Boston College athletic director Pat Kraft is set to depart after just 2 years at the helm in Chestnut Hill, which is setting up football head coach Jeff Hafley to serve under his 3rd AD in just 3 years. Martin Jarmond hired Hafley before leaving within months for UCLA, then Pat Kraft actually helmed BC Athletics while Hafley coached his first 2 seasons. Now that Kraft is headed to Penn State, Hafley will have new institutional leadership once again.
For those who hope Hafley will stay at Boston College for an extended period of time, this is a troubling development. Without stable leadership in the athletics department in Chestnut Hill, there becomes much less opportunity for Coach Hafley to develop the trust and connections to Boston College that would keep him here even in the face of big-time offers.
If a school (or even NFL team) with a bigger budget and more resources at its disposal decided to approach Hafley to be their head coach, there’s not much keeping him here. BC would have to ask Hafley to turn down a higher salary and lots of resources that the Eagles just can’t offer. There certainly are coaches who have stuck by their programs like this, but their connection to the school is always deep. Without stable leadership, Hafley lacks that connection and has little reason to trust the Boston College administration to suddenly become stabile. If Hafley had a trusted AD that he could rely on for continued support, then this might be a different conversation, but he is starting over once again in 2022. And outside of football reasons, his kids are way too young to have really developed an affinity for the area and there aren’t significant personal ties for him in New England that we’re aware of.
All in all, it’s a bit silly to worry about now. Hafley first has to win some more games at BC and prove that he’s even capable of a higher-tier job. Most of us Eagles fans believe he has that capability, but he’s not getting any offers yet and other schools are going to wait and see. And when that time comes, it may be unrealistic to expect Hafley to stay here anyway. Even if Kraft was BC’s AD for the next 10 years, it’s likely that Hafley would still say goodbye to the Eagles despite the connections he could build. It’s just that another AD change makes it even more likely for this sort of Hafley departure to happen.
For now? Enjoy some Boston College Eagles football and don’t worry too much about our coach’s future. Let’s get over that 7-win curse first.