Saturday, October 01, 2011

Arguments you'll hear for keeping Spaz

In the coming weeks you'll hear multiple reasons to keep Spaz. Let's start looking at the predictable arguments and see what really makes sense.

"We can't afford another coaching change right now"
Of all the excuses, this might be the worst. Spaz has four years left on his contract. I don't know what the buyout figure but assume the worst and say that BC would owe his full salary for the remaining years and the total is more than $4 million. And let's say a new credible coach will cost us at least another $1 million annually. That might mean a $5.5 million salary outlay for BC football next year. The money at risk by not making a change could be in that same ballpark. Do we expect an uptick in ticket sales next year with Spaz? Do we think merchandise and gameday revenue will go up? Will donors be clamoring to write checks to see more Spazball? Plus $5 million is not the end of the world. We can negotiate a deferred payment plan for Spaz for when the new ACC TV money comes in and I do think some of BC's big donors will step up to get rid of him now. Waiting until it is more economically feasible to fire Spaz is short-sighted. Because we will lose games and revenue in 2012 and have a longer road back to competitiveness.

"It will kill recruiting for a long time."
Those who argue this say that other schools will recruit against us saying that the new head coach who recruits BC targets "won't be there long-term." Negative recruiting happens everywhere. If the opposing coaches are not calling out BC for a coaching changes, then they are probably criticize all the losing. As with all negative recruiting, you just have to have an answer for the attack. A good salesman will find 25 kids each year to play at BC.

"We are so close to breaking through"
I have felt that myself. I see glimpses of things from some of the young players that has me believing. But I think there are some fundamental issues at hand coaching-wise that I think will prevent any real breakthrough. Our offensive line is lost. While they are losing some one-on-one battles I think much of the problem is coaching. As the announcers plainly pointed out yesterday, there are plays where the guys don't know who they should be blocking. Wake had a nose tackle break up a screen downfield while three BC offensive linemen let him run by them. They didn't even react. Forget about blocking him, how about just standing in his way? My faith in Spaz's ability to even manage a game is well documented. How are we going to "break through" when our coach's game management doesn't allow for much upside?

"Spaz earned the right to fix this.
Maryland kept Ralph Friedgen after a disastrous 2009 season and they bounced back with nine wins the following year. Jim Grobe went 3-9 last year and it looks like his team is on its way back. Spaz is a much different case from those two. Both had earned more time. Both had won ACC Championships. Spaz has accomplished many things while at BC but most were as Defensive Coordinator. But we are not asking him to stay on as DC and fix the defense. What sort of good will has he earned as head coach to stay on as head coach?

"It's not fair to the players"
The players want to win. Do you think they are enjoying football right now? All the rumblings indicate that Spaz has lost the team. Whatever shakeup happens, most of the guys will be glad to win and have a coach that believes in them.

"BC cannot survive this sort this sort of shake up"
When TOB took over BC, we were on our fourth coach in 8 years and had just endured the gambling scandal. Yet we recovered and he went on to lead the team for ten years. Nothing going on now is insurmountable. Stability and winning is possibly one hire away.

"Rebuilding will take longer with a new coach"
Some will say that if Spaz bottoms out this year and has gradual improvement next year and in 2013, we will be in better position to hire a good coach then. I disagree. Even if the next two years are awful under a new coach, at least you can sell fans and recruits the newness factor and rebuilding factor. That was the biggest mistake Gene made in hiring Spaz. By promoting from within, you were selling continuity. So that means as soon as the benefits and stability of continuity are gone you lose the players and fans.


Evertosmell said...

Next day's blues. Reality hits. Spaz makes a million a year then there is no way a Jesuit school will eat that salary.

How did the AD put BC in the position of giving a four year extension to a coach who was making more than he'd ever make anywhere else and there was no reason to think he'd ever leave? Spaz did not deserve the extension but because of the AD's decision we're stuck with a coach who is far from a motivational speaker and at best very average.

Someone wrote earlier we were number two in the nation four or five years ago. No we are a laughing stock. Who should take the blame for it?

Don't despair. Last year we beat Clemson 16 - 10. The stars of the game were Rettig, Harris, and Freese. We still have them. When we win this year (no way Clemson gets up for this game) what then will we say about Spaz?

I had a dream last night that an eagle swooped down from the sky and destroyed a tiger.

BCballer said...

Those aren't arguments " I'll hear " because I'm not listening!

Please God...please, tell me that part of extending Spaz was establishing some workable buyout number.

I've already dropped my season tickets...had 'em since 1981. This program has no buzz around it, and not to confuse the issue, it ain't just the losing causing this. There was no buzz/excitement in Spaz's first 2 years.

Thanks Gene.

blist said...

I know GDF is not popular, but I am still in the camp that he's been excellent for BC (but I wasn't a Gladchuk fan for the last half of his reign). Sure he has pulled a big rock with canning Jags and hiring Spaz, but he's got to realize if he has any hope of staying on he has to make a change after this season. This type of uninspired play and losing can bring in some ugly elements a la Henning. THAT is what we can't afford.

John B said...

What really kills recruiting is a bunch of bad seasons in a row.

ObserverCollege said...

One other comment you will hear from the "critics" is that somehow Coach Spaziani only stayed when TOB left because his wife didn't want to leave the area. In fact, Coach Spaziani has shown his family that football comes first. Just last summer, his child had a Little League game that conflicted with the ACC Coaches' meetings. Coach Spaziani told his wife that he would check in for a few hours at the meetings, before he blew off the remaining two days so that he could attend the Little League game. If she didn't like it, too bad.

Same thing with when friendly media personalities reach out to Coach Spaziani. Fact is, the media work on deadlines, and coaches have to respond. Wives need to understand that skipping out on film work or recruiting calls or practice is one thing, but blowing off the media is something else. If Coach Spaziani has an opportunity to explain the failures of Coaches Bible or Jagodzinski, as a confidential source of course, then he has to take them. If he tells a friendly writer that he can't talk until after he takes out the garbage for his wife, what's going to happen? That writer might go to Jagodzinski and give him an opportunity to respond. If you're going to get your viewpoint out there and avoid a counterbalance, you've got to give the media personality what he needs, when he needs it.

So, you know, don't believe the revisionist history that Spaz stayed at BC for family reasons. The talking point is that he stayed out loyalty, and rescued our program in its darkest days. He deserves a full 5-year extension so he can get his people in to fix Jagodzinski's mess.

mod34b said...

AtL. Other than Observer College (spoof king), contrarians and some knuckleheads, I don't think anyone is coming to defend Spaz.

Really, who would be uttering any of these flimsy arguments?

hsk said...

as Coach Spaz brilliantly pointed out "We are close but we are far away"

Patrick said...

The only reason to keep Spaz is the following: if we fire Spaz, but Gene stays on to hire his replacement, our list of potential HC candidates will be artificially limited by Gene's horrid reputation. He'll pick poorly from that list and we'll be in the same exact position two years from now.

If we fire Spaz and keep Gene, we do not measurably improve the situation. Treat the disease, not the symptom.

JBQ said...

From an accounting standpoint, it was a wise move to move up Spaziani to stabilize a rocky program. However, you then "make someone prove" themselves and be rewarded accordingly. The maneuver of extending Spaz for four years on a shaky platform just does not make sense from this perspective. Jags was "sent on his way" from a five year contract because he violated a "gentleman's agreement" to not look elsewhere for at least three years. I would say that he violated the trust given him. However, the accounting nightmare associated with Spaziaini goes back to the person who instigated it. GDF must be held accountable. However, he now has "chits" in hand with WPL over the coup of bringing in Pitt and the Orange. I guess that it is time for the I.R.S. (Irish Revenue Service) to intervene. Has anyone considered the possibility that BC is pulling an "Iran-Contra" in regard to the interview controversy with the I.R.A. library issue. Maybe, there is money here being transposed to a "coach payoff fund". Just a note of levity! Go BC! Tim Russert lives!

Knucklehead said...

Never ever said Spaz should stay. Read closely.

There is no way Gene is getting fired based on the football program, in the forseeable future. He gave the President a job for life and the University 10's of millions of dollars in Television revenue. He playing with house money but it will be nearly half gone afte Spaz is fired. That being said his next head football coaching hire will make or break him as the AD.

He needs to hire the correct person. He will need to pay them 1.5-2 million per. He may stick with Spaz because the absolute best fit is not available after this year, don't be surprised. Gene knows he cannot mess this up.

The next coach needs to be able to relate to players and more importantly their PARENTS. When think about why TOB was successful it was because the parents trusted that their kids wouldn't end up on the street, in rehab, or in the newspaper. That is why Willie Green, BJ Raji, Will Blackmon, the Hasselbecks, Nick Larkin, etc went to Boston College. Things haven't changed that much in football. Effort, studying, above average talent and coaching still win games. We just to find someone who can gain the trust of recruits and their parents that the coaches and program want to whin and want the best for their kids. The school sells itself to the athletes we need to be successful. All the head coach needs is a positive attitude(no necessarily upbeat)and credibility.

Speaking of credibility . . .
Aside: Saw Father Monan walking around campus incognito after the Duke game. He managed the Universty with class and dignity for years. Although I graduated from BC during the Leahy years I was around the school alot during the end of the Monan era. The school was at its best then. The current regime needs to refocus on recruiting student from the NE and Mid West who really want to go to BC and not just the students with the Best numbers. F. Monan knew this better than anyone.

canttakeit said...

While continuing to focus on Gene. Losing 2 baseball coaches-that team is no horrible-both basketball coaches the football disasters we have forgotten the woman's hockey coach fiasco. These are all minor when compared to football, but still he can't hire coaches. Now, it is not even a matter of if he is capable of picking a coach, it is a matter of what coach will want to come here with his reputation for meddling.

Until Gene goes nothing will get fixed.

We will also be dealing with this during the winter. Not that Donahue is as bad as Spaz, but the the whole Skinner thing was handled so poorly. When do you see a team get that wiped out with defections after a coaching change. In both situations you see prodcutive seniors transfer for their last year of eligibility.

I don't think the kids have any faith in the leadership.

EL MIZ said...

canttakeit, also forgot to mention that former skinner assistant ed cooley was interviewed for the BC job but passed over for donahue. cooley landed at providence and has one of the top (if not the #1) recruiting class for next year headed to providence. if BC struggles and providence manages to impress, there will be talk that Gene messed up that hire as well.

to me, two things will determine when spaz goes:
a) who is available? if there is someone gene thinks he can get, i don't think he'll hesitate to pull the trigger because he really needs to not screw the next hire up.
b) how bad do we really finish? we are 1-4 right now, and i would not be surprised if we lose out. how do you keep spaz around if you lose out? its just not feasible. ticket sales and recruiting would both plummet for next season with the same crew around.

that being said, we were 2-5 last year with zero momentum and spaz managed to finish 7-6. if spaz can win a big game (ND, score an upset, etc) that may give gene an excuse IF he isn't impressed with any of the coaches on the market.

i don't think Gene is going anywhere, so those saying that BC is going to clean house are wrong. Gene has made the school a lot of $$$ and he checks the academic boxes that are important to the higher-ups. also, we are competitive in some of the lesser known sports, which has to count for something.

Lenny Sienko said...

I fear that all of us are under estimating the obstinacy of Fr. Leahy, GDF, and Spaz,

Fr. Leahy was put in place by the Jesuit "powers-that-be" to be conservative enough to deflect any criticism from the church hierarchy about "liberal" Catholic colleges. His mission is to make certain BC lines up with doctrine; e.g., putting Crucifixes back in classrooms. Fr. Leahy came from colleges with no football program and he has little interest in BC football, other than seeing that it is morally correct.

GDF would rather be "right than President". If you need proof, please review the Jags debacle, together with what happened to the women's BB coach. His insistence on a multi-year extension for an undeserving Spaz is at the root of our current problems. GDF is not one to admit mistakes-directly or indirectly.

Spaz has no where else to go. One must assume he would rather lose and collect a full salary, than leave and collect a lesser financial settlement. I expect to see more assistants being offered as sacrifices and more players leaving. Its not a coincidence BCcan't stop the bubble-screen without the two veteran starting defense backs who left the program.

Bottom Line: never, ever think that these three won't keep on losing. Assumptions that Spaz is gone are overly optimistic. Fantasies of GDF retiring are just that. Thinking Fr. Leahy is concerned about losing really fails to understand how he sees his role as President.

I hope I am wrong; but I fear we are in for years more Spaz, dissension, losing, and the complete and utter destruction of the football program.

Joe said...

Anyone who would make any of those arguments is clueless. When we go 1-11 or 2-10, that will kill recruiting worse than a coaching change would. We are not even close to breaking through. Spaz has a 14-15 record against FBS teams, and rapidly getting worse. Letting this dolt stay on the sidelines isn't fair to the kids, either. Finally, on rebuilding, if you knew your program had to be reconstructed from the ground up, would you give the job to someone new with exciting ideas or the guy who burned it to the ground in the first place?

I'm tired of the excuses. Fire Spaz now.

And to the first commenter, I really hope you were joking about us beating Clemson. They are much better than last year and we are worse.

walter said...

Lenny, Good points but two clarifications:

* WPL was selected by BC's Board of Trustees, not the Jesuit order. BC's Board was laicized in the 1970's, effectively ending the SJ's control of the university. BC is "Jesuit" only to the degree its Board members want it to be. Currently Jesuits make up 7 (out of 53) members of the Board.

* WPL didn't "put Crucifixes back." He put them in classrooms and other places that had never had them in the first place. When I was a BC student (during the Joyce presidency), there were no Crucifixes in classrooms. Today they are omnipresent even in buildings built subsequent to my graduation (e.g. the large one in the lobby of O'Neill Library, which seems to have replaced the portrait of Tip O'Neill).

Lenny Sienko said...


BC may have a lay Board of Trustees, but I'll believe they call the shots when a non-Jesuit is named President and they repudiate Ex Corde Ecclesiae.

The Crucifixes were in the classrooms, at least in Gasson, when Fr. Michael Walsh was President.

JBQ said...

Gonzaga now has a non Jesuit president. The Jesuits are running out of men. Reality dictates that eventually this will have an effect on BC as well. WPL represents the "Man on the crucifix". That is why BC football is different. Football is an extension of the Ignatian philosophy which is under attack both from within and without.