Alright, this isn’t so much the “Steve Addazio was bad for BC” piece I was supposed to write, but instead more of a “Steve Addazio never belonged and never tried to” article. Sorry, Laura.
What feeling do you get when you meet a stranger and find out they also went to BC?
For a campus as small and close as Boston College (sorry, Newton folks), Steve Addazio never bothered to win over the hearts and minds of one of the most important groups of people. We, the people, the fans, the student body were not on his mind; the media who he obsessed over, yes, but not the rest of us. For that, Daz was always doomed. Seven wins, .500, bringing the program “back” (debatable), aside, he was never the right guy for the job.
Sure, as a college football coach, who’s to say it’s in the job description to make nice with the community. But I say it’s half the battle, and the college part especially means a whole lot at a place like BC, where the greater community means so much. For someone relatively unknown and obscure, without a great degree of success, this bears even more significance. He should have tried to shake some hands and kiss a baby or two, or at least make an appearance literally anywhere else on campus.
Seriously, apart from College Gameday or maybe the freshman week pep rally thing, can you recall one instance you saw him on Middle Campus or Lower? Even if you did, is he really the kind of guy you would want to shout out or take a picture with? Now I know much of my readership probably didn’t go to BC during the Daz-era, except for my loyal pals, but the point still stands. I remember seeing Brad Bates at the Plex, Martin Jarmond is seemingly everywhere on campus at once (and it’s all on Twitter), and even Jim Christian or Erik Johnson could be seen moseying around campus if you could tell them apart. I even remember seeing Jerry at Hillside once, and he’s earned the right not to have to make appearances anywhere. But not Steve Addazio. He sat from his watchtower in Yawkey and couldn’t care less to show face.
Addazio took the BC look-away to a whole new level. You never even saw him or if you somehow made contact, then all you got was a stare down that probably made you run the other way. That, or you probably just look away-ed him yourself.
I worked about a hundred feet away from the guy throughout college, and my interactions consisted of a lot of him ignoring me, looking at me either angrily or confused (it was hard to tell), a whole lot of brooding, and a really awkward conversation in the bathroom the first week on the job in his own first season. The general culture on the third floor of Yawkey was never all that great. He could smile with recruits and their families, but to everyone else, well, it wasn’t the greatest look. It’s a stark contrast to literally every other person on the staff. This isn’t a tell-all and it’s not really news to many people, but what I’m pointing out is that this was just a microcosm of Addazio’s attitude to the rest of campus and the rest of the community, and that doesn’t really work here, and especially not in the current age.
I think back to the positivity and vibrancy around campus on that first day of spring, when the new grass is laid down and you’re struggling to find a spot on the quad. Steve Addazio was the antithesis to this feeling, and he never really fit in. I just feel like we need a coach with a personality that remotely fits the school more.
The weirdest thing is that he did have some relatively fun moments. Who could forget ‘Guys being dudes’ or ‘Salt-bae’? Heck, we even slapped his face on a turkey once (much to his dismay) for a recruiting flyer during Thanksgiving. The thing about these moments is he couldn’t have been more reluctant if he tried because god forbid he showed that side to the masses.
Perhaps he felt that he could rely on results on the field to avoid having to really lay any groundwork. But with so little to show, he did himself no favors by not winning over public perception, and there was next to no one left in his corner by the end. The fire Addazio birds were out in full force probably by year four in earnest and only compounded from there on out. There were literally stickers of “Fire Addazio” passed around amongst students on that fateful, miserable, rainy loss to Syracuse to close out the 2016 season. Maybe we reached a point of no return really quickly and he was just fed up with all the noise around him. If anything, that’s more reason as to why he never belonged.
The next head coach should have some qualities that remotely embody the good things about Boston College. That doesn’t mean they have to be an alumni, and that definitely doesn’t mean they have to be positive all the time. There are plenty of hard-nosed, football guy coaches out there, but there are just as many community builders and personalities too. It depends a lot on where you coach. We need someone with real energy around them. Students should have some interest when they seem him around. And they should be seen. (And they don’t need to be so needlessly curt after every question asked of them by the media unless they’re Belichick or Pop).
I don’t know, maybe this isn’t fair. Maybe this shouldn’t matter at all. It probably doesn’t. All I’m saying is he really could have smiled one time when he saw my beautiful face. But actually he could have bothered to acknowledge the average Joe. People obviously rooted for him early on, but he gave them no reason to continue.
The next head coach should be able to make people genuinely excited and happy to see them. That’s the idealized version of the kind of place we are.