Jeff: With the crazy developments of the past few days which led to Texas Tech firing their football coach Mike Leach, you can't help but be reminded of what happened to the BC football program almost exactly one year ago. The similarities began with Jags and coach Leach bringing their respective programs unprecedented success. Then, out of nowhere came reports of each coach might be fired through the media which ultimately came to fruition due to each coach's failure to comply with requests of their universities. So, having gone through this before, how bad do you feel for Red Raider fans and how glad are you that it is not BC making the surprising headlines this time around?
Brian: I'm not going to take a side in the Leach-James situation but there seems much more to the story than what has been reported by the media. It seems a bit strange that this is the first incident of any sort for Leach at Texas Tech. In both the Jags and Leach situation, it seems like there was some friction between the schools, the athletic departments and the head football coach. Texas Tech was frustrated with Leach for interviewing for the Washington job last season without telling them; much the same as the disagreement between Jagodzinski and DeFilippo over Jags interviewing for the NY Jets job.
Where the situations seem to differ is in how the programs will move forward. The Boston College hire of Spaziani seemed to temporarily keep the program and the recruiting class together. This situation at Texas Tech appears that it will fracture the current team, the recruiting class and may seriously endanger the future of the program. BC also has the luxury of competing in a much easier division. With due respect to Florida State and Clemson, competing against Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State for the Big 12 South Division title is a much taller order than competing against Florida State and Clemson.
Leach took a program that had very little success historically and turned that program into a winner. While Jagodzinski achieved great success over a short period of time, he ultimately wasn't the one who resurrected BC's football program and brought them back into national prominence. While the Tom O'Brien departure was a somewhat caustic and acrimonious divorce, that situation won't come close to the level of animosity and the ensuing legal battle that will inevitably take place between Leach and Texas Tech.
If there is one lesson to take from all this, it's that college football players should choose a program based on the institution and the program, not the head coach. The head coach of a football program is very temporary, even moreso now in an era of 24 hour news cycles and increased media scrutiny.