As expected, the next Boston College football coach already had an office on the third floor of the Yawkey Center as defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani was hired to replace Jeff Jagodzinski today.
After a quick search for external and internal candidates, BC athletic director Gene DeFilippo chose the 61-year old Spaziani for a variety of reasons, most notably that Spaziani best met the criteria the athletic director set when he announced Jagodzinski's firing last Wednesday. The official announcement was made at a 3 p.m. press conference today.
"I really want someone who wants to be at BC and will be here for the length of his contract,'' said DeFilippo in explaining the parameters of his search.
No one fits those criteria better than Spaziani, who has been at The Heights since 1997 and has been the Eagles' defensive coordinator since 1999. Spaziani's pedigree is as solid, as he has produced consistently excellent defenses, first for former Eagle coach Tom O'Brien, who hired him after a stint as an assistant coach in the Canadian Football League.
Spaziani played defensive end for Joe Paterno at Penn State and began his coaching career as a Nittany Lions graduate assistant. He then moved through the coaching chain, with stops at Navy (where he first met O'Brien), and the University of Virginia.
When O'Brien left for North Carolina State two years ago, Spaziani applied for the BC job, but DeFilippo went outside of the box to hire Jagodzinski. When Jagodzinski was fired after an internal dispute with DeFilippo, Spaziani was one of four internal candidates to express an interest in the job, along with offensive coordinator Steve Logan, offensive line coach and assistant head coach Jack Bicknell Jr., and director of football operations Barry Gallup. But Spaziani was the leader among that group.
DeFilippo did look for candidates outside the program, checking on Mike London of Richmond. He also had his eye on Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio. While both candidates were regarded as strong choices for a variety of reasons, there were no guarantees that they would be at BC for the long haul if the Eagles came close to matching the success of the last three years, during while they have produced 30 wins.
In his interview Thursday, Spaziano emphasized his passion for the Eagles, as well as his intention of remaining at BC as long as he was wanted. After spending the weekend studying the list of candidates, DeFilippo felt that Spaziani was the right choice at the right time for the Eagle program, which had been jolted by Jagodzinski's quick departure.
Although no financial terms were revealed -- they are being worked out this afternoon -- sources close to the program said Spaziani's deal should be in the range of what has become almost the minimum for BCS schools -- a five-year deal with approximately $1 million in total compensation annually.
For Spaziani, who had fretted over the turmoil of the past few weeks as much as anyone, it was the culmination of a career chase that finally has put him in complete control of a program.
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