Monday, January 05, 2009

Airing dirty laundry; Cutting off your nose…

I am already getting questions about my criticism of Gene and being asked why I am not more critical of Jags. I’ll let it all play out before coming down one way or another. My loyalty and interest first is to BC the institution and the players who are caught in the middle. Long after Gene and Jags are gone, BC will still be there and most of the kids in that locker room will be Boston College alumni. They are the ones getting screwed.

But this is why I am frustrated with our Athletic Director and not really mad at our head coach…

The Job and Loyalty

Boston College is not a final destination job. Few jobs in any sport are. You have to be in a great spot with great support not to look elsewhere. Even if you win at unprecedented levels, fans, owners, alumni, and players get tired of the same old, same old. In my experience most coaches have thin skin and rabbit ears too. They want to be appreciated and adored and compensated. So the nature of the profession is for them to flirt with other jobs. They are people just like us and often get sucked in to the seemingly greener grass. I bet Bob Stoops and Urban Meyer will both be mentioned for NFL jobs and despite their current riches and security, both will listen. It’s ego. It’s economics. It’s the nature of the beast.

That being said, why should we expect Jags to act any differently? After TOB’s first winning season, he got involved in the North Carolina job and subsequently floated his name and/or interviewed every offseason.

I would love to have a BC lifer…our own Bobby Bowden or Joe Paterno. But those situations are rare. If we cannot have a lifer, I have no problem being a grooming stop for young, up and comers, like Coughlin and Jags and even TOB. Heck, the position becomes that much more attractive to bright young coaches if they know they can go to BC and then move onto the NFL.

I know that Jags has passed on other college jobs since he has been at BC. Although he would never say anything publicly like this, I think he would only leave BC for an NFL job. That should have been obvious to Gene when he hired an NFL guy.

Contracts, Negotiation, and Leverage

I don’t care if Jags had an iron-clad contract that forbid him from even watching an NFL game. The reality of the industry is that these contracts are rarely enforced and never successfully used as implements to block someone from taking another job (see Rich Rodriquez, see Bobby Petrino, etc.) Gene knows this. So Gene has choices when situations like this arise.

1. Renegotiate and give Jags more money
2. Let him talk and potentially walk

Instead he picked the nuclear option of an ultimatum. What good can come of that? You either lose your coach or keep him and have him resent you and the job. There is no coming back from an ultimatum. Even now these two might publicly save face, but do you think things will be rosy between them. Their Friday golf outings might be off for a bit..dontcha think?

Letting it go public

This is my biggest problem. Regardless of where the leak came from, it got out. Now BC has a PR nightmare that will hurt the current recruiting class, ensure short term instability and make finding a good new coach that much more difficult as long as Gene is still Athletic Director. This is not a baseball coach or a women’s basketball coach. Hardball was the wrong way to go. Gene has played his cards right in the past (ACC expansion, Cathy Inglese, TOB, the first coaching search). He may come out of this even better for it, but I am not optimistic. Even when things are going wrong, the AD should do his best to keep it all behind closed doors.

My opinion

BC should have let Jags talk to the Jets and let this thing play out. I love Jags, but everyone is replaceable. BC is a great place and should be a great job. We could have found another good coach. Handling it in this way burned bridges and made the school look bad.

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14 Comments:

At 9:45 AM, Blogger babyHyland said...

The bigger question remains: Why would Jags risk losing his first head coaching position for a NFL job that he has virtually no chance at landing? The Jets are NOT going to hire him.

Also to note is that the reporter, Chris Mortenson, has been oftentimes totally wrong on "scoops" regarding the NFL over the last year...he was way off with the Favre saga, has been wrong on coach picks, etc. Let's all wait and see how this plays out.

The telling thing is GDF's comments to the Herald and Globe late last night...he basically said to call Jags to get a statement and that it was on him. Weird.

 
At 9:49 AM, Blogger Eagle65 said...

I agree with E in A. Gene may not be the easiest guy to work for given rumors about his relationship with so many other BC coaches.

 
At 9:53 AM, Blogger Michael said...

I don’t care if Jags had an iron-clad contract that forbid him from even watching an NFL game. The reality of the industry is that these contracts are rarely enforced and never successfully used as implements to block someone from taking another job (see Rich Rodriquez, see Bobby Petrino, etc.).
__________________________________

I am really disappointed in this statement by Eagle in Atlanta and hope you will reflect on it. Gene is doing what society calls for, yet people rarely do it.

Wall Street, mortgage brokers and a bunch of others have recently had similar attitudes.

I hope the guy occupying the White House in late January comes from the same belief and value system as Gene D.

Forget the North Carolina victory, I am really proud of BC and Gene D today if the reports turn out true about Jags and his contract.

 
At 9:57 AM, Blogger ATL_eagle said...

Michael:

I would love everyone to honor their contracts too. But Gene works in a dirty, shark infested industry. He knows that and has done what he has to do in the past (see how he handled the Big East thing). For him to draw a line in the sand for this was short sighted.

 
At 10:00 AM, Blogger BlockParty said...

for what its worth, on mike and mike this morning, golic said the following.

"what good are these college contracts if a coach can get up and leave at any point. it was a matter of time before a college stood up for themselves."

its not a bad point. i understand both sides. i thought more highly of jags. unfortunately bc as an athletic department looks bad.

 
At 10:04 AM, Blogger j.ryan said...

There's equal blame to go around here. I agree with atleagle that the public ultimatum is a policy of last resort. But in the end, Jags made his own bed here. BC has to protect the program and can't have a revolving door at the head coaching position. IF Jags' contract had a "3-year no-NFL" clause (which I think BC should include with EVERY coaching hire) then it's a fireable offense. As for coaching - did ok with good inherited talent, but Davis was NOT ready and somebody should have been ready to step in. Also, Jags is not doing well at all as a recruiter... strike 3. There's only one ugly finish to this so end it quickly.

 
At 10:10 AM, Blogger TBSBC03 said...

I agree with you on most of this, ATL, but the "letting it go public" seems pretty clearly on Jags. This is coming from Mortenson, who certainly has a relationship with Jags from his 10 years as an NFL assistant. It's just not plausible to me that Gene leaked this.

That said, I don't begrudge Jags interviewing for the job for the reasons listed above. I do have an issue with him burning the house down on his way out.

 
At 10:13 AM, Blogger ATL_eagle said...

I can't confirm where the leak came from but I don't believe it was Jags. First it looks like they got the Logan part wrong. Second, what does Jags have to gain by leaking? The leak effectively ended his employement.

 
At 10:18 AM, Blogger Eagle1 said...

Bill:

I remain unconvinced and stand firmly with Gene on this one.

First, I strongly disagree that BC is not a final-destination job. There was a time that a NFL coaching position was leaps-and-bounds a superior gig to that of an NCAA football coach. Not so any more. Look at all of those high-profile coaches who have tasted the NFL and returned to the NCAA. This is what Jags faces:

a. Money: What is Jags making per year? $1M+? That only would increase over time, and substantially so. Even in a crappy economy, NCAA football coaches are seeing their salaries go through the roof. One may get more money in the NFL in the short term, but lifespans in the NFL are comparatively short. In college, at most schools, if you maintain a winning record and occasionally send your team to even a crappy bowl, you keep your job indefinitely.

b. Prestige: Is a job coaching the Jets, Browns, or Lions really that much more prestigious than coaching at BC? BC is a perennial Top-25 team. If Jags is as good as advertised, let him make BC a Top-10 team every year. The national accolades would rain down on him.

c. Intangibles. (1) Who wants to coach gun-toting pain-in-the-ass millionaire miscreants who went to Texas, USC, and FSU when you an coach a well-mannered and well-discliplined group of malleable young men at Chestnut Hill? Wasn't it Jags who lovingly said "BC guy" a thousand times over the past couple of years?
(b) Also, he's got five kids to consider, all of whom currently have a great place to live and were destined to get free rides and other benefits from BC (as we know, the youngest one gets special-needs attention at BC).

Second, I disagree that this (if it is true) becoming public is necessarily a bad thing. If anything, it shows that BC demands respect and adherence to contractual terms; It is not an institution that's going to be shit on, smile, and take it. Additionally, it helps weed out the crap for the future. If you're a coach who wants to hang at BC for a year or two and then use BC as a stepping stone to some other job, you can go fuck yourself; Don't waste our time and dick around with our program.

Three cheers for BC and Gene, I say. Go Eagles!

 
At 10:27 AM, Blogger flutie22phelan20 said...

ATL- I think your comment about "what does Jags have to gain from leaking this story" applies equally to BC. What does GDF have to gain from leaking his ultimatum?

The only answer to that, frankly, is an irrational one -- that Gene needed to show who's boss, to show who's the bigger man in this mess. Perhaps he did that and acted out of emotion and, in so doing, he put himself ahead of the school. Perhaps. But that would be out of character and waaaaaaaaay over the line -- especially coming from a veteran of the industry.

BC's image, as of right now, looks really bad. Gene looks like he forced out two very good and well-respected coaches. He had to know that would be the result of leaking the ultimatum. Did he really want that result?

Finally, let's not exempt Jags from all of this totally. He's a great coach, and surpassed all of my expectations. But when he was hired, he came into a great situation -- he inhereted a team on the cusp of serious success, with a top-3 draft pick at QB. He inhereted a D that had BC's best talent in more than a decade. It didn't take too much to be successful last year; this year a little more, but still it had to be expected at the time of the coaching hire. Jags was hired to build the program; to make up for TOB's lack of recruting for three years before he left; and to infuse excitement into a program that lacked it. He accomplished only the last element, and that is the most short-term and least important of the goals.

Finally, there's a lot of egg on a lot of faces here. Regardless of how this plays out, Gene's ultimatum never should have become public. But, just as importantly, Jags really acted in a stupid manner. He has no chance of getting the Jets job. Why seek it then? Why throw your hat in the ring when you know it hurts your college program, and sends only one signal: I am interested in any NFL opening there is, and I will pursue them even if I have no prayer of getting them. That's not a tenable position for a college coach to take. Period. Sure, it's a sea of sharks and everything else...but this wasn't Jags being lured. It was him seeking a job that he had no chance to land -- as soon as that became public, he had to back off as fast as possible.

 
At 10:31 AM, Blogger babyHyland said...

E in A...PLEASE address the very real probability that Jags has no chance at this job under any logical circumstance.

What are your theories? Does Jags think the program is in for a downward spiral? Are the last of TOB's recruits hurting his future?

 
At 10:49 AM, Blogger Boyd said...

On the "no such thing as bad press" front, BC is currently 2 of the top 3 headlines on ESPN.

 
At 11:02 AM, Blogger Rob said...

I know that blogs are essentially there for in-the-heat-of-the-moment reactions, but can we just wait a few hours before we start screaming for Gene's or Jagz' head. We have no idea what is really going on behind the scenes.

 
At 11:11 AM, Blogger The Advocate said...

Something tells me Gene may have allowed this to happen had Jags gone about this the right way. When the news about Jags interviewing/ being a possible candidate for the Jets job he denied it and BC said they had not been contacted by the Jets seeking permission to talk to a BC employee under contract. Although its all speculation, it really looks like Jags got caught in a lie. Liars have no place at BC. I'm sorry but its the truth. You want to interview for the job? Be a man and ask your boss. Honor you contract. Just be upfront about it.

Now if Jags was honest from the begining and Gene felt the need to flex his muscle. Shame on him, then the fault is squarely on his sholders.

That said, Gene strikes me as a practical guy, he knows Jags had basically no shot at the job- why not let him go and do the interview? Its networking if anything and there is no harm in that. Also, it looks good for BC if the long shot young head coach from BC actually does get it. Makes the HC job at BC all the more attractive to ambitious talented coaches.

In short, to me it looks like this all could have been avoided. Something went down behind closed doors we will probably never hear about. We all liked Jags because he loved BC like we do and seemed genuinely excited to be here. Also he provided a nice fresh approach to the game. That will be missed. However, its time to move forward.

 

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