Spaziani said he understood the move, and that the fans’ frustrations were his, too. He also said he understood that the only way the situation would change was if the results did, but it didn’t happen.
“Obviously this is a sad day for my family and me,” Spaziani said in a statement. “Boston College has been my home for more than 16 years, and I have been fortunate to work with some amazing student-athletes. I will always treasure my relationships with them and the BC staff. Boston College is a tremendous place, and I am extremely thankful for my time there. I wish the current and future Eagles nothing but the best.”
Spaziani entered the job as the program was riding the high of back-to-back Atlantic Coast Conference championship games. But he was hired after the messy departure of Jeff Jagodzinski, who left after two seasons to test the NFL waters even though he was warned by DeFilippo that he would be fired if he did.
Spaziani started this season on the hot seat, and it loomed over the program.
“I had no problems with Spaz,” said receiver Bobby Swigert. “I thought he was a great guy and I wish him nothing but the best. He’s the reason I came here. Everyone kind of had an idea that something like this was going to happen.”
Immediately upon his arrival, Bates went to great lengths to show his support for the program, traveling to the game at Florida State the weekend after being introduced. Throughout the season, he and Spaziani had casual meetings filled largely by ice-breaker conversations.
“I don’t know that I would say that we had a thorough conversation that was an ongoing dialogue about the assessment of the program,” Bates said.
Bates’s stance was that he would wait until the end of the season to evaluate the program. Watching the team lose six of its last seven games (a win over Maryland in October was its lone victory over an FBS team), the choice to go in a different direction was almost made for him.
“It was made at the conclusion of the season [Sunday],” Bates said. “It’s an assessment that’s been ongoing since my arrival here. Really an evaluation on a body of work and not a game-to-game emotional decision.
“Ultimately all of us are measured on our performance and when you’re working in a profession of athletics, winning is a very big factor in that performance.”
Bates did not meet with players before making the decision, but he talked with them Sunday afternoon hours before it was made public.
“He asked us how we felt and what we were looking for,” Swigert said. “We told him we were looking for a guy who has a passion for us and BC football. Someone who knows what’s going on at all times and makes us play to our full potential. I trust in Mr. Bates, he’s going to set us up in a way to succeed.”
Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Globe correspondent Craig Forde contributed to this report.