Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Understanding the "A List"

When the ideas of the search plan leaked more than a few scoffed at the idea that any current BCS-level coach would ever consider a move to BC. Even with the chaos of the last 48 hours, there is still some underlying qualities that make the BC job attractive. Per ESPN's Insider:

I know a couple of guys who actually want this job, even if it isn't officially open yet. They saw the ACC as vulnerable, even before this new round of realignment. They think there's room for BC, despite the academic limitations that similarly hamstring Duke and Wake Forest.

It's a beautiful city and campus and, let's be honest, the conference isn't that challenging to make the Matt Ryan years seem that distant. A couple of solid players on both sides of the ball, and the Eagles could be equipped to be a conference contender. Frank Spaziani, most everyone believes, is simply in over his head.
The three most well-known names to be rumored targets of BC are Dan Mullen, Bill O'Brien and Al Golden. We can assume all three will be contacted. I don't expect any to take the job, but there is still a chance one might. You make the phone call to find out. All three have specific reasons as to why they would take the call.

Dan Mullen
By everyone's accounts Dan Mullen has done a great job at Mississippi State. But he is a New Hampshire native and has family ties to New England.
Why would he leave? Remember the Cam Newton scandal. Mullen had successfully recruited Newton only to see Auburn boosters buy off Cam's dad to have him sign with the Tigers. That is the world in which Mullen has to operate. Plus he will always be behind LSU and Alabama is his own division. Mullen will leave Mississippi State. It is only a question of when and which job. He will be a top candidate for all the open SEC jobs.
Why BC? Aside from the family issues, Mullen might want to come to BC to escape the SEC. Even if Tennessee or Auburn come calling with promises of more money and the chance to actually compete with the Sabans and Miles, he still has to get dirty. He still has to recruit borderline kids and he still has to look the other way when someone throws money at these kids. I don't want to say that everyone at BC is a choir boy, but it is definitely a different sort of atmosphere. He can win the division in the ACC. He won't at MSU. Also if he comes to BC and rebuilds successfully, he will then have proven himself twice and be able to get any key job out there.
Will it happen? I don't think so. Mullen is going to have his choice of jobs and despite his ties to the area, I don't think that will be enough to have him pass on Tennessee or Auburn.

Bill O'Brien
O'Brien thought he knew what he was getting into at Penn State. Replacing a legend and healing a community is one thing, but the devastating sanctions were not anticipated.
Why would he leave? Losing coaches rarely get a second chance to be a head coach. Even though the team is playing well and even though he is saying the right things, Penn State will be playing with one hand behind their back for the next five years. If O'Brien presides over PSU's decline, no one is ever going to offer him a big time gig again.
Why BC? O'Brien was married in St. Ignatius. His wife is a BC grad. He grew up in the Boston suburbs. He dreamed of coaching in the ACC. He wanted the BC job last year, but BC didn't fire Spaz.
Will it happen? O'Brien has been very non-committal in his recent interviews. Any coach who leaves a school after one year is going to get vilified in the media and on the recruiting trail, but I have to imagine where there is smoke there is fire. Why wouldn't he be more demonstrative in his love and desire to stay at Penn State? He was gung ho right after the sanctions. Has the reality kicked in? If he's going to bail on Penn State, he will only do it for a job he really wants and in a place where he really wants to be.

Al Golden
Even going back to his days at BC, Golden's name always managed to float for a bigger and better opportunity. Now that Miami is facing huge sanctions, his name is popping up again.
Why would he leave? Golden is a smart guy and a guy who is always thinking about his next move. When he took the Miami job, I am sure he worked through scenarios in which he would leave and don't think BC would have been on that "Next Job" list. You take Miami as a path to National Championships or the NFL. But a bomb went off shortly into his first year and there are looming sanctions. His AD bailed and the school self-imposed a second bowl ban. Like O'Brien he needs to get out before sanctions sink his W-L record and his long-term career prospects.
Why BC? If not for timing, Golden would have been BC's head coach. He took the Temple job in 2006. If he had stayed at UVA one more year, Gene probably would have hired him. Our old AD couldn't steal him from Temple after one 1-11 season. Al could have replaced Jags too, but Gene never really looked beyond Spaz. Now BC would be a safe haven. He could rebuild and still be positioned for a very good job in four or five years.
Will it happen? Of the "A List," this is the most probable. He wants out and there are only so many jobs. He will be in the mix for the SEC spots, but I don't see them rushing to hire Golden. To them he is some guy who has been "ok" at Miami. BC fans on the other hand know about his recruiting and work ethic, know what a miracle the Temple rebuild was and know that he was dealt a bad hand at Miami.


bc1900 said...

Go read lauds latest post. players want spas to stay, Clancy and rettig talking him up.

bc1900 said...


bc1900 said...

Sorry, Cleary and rettig.

eagleboston said...

Those poor players don't know how bad they have it. Bring in a real coach who plays to win and their view will change dramatically.

EL MIZ said...

more excuses from Spaz blaming Jags. truly unbelievable stuff from him, what a loser. it makes me giddy thinking about his imminent firing. good freaking riddance.

Golden is an interesting candidate, as is O'Brien. i agree that Mullen is likely going to take a higher profile job. i think i'd go with Golden over O'Brien given more success at the college level.

chicagofire1871 said...

Absent from these scenarios is money. Would Fr. Leahy ever open up the purse strings enough to make the BC job attractive to even the most highly rated coach?

ATL_eagle said...

BC will pay what they need to get the guy they want. So if Mullen costs $3 million, we would do it. But that doesn't mean the budget is the same for each coach. They are not going to give a Coordinator making $500k $3 million.

Knucklehead said...

O'Brien, if hired, would stay in the job long-term. Golden would not stay in the job long-term.

Both of them are hamstrung because of where they have coached in the past. TN and Auburn are open but they are not hiring college coaches who do not have SEC ties.

The Boston College job is the best opening in the NE and Midwest which makes them both viable.

O'Brien is clean though. Do you think we would ever have a problem recruiting a QB ever again, he over-saw Brady and arguably the best o-line in the NFL.

Claver2010 said...

Thanks for this ATL.

I don't see Mullen happening either but I definitely agree with the "where there's smoke there's fire" thought with Golden & BOB. There's a reason their names are being talked about.

Think Golden is more likely, obvious coaching connections here and he's ready to leave. His AD pulled the rug out from under the team with a week to go and them still eligible for the ACC CG.

diabetic tackle said...

Here's a excellent "under the radar" guy that fits the parameters you described 3 days ago of young, northeast roots, Roman Catholic (Jesuit educated) Head Coach and successful.

Pete Lembo of Ball State
42 years old
Staten Island native, Msgr Farrell HS grad
Georgetown graduate , 4 year starter & team captain
Asst coach at Dartmouth & Lehigh
93-45 record as a Head Coach
Head coach at Lehigh, won the Patriot league twice and competed in the FBS playoff several times
Head coach at Elon,taking them to the FBS playoff for the programs 1st time
Currently Head coach at Ball State and has them Bowl eligible along with the 3rd best record in the MAC ( Bates likely knows him?)

Lembo's someone whose put a lot of time and had great success at many levels. And, unlike your " A" candidates , is less costly and hungry.

Unknown said...

We're hiring a HC from the MAC. That's what Bates knows and it gives us a chance to hire a head coach rather than provide a HC internship (a la Spaz).

Please don't kid yourself about Golden. Things look bad at Miami, but there is a decent chance they'll get off without additional bowl bans and scholarship reductions that are manageable.

The Miami job with sanctions is better than a BC job that has little in the way of institutional, fan or booster support.

The SEC being some cess pool that good coaches would want to steer clear from - that's a joke. It's the best football going. Those are great jobs and guys with a lot of confidence like HCs are willing to bet on themselves.

Big Jack Krack said...

Miami is not what it used to be IMHO. The pro stadium is quite a distance from the campus - maybe not as far as Foxboro from BC, but 15 to 20 miles. Plus they have big attendance problems from what I can see. 35K - 40K in a pro stadium looks awful.

You have to contend on the national stage (Top 10 to Top 5) for the old Miami buzz to reappear.

Golden might well consider an offer.

CatabEagle said...

Thanks ATL for this rundown.

Other folks who may be available and curious if anyone has heard;

1. Mike Sherman (I love this guy but I'm probably the only one)
2. Tim Murphy - Harvard. Won consistently there, and has beat out BC for several recruits. Knows New England recruiting better than anyone.
3. Jeff Tedford - Cal - just fired, could try to restart at BC?

CatabEagle said...

From ESPN; the ranking of open/likely to be open head coaching gigs:

1. Oregon
2. Auburn
3. Tennessee
4. Arkansas
5. NC State
6. Cal
7. South Florida
8. Purdue
9. BC
10. Kentucky

mod34b said...

Golden seems unlikely to want to come to BC. It seems that Miami is presently 'investing' in minimization of the forthcoming sanctions -- making its second down payment by foregoing bowls and ACCCG. Golden may feel that the future is already looking brighter for the U. I think taking the BC job would not be a good career move for him. He'd be viewed as a quitter and it would also be viewed as a big step down.

I also doubt that the "U" AD unilaterally decided to give up post-season eligibility this year without consulting with Golden. However, if that was the case, then maybe he would want to leave.

B'OB would be wonderful.... and seems possible ... maybe

Lembo sounds good too.

Overall, I feel like BC is not going "big." I think they are going cheap -- again.

John said...

Are the players really supporting this terrible coach? Especially after last week's white flag move? If they are, I am losing my respect for them also.

AA said...


AA said...

Sorry, I just registered. No way any of those top 3 choices go to BC. Maybe they pull a Tommy Tuberville and angle for a extension/raise at their existing jobs, but BC is a huge, HUGE step down for all of them.

Bates should hire the best MAC-level HC he can get and pray that he can recruit. Right now, the BC job is not very attractive. No facilities, poor weather, poor pay, no recruiting base, league is one step away from imploding, etc.

BC fans should lower their expectations and pray for a return to the 7-5 days.

mod34b said...

Bad weather? NOT.

You do know that BC doesn't play football in New England in February?

The weather from August to November in New England can be absolutely lovely. This year has been especially nice. (Thanks Global Warming!)

AA said...

Typical colleges run from Sept to May. If one goes to BC, they will prob see ten weeks of decent weather and the rest will be frigid. No wonder top players dont go to BC.

Again, I think the best case scenario is a return to the 7-5 days. The 10-3 days are an aberration and hopefully within a few years, the 2-10 years are as well.

Big Jack Krack said...

Most of the pro teams in the playoffs year in and year out are from cold weather areas.

ND is from a cold area, as are the Big 10 schools.

cherry ghost said...

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I am thankful for diehard BC sports fans.

downtown_resident said...

AA/Coach O'Brien, shouldn't you be preparing for your game this week instead of posting on a message board?

CT said...

"Big-time" recruits don't normally go to BC because BC has very little traction in the South. It has nothing to do with the weather. Kids stay close to home so Mom and Dad can drive to see them play on Saturday. They get a surreal game-day experience on their official visits and Mom and Dad are happy with a solid Communications or Criminal Justice program.

As an aside, BC was mentioned on a prominent sports talk show here in Atlanta yesterday after the Md. announcement. That's very unusual. "What exactly has BC brought to the ACC?" was the question. Tepid response. In other words...Atlanta is the best big-city college football town in the country and BC is latin for "who?" down here. You don't have to comb the South for half your roster, but I would've thought that the move to the ACC would've improved brand recognition and thus recruiting. I'm hopeful that the new HC has relationships in more talented areas than New York and Ohio. There are good kids out there with loads of talent and it'll take a dynamic HC to convince them to betray loyalties to the SEC or FSU/Clemson or wherever. I'm cautiously optimistic after watching Stanford's defense outplay Oregon on Saturday night.

Fenwick 111 said...

One name that should be considered is Buffalo Bills assistant coach Bob Bicknell...

Mangini should also get serious consideration...