UPDATE: Steve Addazio Hired As New Head Football Coach
By Greg Joyce, Sports Editor
Steve Addazio will be the next head coach of the Boston College football team, athletic director Brad Bates announced today. Addazio will leave his job as head coach at Temple University to take over for Frank Spaziani, who was fired just nine days ago.
“I’ve only been here six weeks,” Bates said. “I’m looking for a partner who I can be joined at the hip with and really strive for excellence in Boston College athletics. [Addazio] is a key leader in this department.”
Bates interviewed Addazio on two separate occasions before making the hire official today. Addazio will be signed to a six-year contract, though the money was not disclosed.
“The process, as I’ve said all along – I wasn’t really strictly adhering to a timeline,” Bates told The Heights, just after he met with the team to announce the hire. “We had to make sure we got a perfect fit. The process was meticulous and deliberate enough that there’s no question in my mind we were able to accomplish that.”
Bates met with the media on Tuesday night to further discuss the hiring.
“I really believe that Steve Addazio is a great coach who is a great fit for Boston College right now,” Bates said.
Since he met with the players nine days ago and talked about what they wanted in a new head coach, Bates knew that he needed to hire a coach the players could build a strong relationship with.
“Everything in Steve’s background demonstrates that he’s going to create a family culture in the program that’s a team,” Bates said.
Secondly, the team wanted a coach who brought great passion to the locker room and the field, and Bates said he found exactly that in Addazio.
“You’ll see [Addazio] has incredible passion and energy,” Bates said. “He is one of the most energized, passionate people I’ve ever been around. His enthusiasm is contagious. Just sitting around him, you’re going to feel more inspired. So imagine that playing out in a coaching methodology.”
The third factor the team wanted in a coach was someone who was going to win, and Bates said that Addazio “certainly has a background in competitive success and winning.”
During the search process, Bates talked to NFL owners, NFL coaches, commissioners, college head coaches and assistant coaches, executive directors, and more. He reached out to those people he trusted in order to figure out if certain candidates would be a good fit at BC.
At the end of the 2012 season, multiple BC football players came out and said there was a lack of accountability on the team. While the players said the responsibility falls on them to change that, Bates believes that Addazio can help improve that attitude as well.
“He’s got a plan, he’ll be a disciplinarian,” Bates said. “He will be incredibly demanding on and off the field, but at the end of the day, the students are going to know he genuinely and sincerely cares about them.”
Bates told the players in a team meeting at 5 p.m. today, and wanted them to hear the announcement from him first.
“We wanted to make sure the players heard it from us,” Bates said. “We try to do everything we can to make sure they’re not hearing it secondhand. We tried to be as stealth as possible so that they’d hear it from us.”
Though he didn’t want to put words in their mouth, Bates said the players’ reactions “seemed to be a general level of excitement and enthusiasm.”
While the coaching carousel in college football is ongoing and unpredictable, Bates made it seem like he didn’t think Addazio would use BC as a stepping stone in his career.
“This is a guy who grew up in the Northeast and has dreamed of being at Boston College,” Bates said. “He is thrilled to be here and he’s already hitting the ground running. We bounced over a lot of things today in terms of what needs to be prepared and what he’s already getting into.
“Who can predict the future? Is any place a destination anymore? The landscape of college athletics is evolving so quickly, and there’s so many different variables that are involved in how people choose jobs and their longevity. I can’t predict the future completely. But here’s a guy who’s incredibly enthusiastic to be at Boston College.”
Bates said he was looking for a coach who would provide some stability in a program that has had a lot of attrition in recent history.
“Continuity is an incredible cohesive force in building a team,” Bates said. “And so having attrition is disruptive. This team has had a lot of disruption in terms of that continuity.”
Bates said that Addazio has been on his list of potential coaching candidates “for a number of years.”
Addazio compiled a record of 13-11 at Temple in his two years there—9-4 in 2011 (as a member of the MAC) and 4-7 in 2012 (as a member of the Big East). Prior to that, Addazio was the offensive coordinator at Florida in 2009 and 2010, and an assistant at various spots from 2005-2008. While at Florida, Addazio was part of a staff that won the BCS national championship in 2006 and 2008. He served as a mentor for the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow during that time.
Bates first got to know Addazio when he was at Florida, and has been watching and studying him since then. He also got to see Addazio firsthand when Temple faced Miami in a game during the 2011 season.
“I saw him firsthand two years ago because I was at Miami University and Temple was still in the MAC,” Bates said. “I had actually gotten to know him a few years ago when he was at Florida, and I have been really watching him since his work at Florida and [I have] been studying him. So that’s why he was on my shortlist to begin with.”
Former BC assistant coach Ryan Day worked under Addazio at Temple this year, and Bates said that while he didn’t talk to Day directly, he did get Day’s take secondhand.
“I talked to a lot of people, but not directly,” he said. “I didn’t want to do things … there are two ways of approaching it. You can have trusted colleagues make calls so there’s no direct communication, but people that you know and trust, you can call directly. I don’t know Ryan personally, so there was communication that was taking place, but it was secondhand.”
Regarding the current BC coaching staff, Bates said it is something that has yet to be decided in terms of who will stay and who will go.
“All of that’s undecided,” he said. “We’ve certainly had conversations, but nothing that would be definitive at this point. We’ve talked in general terms. He clearly has some ideas of what he wants to do, but he’s going to research the context. He’s going to visit with the team, he’s going to visit with the staff.
“This is a well-connected guy in the football community. He’s going to have an amazing collection of coaches that he can assemble. The key is going to be making sure that he gets a group that has diverse skill sets and experiences so that they compliment one another.”
Speculation had surfaced this morning from outlets including ESPN that the three finalists were Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, Ball State head coach Pete Lambo, and the New Orleans Saints’ offensive line coach Aaron Kromer. Addazio’s name had not come up as a candidate throughout the process, and in response to the supposed list of finalists, Bates said it was “interesting.”
“Honestly, I don’t know what the speculation was,” Bates said. “Steve was actually someone on my short list from the beginning. He’s got a tremendous reputation, people speak very highly of him. People that I respect in the industry have enormous regard for his talents and what he’s done in his coaching background.”
Addazio, 53, will be introduced in an official press conference at 3 p.m. tomorrow in the Yawkey Center at BC.