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DeFilippo: 'A very difficult day'

Posted by Adam Kilgore, Globe Staff  January 7, 2009 03:44 PM

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While providing few details on how the situation unfolded, Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo said this afternoon that he made the decision to fire football coach Jeff Jagodzinski "because Jeff and I are really divided on the future of this program and what we wanted for the program."

The school formally announced the firing of Jagodzinski, who won 20 games in two seasons at the helm of the Eagles, at a press conference this afternoon at the Yawkey Athletic Center.

DeFilippo said he met with Jagodzinski for roughly 25 minutes this morning, a meeting that went amicably. "We just talked about a lot of things," DeFilippo said. Jagodzinski interviewed for the New York Jets vacant head coaching position yesterday, and DeFilippo delivered on his earlier word that such an action from Jagodzinski would lead to his termination.

"I thought we had a football coach that wanted to be here for a long time," DeFilippo said. "And that wasn't necessarily the case."

DeFilippo said this was probably the hardest day he has endured since he arrived at Boston College.

"Today is a very difficult day for our football team, for our fans, our alums, and more importantly, me," DeFilippo said, seemingly holding back tears as he opened the press conference. "Those of you who know Jags and I, we're really good friends. This is a very, very difficult thing to do. Jeff Jagodzinski is a wonderful person, and he's a heck of a football coach."

The search for a new coach will begin immediately, DeFilippo said, and it will include internal and "at least two or more" external candidates. An interim coach will be named shortly.

"We're going to go quick, but we're not going to hurry," DeFilippo said. "We're going to find somebody who really wants to be at Boston College, and who is going to be here for the length of their contract."

Given the climate of coaches bolting from team to team, Jagodzinski's firing because of an interview could potentially dissuade candidates from joining Boston College. DeFilippo defiantly dismissed that notion.

"That may be the case," DeFilippo said. "I have not talked to a coach yet. But I've got a stack out there of coaches -- some are from head coaches at very, very good institutions -- that are interested in this job should anything happen. I think they would be committed to staying the length of their contract, yes."

DeFilippo declined to answer when asked if Jagodzinski, who is not thought to be among the favorites for the Jets job, wanted to stay at Boston College.

"I love Jags," DeFilippo said. "I'm not going to say anything bad about Jags. He was a real good friend when he came. We're still really good friends."

DeFilippo emphasized that the decision to fire Jagodzinski was his own.

"I want to go on record as saying that the decision was mine," DeFilippo said. "I am the director of athletics, I made the decision. I asked for approval from the administration, and they gave me that approval, and I made this decision because I think that Jeff and I were really divided on the future of this program and what we wanted for the program, and with that in mind, this decision has been made."

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