Friday, November 23, 2012
Rethinking Tom O'Brien and BC
This is probably Tom O'Brien's last regular season game. The Wolfpack are bowl eligible but most expect NC State to fire TOB or come to some sort of retirement agreement. It's somewhat poetic that his last game would be against BC. Six years ago I don't think BC or TOB would have predicted this as the end.
When he left I think BC fans, players and administrators were tired of TOB and he was tired of us. Freed from BC's limitations, TOB thought he would make NC State elite. We thought we would get a fun coach and a big winner. While both sides had their moments, neither is in a better place than they were six years ago. Time tends to change perspective on things.
I don't regret letting TOB go, but I think I appreciate him more now. Perhaps I understand him a little better. His constant hunting for a new job and then biting comments on BC now have to be viewed with what he know about working for Gene. Gene's criticism, the second-guessing and the independent relationships with players and staff probably drove TOB nuts. TOB spent his whole life in the military and football. He's married to hierarchy and the chain of command. Coach Flip didn't (when it came to football).
I don't think TOB is the type to walk around with regrets, but I bet in a few years he will look back more fondly at his time at BC than his time in Raleigh. NC State was never a great fit for his stoic, introverted personality nor the type of player he wanted to recruit. I am sure he's brought in some great kids but the quantity of great BC guys during his time wins out. I think his pitch worked better from a BC than an NC State. Just looked at his inability to recruit his alma mater St. Xavier of Cincinnati once he left the Heights. When he looks back, hopefully he will remember that BC gave him his first shot at being a head coach (even after Navy passed), he is the parent of three BC grads, and he is BC's all time winningest coach.
I don't want to rename the Stadium after him or rewrite history. TOB was a good but never great at BC and it was time for us to make a move. But once he is removed from NC State, I think it is important that BC rebuild its relationship with him. He deserves recognition for his accomplishments and could serve as a resource to future BC football coaches and ADs.