Boston College fired head coach Steve Addazio. What candidates might be the right fit for the Eagle job?
He never received enough credit for taking the Boston College program to the land of the consistently good.
Steve Addazio took over the Eagles after they won just six games in the previous two years, and he instantly made them a regular on the bowl circuit.
No, he wasn’t able to take BC to a higher level – his teams never finished better than third in the Atlantic – but he had five ACC seasons going 4-4, and if the team wins whatever bowl it goes to this year, it’ll be the sixth seven-win season in seven years.
And now it’s time to look for just a little bit more.
But the coach who’ll take over this gig will have to deal with playing Clemson, Florida State and NC State in the division, and it will take a recruit-to-a-type guy who can make the most out of the three-star talents he’ll land.
On the positive side, the bar isn’t set ridiculously high.
No one is thinking BC will be the new Clemson, but just go from seven wins a year to eight, and the occasional nine, and that will be good enough.
This is all total speculation, but five guys who at least have to get a polite “You interested?” text are …
5. Jim McElwain, Central Michigan head coach
Yeah, okay, his time at Florida didn’t exactly end with all that well, but in one year at Central Michigan he took a 1-11 team to the MAC Championship game. Granted, his Chippewas slayed a whole lot of bums to get to Detroit, but he pulled off one of the season’s biggest turnarounds.
And okay, yeah, BC fans might see him as Steve Addazio Part 2, but the guy went to two SEC Championships, was terrific at building up Colorado State, and after this year at CMU he has won three division titles in his last four years as a head coach.
4. Jeff Hafley, Ohio State defensive coordinator
He might be destined for a good Group of Five gig before jumping up a level, and he’s not going to have Chase Young and ten other NFL talents on the defense to play around with, but he took a mediocre Buckeye D and made it – statistically so far – the best since 2011 Alabama. At the very least, he’d help give BC a terrific defensive identity again.
3. Mike Norvell, Memphis head coach
He’s everyone’s hot head coaching prospect right now, but BC actually makes sense, especially if he doesn’t win the American Athletic Conference title.
He has yet to win a conference title or a bowl game, but both of those things can go bye-bye in a hurry … if he coaches in the bowl game.
There isn’t a whole lot of defense coming from his teams, but they’re aggressive, they get to the quarterback and all they need to do is hold serve for his high-powered offenses.
And that’s what Eagle fans seem to want. The ground-and-pound style has had its place, but it’s time to air it out.
2. Barry Odom, fired Missouri head coach
This comes with one caveat – he brings along a whale of an offensive coordinator.
Odom got a bit of a raw deal at Mizzou. He improved his team in each of his first three years, had a great first half of 2019, and then the team hit an offensive wall. The defense, though, was terrific.
Drew Lock made the offense amazing during his time under center, and Kelly Bryant was more than fine this year before getting hurt. Throw in the NCAA sanctions and bowl ban that had nothing to do with him, and still getting to 6-6 this year wasn’t all that bad.
This is the punch-the-wait hire for BC.
He’s a good guy, the fans will love him, and unlike most of the other names the program might be going after, he’ll stick around if there’s any real success.
1. Billy Napier, Louisiana head coach
Forgive me if his name keeps popping up on just about every list of prime head coaching candidates – this dude owes me at least a basket of mini-muffins at this point – but there’s a reason.
Just 40, he’s a rising young superstar of an offensive head man who’s now 2-for-2 in getting Louisiana to the Sun Belt championship after the program went through three straight losing seasons.
The team went from 7-7 his first year to 10-2 with a dynamic attack that’s averaging 500 yards per game and helped by a solid D that’s terrific at getting off the field.
His losses this year? Mississippi State and Appalachian State.
He’s going to be a big thing soon. Some big program somewhere is going to want this guy’s offense.