The TOB tree is taking over the ACC
Since I've been tracking this for a while, it is time again to look back on Tom O'Brien's first staff. Now in the 12-team ACC 25% of the conference is coached by TOB's proteges. Now this sort of six degrees game can be played on many coaching staffs, but TOB deserves credit for finding these guys in 1997 and happenstance deserves a little credit for all of them ending up in one conference 13 years later.
Tom O'Brien. Relatively unknown coordinator from Virginia set to begin his first head coaching job at Boston College.
Frank Spaziani. TOB's old colleague from Navy and Virginia. Had been in the witness protection program (his own joke) coaching defense in the CFL. TOB brought him back to the States to be his first running backs coach at BC.
Al Golden. BC was Golden's first official college football job. Amazingly TOB named him recruiting coordinator too. (Can you imagine a BCS program naming a totally untested kid recruiting coordinator now?). But Golden had impressed TOB enough while a GA at Virginia to give him such a crucial role at BC.
Mike London. London had a little more experience than Golden, but it wasn't screaming "Big Time" job. He had been a position coach at William & Mary and Richmond before TOB gave him his first DIA job working as BC's defensive line coach.
Tom O'Brien. After becoming BC's all-time winningest coach, TOB left to be the head coach at NC State.
Frank Spaziani. Spaz moved from RB to the defensive side of the ball in TOB's third year. From there he shaped years of successful BC defenses before becoming the head man himself in 2009.
Al Golden. The ever ambitious Golden left BC to head recruiting at Penn State. Then it was onto UVA before becoming a head coach at Temple and now Miami.
Mike London. Like Goldon, London was certainly ambitious and made stops along the way at Virginia and the NFL. He won a national championship at Richmond and is now at Virginia.
I should also note that in 1997 TOB also gave Michigan State Offensive Coordinator Don Treadwell and former BC coach Jeff Jagodzinski their first BCS level jobs.
I don't know what it says about the ACC or TOB that all these guys got their first big break at the same time. It is also interesting to note that after building his first BC staff with young, aggressive coaches, TOB has stuck with a more mature and loyal staff since.