hire who failed to capitalize on the greatest BC talent base since the Flutie years, which could have set up the program to move to the next level. Either way, Gene botched the situation with Jags.
Once Jags was fired, Gene failed again. He promised a national coaching search. Despite Jags' ugly departure, BC remained a highly desirable job. There are only so many head coaching opportunities for a BCS school. What Gene found was Spaz. Was he really the best guy available? Why did he get passed over then during the 2006 coaching search?
More after the jump...
Was continuity the goal? Spaz was not even the best choice then. BC at the time had an experienced head coach on the staff, Steve Logan. Logan posted a 69-58 record as a head coach for East Carolina and helped develop Jeff Blake and David Garrard, both of whom became starting NFL quarterbacks on top of his work taking Matt Ryan from a second round prospect to the third pick of the Draft in one year. Heck, one could even argue there was a second internal candidate better than Spaz. That was Jack Bicknell, Jr. I will not argue with those who disagree. His record as head coach of Louisana Tech was only 42-53. He did, however, have extensive head coaching experience and a conference title on his resume. That looks better than a guy in his 60's never seriously considered for a head coaching job.
Why continuity suddenly became so important is a mystery. It was not so important in the 2006 search when the team had a lot more talent coming back for a BCS run (Ryan, Silva, Raji, Brace, Dunbar, Tribble, etc.). There were plenty of high caliber external guys available. Even if BC wanted to go in that direction, Gene chose poorly.
Over the past three years, we have heard plenty of excuses as BC took a step back. There were injuries. Jags recruited poorly. Guess what. They do not hold water. Spaz was touted as the continuity candidate. If we were doomed to step back no matter what, why was continuity so important?
Spaz's track record speaks for itself. So does Gene's. He has done nothing to show he deserves to hire a third head coach. If he is allowed to do so, his past suggests it will not be as big of an improvement as is needed. Gene also has to go. Thanks for the ACC. Thanks for Steve Donahue. Thanks for not interfering with the hockey program like you have with the football program. This is not about the past. It is about what is best for BC sports going forward. The football program will not be better until he is gone.