The lesson of the Miracle Workers
With one losing lesson on his resume and porous recruiting class set to sign, many are wondering what sort of hole Spaz will leave for his successor. I've made the argument on message boards, twitter and in numerous conversations, that it doesn't matter what Spaz does. If BC hires the right coach, we will rebound. You only need to look at the rebuilding jobs Greg Schiano performed at Rutgers and Al Golden performed at Temple to know it can happen. Both were black holes where coaching careers went to die. But both guys saw potential and believed in themselves and turned around moribund programs.
Before I get into my blueprint for Golden and Schiano, let me state that I don't know how they will do at their current jobs. Rebuilding is different in the NFL or taking an underachieving program like Miami back to elite status. I don't know if either are the greatest Xs and Os guys. But those issues aren't relevant to BC's potential issues after Spaz.
1. Recruiting, recruiting, recruiting. Schiano and Golden both have a bit of used car salesman in them. Those sort of personas have always been a turnoff for me and other BC fans. But the reality of college football is you need the face of your program to connect to recruits, their families and their coaches. While Schiano and Golden had plenty of misses among their recruiting rosters every year and never delivered elite classes, they recruited harder and better than anyone ever did at Temple and Rutgers. As head coaches they were on the front lines and in the recruits's faces. That sets a tone. BC's next coach has to be the same way. Every coach we've hired since Henning showed a strong push on recruiting when first hired and then drifted from that focus. BC's next coach has to love to recruit and love to sell.
2. Facilities. You don't need the best facilities to win. You just need slow, continuous improvements to your facilities. You need to be able to sell recruits that "we've just done this and the really big project is coming." Spaz won't make a big deal out of it, but guys like Golden and Schiano would make our renovated weight room or the new turf seem like they were the biggest projects in Boston since the Big Dig. The momentum of those improvements shows progress and combats the coaches who say "BC's facilities are ancient." Eventually BC will have to build a permanent practice facility, but for now they just need to have an incremental upgrade each season.
3. Control. Rutgers gave Schiano total control when he was hired. They just lost a chance to hire Mario Cristobal because they wouldn't give him the same control. They feel they don't have to now. As BC fans know all to well, hiring a coach based on who he would keep on his staff is a short-sighted move bound for failure. Our next coach needs total control. That doesn't mean he can recruit anyone or doesn't have to graduate players. At BC, those things are a given. But it does mean he can hire his whole staff, set the schedule and play any style he prefers. BC's current coaches don't have those powers now.
These keys are the blueprint for a comeback but I think it is a bit of fantasy on my part. As long as Gene is making the call, no coach will be given the same latitude that Schiano and Golden were given when they changed two terrible programs.