Everything was on hold in the Boston College athletic offices this afternoon as officials waited for confirmation that football coach Jeff Jagodzinski was actually interviewing with the New York Jets -- something which Eagles officials told him would lead to his termination.
While there was no confirmation of any meeting taking place, BC officials made it clear that Jagodzinski's tenure could indeed be coming to an end, even if he doesn't talk to the Jets tonight.
"I think Jeff Jagodzinski did a great job here,'' said BC athletic director Gene DeFilippo late this afternoon. "But I want a person who wants to be at Boston College and who wants to stay here a long, long time. I thought I had that person.''
Despite the warnings, Jagodzinski was expected to meet with Jets officials later tonight or early tomorrow about filling the vacancy created when coach Eric Mangini was fired last week.
Although there had been various reports stating that a clause in Jagodzinski's contract prohibited any contact with NFL teams for his first three seasons -- the coach is in the second year of a five-year deal with a total compensation package of more than $1 million per season -- sources at BC said yesterday that no such clause existed, although there was an understanding that Jagodzinski, who was hired two years ago to replace Tom O'Brien, would refrain from seeking other jobs for at least three seasons.
The crux of the issue was not the contract, but the failure by Jagodzinski to tell DeFilippo about the contact with the Jets. DeFilippo learned of the situation between the Jets and Jagodzinski Saturday afternoon when a reporter asked him if any contact between the coach and team had been made. DeFilippo, who had asked Jagodzinski earlier about the matter and been told that published reports of an imminent meeting were false, was then informed that a meeting had been set up and that Jagodzinski had not told him the truth.
Said one athletic director familiar with the situation who has dealt with contact between professional teams and his coaches, "Making contact with the NFL is not a big deal,'' said the athletic director. "If you are good, it happens all the time. We deal with it, just as long as I know about it, it's not a problem.''
When told that Jagodzinski had not told DeFilippo about meeting with the Jets, the athletic director paused. "That's different,'' he said. "I would have a big problem with that.''
DeFilippo was waiting to confirm that Jagodzinski had actually met with the Jets. As of late this afternoon, he had not talked to the coach since Sunday, when DeFilippo expressed his disappointment and anger at not being told the truth and told Jagodzinski that if he proceed with the meeting his job would be at risk.
Even if Jagodzinski canceled the meeting and wanted to return to BC, DeFilippo feels that the issue of trust had been breached, which would make it difficult for the coach to return for a third season.
Although Jagodzinski's total compensation package was substantial, the termination would be based on a much smaller base-salary, making it easier for the school to dismiss him.
If BC does fire Jagodzinski, the school is expected to fill the position quickly with an internal hire.
Although there had been early speculation that BC offensive coordinator Steve Logan was a frontrunner, defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani has emerged as an even stronger candidate.
Spaziani, who has been at BC for 12 years, was a finalist for the job two years ago when O'Brien left to take the head coaching job at North Carolina State. Spaziani provides the stability that DeFilippo wants for the program and would have almost no inclination to leave for another job.
- Michael Vega
- Mark Blaudschun
- Nancy Marrapese-Burrell