A JERSEY GUY: With Addazio Out at BC, Where do the Eagles Fly?

Mark Blaudschun

The official announcement will soon be made, but late Sunday afternoon the word finally filtered out of The Heights. After 7 seasons of unfulfilled accomplishments and a series of false starts which produced only average football in the high powered world of Power 5 conference football, Boston College coach Steve Addazio had been fired.

This was less than 24 hours after the Eagles had ended their regular season with a 26-19 win over Pittsburgh to finish with a 6-6 record and earn a bowl berth for the fourth time in the past five years.

At some places, and at some levels that would provide some measure of satisfaction.

At BC, where Addazio's record during his seven seasons at The Heights was 44-44, it was a symptom which BC athletic director Martin Jarmond and a shrinking base of season ticket holders could no longer tolerate.

It was time to move in a different direction, a feeling that Addazio and his staff picked up all of last week following a blowout loss to Notre Dame, which ended their hopes of breaking the .500 mark for the regular season.

The victory at Pitt, which was one of the Eagles' better overall efforts of the season, was more for show than substance. The decision had been made and you could feel it in Addazio's post game press conference, which sounded more like a swan song than a victory march.

With recruiting season starting on Sunday, BC and Jarmond must move quickly.

The first order of business was to name wide receivers coach Rich Gunnell as an interim coach for the Eagles' bowl game, which most likely will be in the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit on Dec. 26th. Michigan State would seem a logical opponent.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, they will probably have to adjust to life without their star running back AJ Dillon, who is seriously considering declaring for the NFL draft in the next few weeks-- a move which would probably mean that he will by-pass the Eagles' bowl game.

The next move will be to find a replacement for Addazio. There was serious consideration made to making a move to hire former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, who Jarmond knew from their days together at Ohio State. But the Eagles couldn't move fast enough to get Schiano, who return ed to Rutgers on Sunday.

Jarmond reportedly expressed a serious interest in another former Ohio State assitant, Luke Fickell, who has done a marvelous job as the head coach at Cincinnati the past few years.

But Fickell, who has strong Big Ten ties, has let it be known that he wants to remain in the Big Ten, perhaps at a place like Michigan State, where Mark Dantonio is nearing the end of his run.

All of which puts Jarmond in a position to make his next move as quickly as he can.

There was wide spread speculation late last week that former BC player and coach Al Washington--now the linebacker coach at Ohio State--had emerged as a leading contender as part of a package deal which would also bring back former BC defensive coordinator Don Brown from Michigan, where has been part of Jim Harbaugh's staff the past few years.

That rumor was supported by some BC insiders and knocked down by others, but no one denied it was being seriously discussed.

The BC job is considered to be one of the better FBS jobs because the demands are not overwhelming--8 wins will satisfy just about everyone--and the ACC is in a down cycle, where with the exception of Clemson, it is not all that difficult to reach the upper tier.

So there will be no shortage of applicants, including assistant coaches in the NFL, who have some BC ties.

Using that criteria, expect someone like Al Golden, a former BC assistant coach and former head coach at Temple and Miami, where he won in both places, to emerge as a possible contender.

But all that was clear on Sunday night, was that the BC job was the latest open as the silly season of college football (coaching rumors) began.


Mark Blaudschun