Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Speculating with Spaz Part 3: "He could never be fired after two years"

If you talk to enough BC fans or read the comments on this blog or on the message boards, you'll see that many are resigned to the fact that we are "stuck" with Spaz for at least another year. There is a shared belief that he could never be fired after two seasons. To those people, I ask: "are you new around here?" Cathy Inglese, Al Skinner, and Jeff Jagodzinski all won while at BC and were all dismissed when Gene felt the time was right. At most BCS schools all of those firings would have been controversial and big news. Aside from some stuff with Jags (where Gene clearly won the PR war) all of that was swept under the rug.

Now I don't think Spaz will be fired this year. I think he will be our coach next year. But you never know. Next year's home slate is not that appealing. Ticket sales are already soft. They won't get better if we are mediocre or worse this year. A new coach might give ticket sales a boost.

Football is very important to Gene and he knows more about the Xs and Os than most ADs. I think he likes Frank and will take care of him financially. But I don't think Gene is stubborn enough to let Spaz undo all the good Gene feels he built. I also think Gene wants to hire the next great BC football coach before he retires. Spaz was always a placeholder.

I think it would take a disaster season for Spaz to lose his job, but I know enough to know that Gene will do whatever he wants.


Ryan said...

Gene won the PR war with Jags? Based on what, that Jags has a crappy job now? That whole fiasco is the reason why we can't fire Spaz now and why many up and coming coaches probably won't want to come to BC.

blist said...

I don't think we need to rehash Jags. In retrospect though, GDF shouldn't have escalated though and we'd all be better off. Jags would have been gone to greener pastures by now, anyway.
I don't think that means up and comers don't want to come to BC - probably our academic hurdles (standards to you and I) have more to do with that.

Goberry said...

GDF's statements that all he wanted was a coach who would commit to BC for the long-term would dictate Spaz at least be given a year to dump his OC before being fired. No way he gets canned after his second season under any circumstance.

Big Jack Krack said...

:-) GDF's puss reflects just how we all feel right now.

We have beaten NCSU 3 years in a row (4 out of 5 with the only loss being a true TOB WTF loss in 2006) - thrice convincingly, yet we are a 9 point underdog this year with many returning starters and contributors. As they say "What's up with that?"

Well, we know the answers don't we. Let's go coaches - step it up. Give these players some positive energy for crying out loud. Coach the players you have - fit the game plan to them.

If I hear any coach bemoan the fact that they don't have the players they need to run the offense the way they want to - instead of adapting - I'll scream and head up the campaign to get the coach(es) removed.

Hello -----, how's your family? Give me your keys, and clean out your desk and locker in one hour etc - You're fired! Simple as that.

emil!!! said...

What is the legal mumbo-jumbo regarding firing offensive coordinators?

I like Spaz but despise Tranquill. Spaz is clearly a defensive coach, and I assume defers nearly all of the offensive playcalling to Tranq-- can we just get a new offensive coordinator?

I agree that firing Spaz would be premature and look terrible for the program-- and I'm not convinced that he is the reason for our offensive stagnancy. Besides, he seems to be bringing in good recruits as it is...

Big Jack Krack said...

I would be quite happy if the powers that be concentrated on Gary Tranquill as the Offensive Coordinator - as being THE PROBLEM.

If we bomb again in Raleigh, I think enough has been seen to make a change at OC.

I think Spaz needs to do that in order to preserve his own standing and goodwill.

Emil - I agree with you 100% - our first step is to replace Tranquill.

bceagle93 said...

Here's a scenario worth watching: Tom Coughlin coming back to The Heights.

Agreed that GDF sticks with Spaz thru next year (Tranquill is almost assuredly going to be a casualty after the season). If the NY Giants miss the playoffs this year, my money is on TC getting canned (Bill Cowher is looking to get back to NFL, he is their top choice). TC takes a TV job next year, decides he wants back into coaching but no NFL suitors due to his reputation as a micromanaging drill instructor.

GDF starts talking to TC, and end of next year, regardless of how the team does, pulls the trigger on Spaz and brings him back (TC left on good terms, with a program in good standing, and was very popular). He has already won a Super Bowl, so he has nothing left to prove in the NFL. Also, look at how many guys BC guys TC has drafted over the years -- he has not lost any respect for the school, and the program is in a much better position than when he left. Far fecthed?

emil!!! said...

Spaz firing Tranquill wouldn't even necessarily look bad for him. It would definitely look worse keeping him...

At the time of Tranq's hire I thought we were getting the zen master yoda of coordinators... not the sleep medicine we have to "watch" now. In fact, Tranq might have been key to last year's offense [and surprising success] in which we had 2 freshmen competing for the job-- but it just isn't the answer now.

Doornekamp! said...

Cathy Inglese and Skinner weren't fired after two years, so I don't think those examples are relevant other than to show he's willing to fire people. Jags was fired after two years, but his had nothing to do with performance. I still think there's nothing to show that Gene would pull the plug for performance-based reasons after two years. Gene was the poster-child for all things right with college athletics when he fired Jags (although I certainly didn't see it that way). If he turns around and fires a guy who was loyal for having one bad season, he would look ridiculous. Not only that, but firing two coaches in two years that he personally selected would reflect incredibly poorly on Gene as an evaluator of talent and of people. Gene has painted himself into a corner with Spaz, and I don't think he hired him as a placeholder. By the way, here's what he said when fired Jags: "We're really good friends and this is a very difficult thing to do," DeFilippo, appearing despondent, said then. "We will find somebody who really wants to be at Boston College and will be here for the length of their contract."
Not to mention the financial implications of paying someone more than anyone else at the university is making - to do nothing. Again.

Patrick said...

I realize that Leahy pays absolutely no attention to athletics --- and fails to understand even the basics of college athletics --- and that he's therefore reliant on Gene.

But Gene would have to feel awfully secure in his job to force out his third football coach in five years. Regardless of whether you think Jags did a good job at BC, he quite obviously was a poor hire because his tenure was such a short flame out. If Gene fires Spaz after two years, he will be admitting that he screwed that hire up as well.

I don't know how many ADs there are across the country who survive two unsuccessful hires in their school's flagship sport; that's what Gene will be admitting to by firing Spaz --- planting the seeds of his own exit. I don't see that happening at all unless he has some sort of implicit lifetime guarantee from the hands-off school Pres (who probably would be less than thrilled about paying the salary of 3 head football coaches next year).

matthew2 said...

Perhaps ATL or someone "in the know" can help me out here ---

a frequent comment from BC fans is that BC has "academic standards" that sometimes hinder our ability to land a big recruit. Is there any truth to that?? Do the coaches present their case to the admissions committee and get turned down on a 5-star recruit that they want to make an offer to?

Or is it just the fact that the coaches know not to recruit the "bottom of the barrel" when it comes to academics? They know how much the school will bend when considering a candidate?

It is clear that academic standards are relaxed in some cases when it comes to athletes (not all, but definitely some). Where is the line drawn?

Do we think that we would get commits from freak athletes that don't know how to read the boxscore if the school would let us?

Ry said...

The Pres is at every home football as well as many basketball games. He may not understand all the business that is under Gene's charge, but he certainly pays attention.

Big Jack Krack said...

Good discussion.

mod34b said...

Little good news via the Globe here, and troubling Herzy news (are his bones too brittle to play?)

Some good news for Boston College football fans. Freshman quarterback Chase Rettig, who sprained his left ankle in the second quarter of Saturday;s 31-13 loss to Notre Dame and didnt return, was set to take limited snaps at practice this afternoon

""I'm going to practice today and see if I can the feel back,'' said Rettig,'' and see what I can do . I hope I can play (against North Carolina State) on Saturday''
If Rettig can't go, either Mike Marscovetra or Dave Shinskie will get the call. Both took snaps with the first team in practice.
""He's come along quicker than I expected,'' said BC coach Frank Spaziani before practice this afternoon. "We'll look at on a day to day basis.''
BC linebacker MarK Herzlich broke a bone in his left hand during practice on Tuesday, but is expected to play against NC. State,

Erik said...

It smells like Conte Forum here in my office. That smell you get when you first walk in: Concrete, linoleum floors, and a strong popcorn smell.

Pavlog's Dog, I now have the Hawaii 5-0 theme in my head.

Bob B. said...

I have inside information that Rettig will start if he is healthy. If not, it will be Shinskie, and not Marscovetra starting. My sources are very accurate.

blist said...

Mathew2, see Jim O'Brien.
It's safe to say some athletes very likely would not get into BC without their skill at whatever, but BC is a very competitive place to get into (our chief rival for students is Harvard). The way I see it, admissions want kids who can make it at BC academically, include with the extensive academic tutoring etc athletes have access to. It's serious enough about it that it banned athletes from attending HHS Evening College starting in the 1980s, b/c of fears they could skirt BC standard too easily

Walter said...

Well, Bob, that amounts to pretty much that Marscovetra won't be starting under any circumstances, and if that's true, then I'll take it.

I have no confidence in him, fair or not.

blist said...

Not that we have seen much of him, but Marscovetra has regressed from last year. Is it the o-line, or coaching?
In any case starting Rettig Saturday means Spaz still has a pulse.

Alex L. said...

I agree with a previous post: Skinner and Inglese were at BC for more than 2 years, so they aren't good examples.

Everything else being equal, Gene can't fire Spaz now. It would be bad PR for Gene and BC. However, I don't buy the argument that Gene has painted himself into a corner with the Jags thing. Jags ACTIVELY got himself fired. In Spaz's case, he's a second year coach (who won in his first year) who's underperforming. Give him the rest of this year and see how things go in the offseason.

By the way, that's what I would do if I were Gene. Being a fan, I'm pretty much writing this season off unless I see some serious improvement in coaching soon. We don't even have to win next week. If I see that the coaches are serious about winning, and we just have too many bad breaks and lose, fine. As long as the overall trajectory (in coaching) is up, I can live with that. For now.

matthew2 said...

blist --

thanks for the info... being a younger alumni, I wasn't TOO familiar with O'Brien's tenure...

copied and pasted from wikipedia, if anyone else is interested...

"Academics were a strong priority throughout O'Brien's coaching career - in his first 10 years at Boston College, all 25 players who completed their eligibility also earned their degrees.
 During his final season at Boston College, O'Brien led the team to the 1997 Big East regular-season and tournament titles.

However, O'Brien began running into problems getting his recruits past the admissions office. During 1995 and 1996, at least three prospective recruits were denied admission despite easily meeting NCAA standards. When two Boston-area recruits were turned down in November 1996, O'Brien nearly resigned.[1] He ultimately left for Ohio State after the 1996-97 season and took nearly all of his players with him, including star freshman point guard Scoonie Penn.

O'Brien subsequently sued Boston College for slander and breach of contract, suggesting racial bias may have played a role in why one of his recruits was denied admission.[2]"

Dustbowl said...

Blist u say "our chief rival for students is Harvard". Ha ha !!!! good one. Not even close to accurate. Why don't u add Yale Princeton and MIT. Geez.

Big Jack Krack said...

Basketball coach (Jim) O'Brien was a small man (guard) who had no idea how to coach a big man. He had a little success at the end - but his first 8 years were terrible. How he survived after 4 or 5 is beyond me.

He also showed his smallness on his way out the door.

Alex L. said...

Harvard may not be our chief rival for applicants, but they're in the top 12. Look on page 34 of this year's BC factbook.

Notre Dame

Alex L. said...

Sorry, I should have noted that I listed those schools in no particular order.

Connor said...

This may just be me but Mark Richt is definitely gone from UGA, and I am not sure what other colleges want a head coach that is 1 and 4 with good talent at UGA. So if Tranq can't do anything this Saturday, then we should look into at least attempting to hire Richt as an offensive coordinator and seeing what he can do. Thoughts?

Bob B. said...

Mark Richt would bring a little excitement to BC, and if he brought a couple athletes and playmakers, i wouldn't say no...

mod34b said...

"On March 6, 2008 it was announced that Mark Richt had been granted a pay increase from $2.2 million per year to $2.8 million per year, making him the fifth-highest-paid coach in the SEC. His contract runs through the 2013 season. "

Unless BC can pay $3M annually, we won't be seeing Mr Richt.

blist said...

Thanks Alex L. By virtue of being in the same home state (where schools get the most applicants from), I thought Harvard was the biggest competitor - whether we win a lot of those students is another matter (as witnessed by BC's mediocre yield of accepted students)

But anyway, back to the team - Rettig is the one person who can save Spaz and the only QB we have I feel gives us a shot to win Saturday.

Dustbowl said...

Blist and Alex --

All players on the Red Sox Pawtucket minor league team want to be on the Red Sox, but few make it. The minor league players are really not competitors to the Big League players

Many applicants who are admitted to BC also apply to Harvard; few get in and probably none who get into both Harvard and BC choose BC. BC students are really not competitive with Harvard students.

Some day, maybe.....

I would say bona fide higher-end competition for BC applicants would be Tufts, ND, G'Town, Wake, UNC, UVA, Holy Cross, Bates, Trinity, Colgate, possibly Cornell, etc.

Alex L. said...

Hey guys, I'm just stating the facts as they were presented in the BC Factbook. Those are the 12 schools to which our matriculated students most likely applied (in addition to BC of course).

This is long and off-topic, but I couldn't resist.

Dustbowl, I know where you're going with this: most of the schools on this list are more prestigious than BC and therefore BC must be a safety school for most of these applicants.

However, we can't conclude that just from this list alone. We don't know if the students were accepted to these other schools or not. All we know is that the applicants took the trouble to apply both to BC and to one or more of these other schools and eventually were admitted to and enrolled at BC.

If that's the case, it's fair to say that BC attracts the same caliber of student that is also attracted to, say, Harvard or Notre Dame. We can also assume that the kind of student that is attracted to, say, Uconn or WVU is not attracted to BC. Or more accurately, BC is NOT interested in those kinds of students, because this list only includes cross-competitor applicants that were accepted to BC.

So all this tells us is that BC and Harvard compete for applications from the same pool of students. Is BC full of Harvard rejects? Maybe, but this list alone doesn't tell us that. A student who feels they have a reasonable chance of being accepted to BC also feels they have a reasonable chance of being accepted to Harvard. All in all, I'd say this list is good company for BC.

CT said...

Mark Richt? Are you kidding me? You guys gonna pony up the money to pay him? Why would he go from a Top 15 program in the country to OC at a Top 40 program? Some are starting to sound like UGA fans. Delusional.

And then there's the little matter of actually coaching. If you've seen his teams play, you'd be amazed. And not in a good way.

Spaz still has some rope left.

Emil said...

Alex L....

I know in terms of my friends (mostly all CSOMers) that they were deciding between Wharton undergrad, Georgetown, Vandy, Yale (just one), Cornell, Northwestern, C-Mellon, and USC. Pretty impressive list. Personally, I chose between BC and Tufts.

Kids go to BC who still got into Ivy's... our attraction isnt academics (although our top 10 undergrad business school is now).

Alex L. said...

Sorry guys, another super long off topic post. I'm just responding to Emil.

One thing that I did notice in parsing the meaning of that list of top-12 cross competitor schools is BC's yield. That is, the number of enrolled students as a percentage of admitted students.

In this category, BC doesn't hold a candle to some of its competitors. For example, Harvard's yield for the class of 2014 is about 75%. That means 3 out of every 4 students accepted to Harvard end up enrolling. By contrast, BC's yield is 25%! Only 1 out of every 4 accepteds ultimately decide to enroll. This means that if there are 2000 spots to fill in the freshman class, BC needs to accept 8000 applicants.

Why such a disparity? Obviously, BC is popular among college applicants at least enough to take the trouble of applying. (Harvard and BC have roughly the same number of total applicants.) Apparently, however, there is a large number of BC's accepted students who decide to go elsewhere.

BC's admissions office must have reams of data on this. One would think they could create a profile of the "ideal" applicant. By "ideal" I mean an applicant whose overall admission profile is desirable to BC and also shows that there is a good chance that they would decide to enroll if they're accepted. But apparently, BC can't or won't develop this profile, otherwise, they would not need to over-accept so much.

Maybe it's just a symptom of BC being one of the so-called "New Ivies". There are many more of these schools than the traditional elite schools. Since students must compete with their peers for places in the New Ivies, they must submit applications to s ton of schools (possibly upwards of 25 to 30, if memory serves). Not to mention these students also compete with strong applicants who are trying to get into the elite schools as well. Put that all together and you have alot of "cross pollination" as it were. In other words, a strong candidate may have equal desire and ability to be admitted to BC, Duke, Notre Dame, Georgetown and Chapel Hill. The candidate might even feel equally pleased with going to any one of these schools. But ultimately, they must choose only one. And so this is why BC must over-accept and end up with such a low yield.