Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Jeff Hafley: the perfect fit that never really fit


The Jeff Hafley era is over. It ended like most of his tenure -- in an unpredictable manner. He is leaving BC to take a Defensive Coordinator role with the Green Bay Packers. Four years ago that would have been a step back. (Jags left a Green Bay coordinator role to take the head job at BC.) Now with exploding salaries in both levels and the job descriptions changing daily, it might not be. Hafley plugs into a role and team that will likely lead him to an NFL head job within four years. That wasn't going to happen at BC. He puts himself and his family in a better position. I don't begrudge him at all. Plus whatever he had hoped to build and whatever we thought we would see at BC never came together. World, industry and departmental changes probably made every day seem Sisyphean.

Since Hafley took the job, he is on his third Athletic Director. He spent a whole year recruiting and coaching in COVID. Then the NIL hit and then the portal hit. Plus the ACC expanded and is in the middle of a lawsuit against one of its flagship programs. None of those sweeping changes lend themselves to building or shaping a program in your own vision. Instead it is just putting out one fire after the next.

Hafley's challenges were not all external. His staffs have been mediocre to poor. His coordinators have been bad. His reputation as a great talent evaluator never really showed itself with his BC rosters. His gameday coaching and decision making was uneven. He eliminated the culture of fear and built relationship with players, but never really won their respect. (I had a guy who played under Addazio recently tell me he barely even knew Addazio but he was at BC to compete and didn't worry about the relationships. The idea of Hafley being everyone's friend seemed unnecessary to this same player.)

In the end Hafley did BC a favor by leaving. If his heart wasn't in it, then a lame duck season would have been painful for everyone. He saved BC money by not having to fire him and now someone who knows what this job entails can take on the challenge. Good luck and thanks (I guess). I still like Hafley, but do think this is best for everyone. 

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