FOOTBALL: Players React To Spaziani's Firing
Eagles Thank Spaziani, But Ready To Begin New Chapter
Published: Sunday, November 25, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
They didn’t have a clue what was going on.
The decision to fire head football coach Frank Spaziani came yesterday after Boston College fell to NC State, but the players were kept in the dark until a team meeting was called for 5:30 p.m. today.
Athletic director Brad Bates gathered the team in its regular meeting room at the Yawkey Center, the same spot where all of the players had listened to Spaziani during his tenure, and told them that their coach would not be coming back.
“I want to let you know that Coach Spaz will not be our coach next year,” Bates said, according to junior receiver Bobby Swigert.
He was direct and honest with the players.
“Brad was just very upfront with us and told us what was going on,” said junior linebacker Steele Divitto.
Bates informed the team that the coaching search had begun and that he would keep them updated on the progress.
“I thought that was really cool by him calling the team meeting,” Swigert said.
Although the returning team was told the news by Bates, the outgoing seniors were not at the meeting. Fifth-year linebacker Nick Clancy found out about the announcement through Twitter.
“Well personally, I think coach Spaz being fired is the first step in getting this program back to where it belongs,” Clancy told The Heights. “The only way a team can be different is to make changes and I trust coach Bates' decision. Coach Spaz is an unbelievable football mind and is valuable to any team that he coaches for. But with the season we just had, it seems necessary. I partly feel bad because he really did care, [he] just wasn't able to articulate the message to every individual on the team. I wish him the best.”
Divitto and Swigert echoed Clancy’s message by thanking Spaziani while looking ahead to a new era for BC football.
“[Spaziani] bleeds Boston College,” Divitto said. “He loves his school and he loves his players. He’s absolutely a team guy. He loves the team and he was always preaching family and that’s something we really liked about him. I know this place holds dear to his heart and Boston College holds him dear to our heart.
“Obviously it wasn’t just his fault and it wasn’t just the players’ fault. It was a combined effort. I think our recruiting class definitely is a great class and we’re definitely very excited about the future—and he recruited all of us. I just wish the best for him.”
Bates said that no players were consulted before the decision was made and that no players contacted him with their opinion of the coach.
“I had no problems with Spaz,” Swigert said. “I thought he was a great guy and everything. I wish him the best. I was always a supporter of him. Some people obviously aren’t, but you’ll have that with anybody.”
Both Swigert and Divitto said that even going into the game on Saturday that they weren’t focused on the coaching situation.
“As a player during the season, you don’t pay attention to that stuff,” Divitto said. “You are just concentrated on winning and getting better.”
Now that the 2012 season is behind them, though, both players are ready to lead their squad as rising seniors. Bates met specifically with the seniors for 40 minutes after speaking to the whole team and asked what they were looking for in a new coach.
“I think just a guy that just has a passion for us and for BC football,” Swigert said of what he wants from Spaziani’s replacement. “[A guy that is] more into practice, more into the games. Just a passionate guy. He knows what’s going on at all times with the team, and when he addresses us everybody’s listening and everybody respects what he’s saying. Just the type of guy that basically can get that from us and make us play to our full potential. I’m sure they’re going to find a guy that can do that.”
Spaziani became known for his standoffish demeanor during practices and games, often found on the sidelines away from his players and the other coaches. Swigert said more energy from a new head coach would be welcome.
“We want a guy that has got to be more energetic—I think that would be great for our team,” Swigert said. “More into the huddle. More individualized with guys in knowing what their tendencies are and what they like. A type of guy like that would be a lot different than what we’re used to and I think it would help us excel as players.”
Divitto expanded on the traits that Swigert mentioned.
“Energy, enthusiasm, I think integrity is a big one, and just consistency,” Divitto said. “A consistent attitude every day. Just very straight forward. I think that’s what this team needs and hopefully that’s who we end up getting.”