Posted by Walter
As every faithful 323 reader out in internet land knows, I am an unabashed Boston College football fan and season ticket holder…..or at least I was. The recent events surrounding Coach Jagodzinski’s removal (or should I say dismissal) has opened my eyes to futility and pointlessness of rooting for BC football, such that I will not now, or ever, renew my season tickets. When I found out that Jags had been fired for interviewing with the New York Jets I was first furious…..then puzzled……before settling on just plain embarrassed. Here is the Cliffs Notes version of my thoughts on one of the all time bitch moves in Division 1 college football:
Furious – Jeff Jagodzinski was a fantastic coach for BC, leading the team to 2 straight 10 win seasons, and 2 straight appearances in the ACC title game. It is at least arguable that Coach Jags oversaw the best two year stretch in BC football history when a man named Flutie was not at under center. In fact, Jags’ performed so well as a head coach that he garnered consideration for one of the thirty-two most prestigious positions in that profession. However, instead of thanking Jags for his two great years and crossing his fingers that the Jets take a pass, thus sending Jags back to Chestnut Hill for at least another season, Gene Defelippo fires this man for accepting an interview, citing some sort of vague breach of loyalty as his reason (which, of course, was a ridiculous claim insofar as I doubt Defelippo would have worried at all about loyalty in firing Jags if he'd gone 4-9 the past two seasons). Of course we all know the Jets ended up choosing Rex Ryan, their number 1 choice all along, yet BC was still left with no Jags.
So why was I so angry? Because none of this needed to happen. Jags was a great coach, a great hire by Defelippo. There was no reason to fire him and take a MAJOR step backwards in coaching talent. I shelled out $800 for 3 season tickets this past season, and was planning on doing it again. But the man in charge of taking that money decided that he didn’t want a coach who was so good at his job that professional teams came calling. He didn’t want a coach that would do so well, and give his teams’ fans so much enjoyment, that he’d be considered for one of the 32 top positions in the world. In essence, Mr. Defelippo announced to BC fans everywhere that he wanted a coach that would do well….just not so well that any other team would be interested in him. GMAC Bowl? Yes. Orange Bowl? Woah there! 9-4 seasons are nice….just not every year.
Confused – Is BC delusional? Seriously? Do they really think they can ever get a top notch coach who considers the program a “final destination?” BC was, is, and always will be a stepping stone job. Frank Leahy did it, Tom Coughlin did it, and now Jeff Jagodzinski was doing it. You know what else those three had in common? They presided over the best teams in school history. BC is not Alabama. They aren’t Oklahoma. The school prides itself on academics and tradition. Nothing wrong with that at all. But that is what the school is. They are not going to bend the academic rules to get a five star recruit in. They don’t have a T. Boone Pickens chairing the gridiron club to provide an endless recruiting budget. The school is what it is, and there is nothing wrong with that. Heck, Miami of Ohio has made its living on being a stepping stone program for college football coaches. Coaches come and go through that school, and while it might be frustrating for the fans, the teams are always great when one of those coaches is in charge. Woody Hayes, Bo Shembechler, Bill Mallory, Sid Gillman, Ara Parseghian…the list goes on. Miami of Ohio, and BC until now, always succeeded because when their great coach left they brought in someone new to fill the void. Here’s the real question: Would you rather have three years each of great coaches like Frank Leahy, Tom Coughlin, and Jeff Jagodzinski, or twenty years of mediocrity?
[Oh, and by the way, Mr. Defelippo, the self proclaimed eradicator of the stepping stone job, did just that when he fled Villanova to take the same post at BC. I get it, 'Nova (who actually won a major college championship at one point in time) is a stepping stone type program but BC isn't.]
Embarrassed – Defelippo’s firing of Jags was unprecedented and cemented BC’s status as the ugly step child of the Boston sports scene. In Boston, the Sox, Pats, Celts, and B’s rule. And they rule because they have tradition and they win. In other words, those teams command respect and attention. BC was starting to get there. Two straight ACC title games will do that (anything with the phrase “title game” in it will do that). Boston College was finally starting to command respect. But Defelippo’s firing of Jags not only wreaks of sour grapes, but it showed just how insecure Boston College is. In essence, Defelippo was so insecure about his coach leaving him that he fired the guy before he got the chance. It was almost like Costanza’s pre-emptive breakup in Seinfeld….and there ain’t anyone more insecure than George Costanza.
Worse, it was like BC was dating the hot chick and was so afraid she’d leave them for someone better, that they broke up with her and started dating someone not quite as hot (Spaziani) but who they certainly didn't have to worry about leaving. Not only is that obviously a step down in the present, but once you do that to one hot chick none of them will ever want to date you again?
Like I said, it was the ultimate bitch move.