Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Addazio and Colorado State did BC a favor

Colorado State hired Steve Addazio Wednesday. I don't think it is a fit for either, but let them figure it out. But Addazio's hiring is great news for BC.

1. It reduces BC's obligation to Addazio. Addazio's buyout didn't prohibit BC from making a move and now we will get even more relief. Because BC is private, we won't know the official numbers, but multiple people say there is a provision to reduce the buyout if he is hired by another school.

2. He is very unlikely to recruit against BC. If Addazio ended up at Rutgers or UConn or even Florida Atlantic, he would have crossed paths occasionally with BC on the recruiting front. Regardless of what you think, the guy can recruit. Colorado State is a very different sell and in a very different geographic footprint. Recruiting against Addazio will not be an issue.

3. It makes the BC job look that much better. Some jobs are considered coach killers in that once you leave you'll never get a head coaching job again. BC is not. We just gave him seven years and he was able to leverage that body of work into another job.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

All good things to those who wait

BC fans are getting antsy because we haven't named a new coach. Our last football search took nine days and gave us seven years of .500 ball. Do we want that again? The truth is there was never any need to rush. This was a relatively slow coaching carousel and we had no real competition for the type of job we are offering nor the type of candidate we want. Luke Fickell was the only name associated with our job who was also floated for the other openings. All those openings are filled and Fickell is still with Cincy. We didn't need to rush him or bid against others.

Why is it taking this long? Aside from the obvious targets being tied up with Championship games last weekend, there were also NFL people to talk to. That carried into this week.

In the meantime, a few names have entered the transfer portal and Dillon declared for the NFL Draft. Dillon declaring happens regardless of the coaching change. The transfers are typical for a coaching change. You don't rush these sorts of things to appease a few guys on the roster. A head coach's impact is much bigger and with a school much longer than a few players. It is important to name a coach before Signing Day but that is still more than a week away.

In the end this has been a more thorough process than our last football searches. I remain optimistic that BC will hire a good coach. For now, we continue to wait.

Monday, December 09, 2019

RIP Peter Frates

Former BC Baseball player Peter Frates passed away Monday after his long battle with ALS. I did not know Frates, but to say he was beloved by the BC Athletics community would be an understatement. His battle with ALS inspired many and he was the driving force in the Ice Bucket Challenge which led to unprecedented fundraising for ALS. His work and sacrifice will hopefully lead to a cure.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

What I know and what I think

Things have been relatively quiet on the coaching search front. Most of what you are hearing is speculation. For the first time that I can remember, BC fans have gotten into the flight tracking game and it appears there was a flight earlier in the week that went to Cincinnati. That would make sense as it would allow Jarmond and his small crew of BC folks to talk to Luke Fickell, Jeff Hafley and potentially Al Washington. From there we have no idea where the BC crew went.

Things I know
-- There are plenty of names that at least got looked at and/or reached out that have not been posted anywhere. Also more NFL names than people realize. I know some are concerned about the NFL and the signing period, but many coaches have made the transition and usually an NFL team will let the coach recruit while still finishing out the NFL season.
-- There has been lots of discussion of salary among BC fans. BC has enough to pay a new coach. The challenge is always do we pay enough for the coaching and support staff. Supposedly that has been addressed and will not be an issue with the new guy.
-- Don't believe that anyone is close and could be done this week (like some have speculated). Father Leahy is not involved in the search process, but will meet with the finalists. That hasn't happened yet.
-- This is probably the best coaching cycle timing we've ever had. There aren't many openings and there is no opening even comparable to BC. Even a guy who seems to have plenty of options and zero fit with BC, like Mike Norvell, has interest. In part to get leverage but also because our job is viewed as an opportunity. It is relatively low pressure and you can win at BC. While the other jobs like Arkansas or FSU pay more, they also come with huge expectations. Even a place like Mizzou fired their .500 coach after four years. We gave Addazio seven.

Army coach Jeff Monken's name floated up Wednesday. Monken has done well at West Point, but he would not even come close to Jarmond's idea of a retool vs a rebuild. Going to option football would be a total revamp. And if Monken ditched the option, then you are taking a big risk that he can adapt from the scheme he has built his entire career on. I doubt he gets the job.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Buckle Up: Coaching Search 2019!

Addazio is gone. Gunnell is the interim. Jarmond is leading a search. That's what everyone knows. This is what I've been told.

The writing was on the wall a long time ago. But things have been falling apart behind the scenes since the Kansas game. You saw testiness from the staff online and even behind closed doors (an alleged assistant fight). Addazio didn't know if he would be fired for certain, but that was the rumor going around the team after Notre Dame. BC also granted Rutgers permission to talk to Addazio, so that also sent a message. 

While they could have gone in many different ways with the staff, Gunnell was a relatively safe pick. He can focus on recruiting between now and the bowl (mostly keeping verbals committed) and let the coordinators get ready for the bowl game. He is well liked by all and will be a very likely candidate to stay on with the new coach. 

The Search
Lots of names have been floated by Feldman and Thamel. Most are predictable and are close to what I have heard. The only name that I think will get a real look that wasn't floated out by those two is Bret Bielema. While there have been feelers and guys who have been reached out to, nothing is even close to being done and no one has had a formal interview. That will start soon (probably later this week). Father Leahy has traditionally been a Wild Card in these events with regards to budgets and approvals, but supposedly he is truly going to let Jarmond run the show (see the wording in the press release).

The Al Washington stuff is pure gossip or speculation. Al might end up being the guy, but this wasn't predetermined and it certainly won't be decided early this week. The Al/Don Brown package is also not a thing. 

If I were betting, I would predict Jeff Hafley but this process never settles on the first hot name (see Mark Whipple, Jack Bicknell Jr or Bob Diaco).

Steve Addazio

When he was hired I said Addazio would turn out to be a "rah rah" version of TOB. He never even did that. The coach deserves our thanks for rebuilding after the Spaz disaster, but we had passed the time to move on. BC can be great and can certainly be better than we've been. It is up to Martin Jarmond and our new coach to get us there.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Now what?

Before I start, as a reminder, this will be a decision between Martin Jarmond and Father Leahy. Everything you hear or read on twitter or message boards is gossip or speculation. I don't know what Jarmond is thinking. I do know that he does have to sell his decision to Father Leahy. Firing a bowl-bound coach makes a lot of sense to many of us. I have no idea if it makes sense to our president.

Here are some things that are not speculation. I think all are relevant:
-- Addazio's current deal and buyout are very manageable. 
-- Rutgers has permission to talk to Addazio, however, reports out of New Jersey say that Rutgers and Schiano are close to a deal.
-- Many agents think the job will open. 
-- Many BC staffers think a change is coming.
-- Many players think a change is coming.

Speculation from me
I think Jarmond wants to make a change. He knows the team has underachieved the past two seasons. He also knows that he will need to make a major hire for his own resume. However, the basketball situation complicates things. I don't know if Jarmond has the political capital or the desire to change both coaches in the same school year. If he is justifying a change, Christian is the easier decision (and he also has a BC-friendly buyout). 

If a change is made, it will be soon. BC won't know its bowl status for a week and is guaranteed a spot via the ACC. It doesn't need Addazio to get invited to a bowl. 

I am going to say there is a change coming but I am just guessing.

Friday, November 29, 2019

The tricky balance of "fit" when making a coaching hire

Fit is very important in college football. There are unique institutional and regional challenges to every job and if a coach is not prepared for those challenges, he is constantly battling up hill. For recent examples you can look at Chris Ash never connecting with New Jersey high school coaches and their recruits at Rutgers or the already awkward relationship between Joe Moorhead and the Mississippi State fanbase.

But you have to be careful when considering fit. You don't want to overlook someone just because he hasn't played or coached at your school. For me, I want someone who understands the type of challenges BC faces, but also understands how to leverage its advantages.

But the biggest trap when considering fit is limiting the search to just candidates the fans know. I write this because of the rumors that Al Washington and Don Brown are favorites to replace Addazio. I don't think this is true (for a variety of reasons). I also think it is way premature to assume anyone is the favorite. But even accepting it at facevalue, I think hiring Brown or Washington now would be a huge risk and a sign of a bad process. Are both guys beloved and respected around BC and New England? Yes. But would any other Power 5 school even have them among their final choices? No.

This is also hard for me to write but age is the biggest factor against both. Brown is too old and Washington is too young.

Brown will be 65 this summer. While he seems to have the energy of a younger man and seems to relate to young players, these jobs are a real grind that will wear even the best. Plus his age will be used against BC over and over in recruiting. Could he do it? Sure. But is he the guy to take BC to the next level? I don't think so. And I think we can do better this time around.

Washington is 35, which while young, isn't a deal breaker. But Washington's resume lacks any coordinator experience. He has never managed a game and never hired a staff. It would be a huge unknown. I like that he has been getting experience away from BC, but he still hasn't checked all the boxes.

If either of these guys are hired, they will have my support. I just don't think it is the right time for either and would be a sign that the searched prized BCness over everything else.