After AJ did a great job touching upon the Steve Addazio extension yesterday, talking points touched off some solid debate about if this was the right move, if it's a good move, and the ramifications down the line. Let's take a look at some of those points and break them down individually:
Addazio's Only/Miraculously Gone 7-5 In Each Of His First Two Years
Commenter njbcfan immediately brought up the numbers about if this was a wise decision. I attempted to look at this from the opposite point of view, but I don't think you can really look at this through the numbers alone. It goes back to what we say about this season. Like CoachJF said on the "bad luck" post: numbers are just numbers. BC could've easily won 10 games. They could've easily been 4-8. If you ask me, though, I think they're 7-5.
Consider, though, the following win-loss records of the Power Five Conference schools hiring coaches to start 2013 (same as Addazio).
NC State/Doeren: 10-14 (3-9 first year)
Syracuse/Schafer: 10-15 (3-9 second year)
Texas Tech/Kingsbury: 12-13 (4-8 second year)
Arkansas/Bielema: 9-15 (3-9 first year)
Kentucky/Stoops: 7-17 (2-10 first year)
That's three coaches who went over .500 among P-5 schools with coaches starting in '13. One was Gus Malzahn, who went to the national championship game last year. One was Mark Helfrich, who received an elite championship-caliber program under the Christmas tree from Chip Kelly (right next to the box marked "NCAA Sanctions"). One was Steve Addazio. Kliff Kingsbury would've been .500, but Texas Tech lost a bowl game last year. At least he's dreamy.
Now consider the competition. BC played seven bowl eligible teams in 2013 (not including their actual bowl game), including two that went to BCS bowl games. This year, they played nine bowl eligible teams (not including their bowl game), including one who went to the College Football Playoff.
This is the potential last stop for Addazio.
At 55 years old, Addazio's in the window of a crucial career choice. Paul Chryst, 49, only spent a couple of years at Pittsburgh before going back to Wisconsin. He replaced Gary Anderson, 50, who left for Oregon State. Jim McElwain, 52, took the job at Florida after cutting his teeth with Colorado State. Charlie Strong made the jump from Louisville to Texas at 53. Every single one of these guys lived the life of a traveling assistant before landing at a job somewhere around the same age bracket.
Addazio's window for the final jump is slightly closing. By extending him, BC ensures his status of their program until he's pushing 60 years old. Coaches at or near 60 (Les Miles, Nick Saban, Kirk Ferentz , Paul Johnson) aren't really going anywhere. Locking Addazio up until that bracket assures his status with them unless something goes horribly, horribly wrong.
Steve Addazio Really Believes in Boston College
Instead of asking why BC offered an extension, let's ask why Addazio took it if he's being mentioned to Michigan, Florida, or any other big-name school.
In multiple radio interviews, hosts asked me how it feels knowing our head coach will depart to go take the Michigan job or the Florida job. While I'm convinced Addazio wants to stay here, where there's smoke there's fire, and I'm sure these schools are putting out feelers to check on his availability.
That puts pressure on Boston College to hold onto a coach who effectively changed the entire culture surrounding the football program. Everyone recognizes Addazio's success came with a bunch of guys who are a) not his players and b) derided for their youth or lack of talent. That puts pressure on BC to avoid losing him.
By staying, all the Addazio-to-wherever talk vanishes; it's now way too expensive to buy out his contract. It also means he really sees BC as a challenge and opportunity to do something unheard of. He really does see this place as a place to challenge Florida State and Clemson, a place built on tradition and honor and grit and all that other stuff he talks about. If he can do it here, it's something so rare, so awesome, and so legendary.
Addazio's restored BC's football image and (possibly) then some.
This last point is a little bit more of a stretch, but it builds upon a point made by AJ on Tuesday's radio show. Programs are able to bounce back from scandals and sanctions a hell of a lot easier if they're a team that has national recognition.
Penn State is currently handling the blows dealt by their sanctions yet they still field home attendances more than 100,000 and are back in a bowl game. Florida State had an academic cheating scandal that stripped them of 10 scholarships back in 2007, yet less than a decade later they're national champions and holders of a 23-game winning streak. Butch Davis took over Miami in 1995 with the threat of major sanctions, losing something like 24 scholarships. After a 5-7 record in 1997, they were national champions five years later.
Frank Spaziani took a then-respectable Boston College program and drove it into the ground. His seasons got progressively worse, and by the time he was fired, the Eagles had mired themselves in low attendance and poor results. They weren't a good football team. When BC hired Addazio, we were just hoping he could one day build this team back to being competitive. Two years in, he's gone 7-5 in back-to-back years as part of a long rebuilding process arguably tougher than those other schools listed.
BC's lost by three scores or more four times in three seasons during the Addazio era. Three of those losses came in his first year (to USC, North Carolina, and Arizona). This year, BC lost by three scores to only Louisville (and only trailed 20-13 after the third, a stark contrast from '13). Spaz's teams lost by three scores seven times in his last two years, including an obliterating loss to Central Florida and not including the three-point loss to Army.