Flash back to December 2012. Boston College Football had cratered at 2-10 and Frank Spaziani was out.
It’s impossible to fathom this now, but at the time of Spaziani’s firing, BC was just three years removed from a stretch where the team had won at least 8 games in nine straight seasons, and two years removed from twelve straight years of at least 7 wins. Forget historical quality — Boston College Football was a pretty damn solid program year after year recently.
And so, that December, despite the fact that BC had briefly become UConn, there was hope. A new coach, a fresh start, and BC could get back to the Top 25 where they belonged. Big time names like Bob Diaco and Al Golden were being floated for the job, and it was just a matter of when the splash hire would be announced.
And then — it was Steve Addazio.
As we pointed out yesterday, the Addazio announcement was totally out of left field, as Daz was mentioned early on in the hiring process but seemed to fade into oblivion as things went on and BC fan excitement consolidated around a couple big names. I for one paced my living room like a madman after the announcement yelling things at nobody in particular (but absorbed with grace and understanding by my wife, bless her) about how we had blown it with this mid-level hire.
But looking back at it now, I have to say that I regret that reaction. Yes, Addazio did end up being a mid-level hire with all those seven-win seasons. But as it turned out, the safe hire was the right call at the time. It took only a year or two for Frank Spaziani to completely lay waste to the BC football program, but building back to the same level you start at takes longer than the time it takes to send it crashing down.
Spaziani only had two truly dreadful years, and taking a big swing at a splash hire could have backfired spectacularly. The name on everyone’s mind at this point has to be Bob Diaco, who so many of us wanted at the time. Diaco would later go on to coach UConn and was quite possibly one of the biggest coaching busts in history. Had Brad Bates whiffed on this hire and picked up Diaco, we could have gone from only having two bad years to turning into the perpetual punchline that UConn is now.
But under Addazio, BC at least got back to being an average team. Hiring Steve Addazio stabilized Boston College Football at a critical moment in the program’s history. There’s absolutely something to build on now — a potential seven win season (again) would be a decent base, sure, but the roster is truly built for a great year next season, with young talent on defense and the bulk of the offense returning. There’s even a successor to AJ Dillon ready to rumble in David Bailey, and at worst the Eagles would get Anthony Brown back under center with four-star QB Sam Johnson likely pushing him for the role. There’s a ton for a new coach to work with to win immediately.
So sure, there are legitimate questions over whether Martin Jarmond took a year too long in making this decision. And all the tea being dished out by former players and BC staffers doesn’t bode well for how Daz’s off-the-field legacy will be looked at down the road. But there can be no doubt that Addazio is leaving the program much better off than he found it by immediately stopping the bleeding of a potentially program-damaging extended losing stretch, and now in a legitimately secure position with room for growth.
With a stable program, Martin Jarmond can now go out there and take a home run swing looking for a true splash hire to take BC from battling for bowls to consistently being in the Top 25 like we were just ten years ago. Addazio was not the coach to take us to that level, but he has put us in a position to make that final jump a step rather than a leap. He was the right coach for the moment and he did well in getting us back to respectability.