Sports, Football

Hafley Aims for BC to Be A ‘Top-25 Program’

Boston College hosted a press conference on Monday to introduce new head football coach Jeff Hafley to the BC community. Director of Athletics Martin Jarmond officially announced that the Ohio State co-defensive coordinator would be coming to the Heights on Saturday.

Jarmond said that in selecting a new head coach, he chose not to go through a search firm, despite the fact that he is a relatively new athletic director. 

“I want to thank Father Leahy for showing the confidence and trust in me to lead this search,” Jarmond said. “It’s not every day that you have a first-time athletic director that doesn’t hire a search firm to do a search of this magnitude. He had the confidence in me, the trust in me, and he was there with me every step of the way.” 

Jarmond described what he and his team had been looking for in their ideal coach: a man of integrity; someone who understands BC’s Catholic, Jesuit values; a teacher; someone who is passionate about what they do and developing young people; someone who can compete and win; and someone who has a drive to win.

“We found everything, all of those, and more in this guy: Jeff Hafley,” Jarmond said. 

After Jarmond’s brief introduction, Hafley took to the podium. The Yawkey Center crowd—filled with media, alumni, administrators, and Hafley’s fellow coaches here at BC—erupted in applause.

Hafley stood at the podium, sans paper, choosing instead to speak “from the heart.” The new head football coach began by thanking everyone who had helped him along the way—his previous mentors, head coaches that he’s worked under, and University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J. and Jarmond, who gave him this new opportunity.

Hafley said that he had never expected to leave leave Ohio State after only one season.

“Quite honestly that’s not what I planned on doing,” said Hafley. “But when this [position] opened, it felt special and it felt right.”

Hafley spoke of his past struggles and the support he had had in his life that allowed him to get to where he is today. Because he doesn’t “look like [he plays] big-time football,” Hafley said that he had to work incredibly hard his whole life, breaking down doors that had been closed on him.

Hafley described how he had spoken with the team before the press conference and told them why he wanted to be at BC. 

“I looked at them in this room, and I said, ‘This is a very special place,’” he said. “It has Catholic and Jesuit values that are very important in my family. Men and women for others, service, humbleness.”

Hafley said he had three main goals in coaching and improving BC football: toughness, love, and the ability to compete. With a request for the entire BC community to “lock arms” and work hard together, Hafley began talking about his visions for the program. 

“When you work hard and you believe in something, and you do it together, and it’s real because it’s done the right way, it’s going to be worth it,” Hafley said. “And we’ll be sitting up here, talking about a lot of great things because, in all honesty, I want to compete, and I want to win. I want to get better, and I want this to be a top-25 program.”

Hafley also addressed an important part of program-building: How is he going to build a staff that can bring the program to the next level? While Hafley is known for being a top recruiter, his experiences have all been in recruiting from pools of players, not possible assistant coaches. 

“To me, the staff will be everything,” said Hafley. “I said this to Martin in the process: You win with people. You win with great people—start with the players, and then the coaches. Everything else is nice—facilities, fields, but you win with people. So I want to take my time, and I want to make sure that we do it right.”

Hafley continued, saying that the individuals he hopes to recruit to the positions maintain the same values that he hopes to instill in the team. But Hafley said he still hopes to bring in individuals who may have contrasting ideas so that he’s challenged and the team may further grow from the combination different ideals. He said that many people want to be part of the BC community, which means he has a large pool of great coaches and staff to choose from to build an excellent program. 

Featured Image by Josh Reynolds / AP Photo

December 16, 2019