Thursday, September 22, 2011

GDF Job Security an Issue?

With the turmoil surrounding the football program right now, some fans have been suggesting that GDF's job either is at risk or should be at risk.  I disagree on both accounts.  Not only is GDF's job as secure as ever, but he has done a remarkable job overall at growing the athletic department since his hiring.  Instead of focusing on GDF's performance as an athletic director, most BC fans instead focus on their disagreement with his overall philosophy, namely an intense insistence on steadfast loyalty to Boston College.

I first want to address GDF's philosophy as athletic director.  GDF wants to build the football program with coaches who see BC as a final destination.  This involves either finding diamonds in the rough or coaches who have unique ties to either BC or the northeast.  There are two basic effects of this strategy.  First, it theoretically lends stability to the football team, which has not happened.  Second, it should shrink the pool of available coaching candidates, weeding out coaches, desirable and undesirable, who are unlikely to live in Chestnut Hill long term.

There is nothing inherently wrong with this strategy, although it has undoubtedly failed thus far.  Jags blatantly lied about wanting to be in Chestnut Hill long term, and Spaz, although loyal, is simply not cut out to be a head coach.  Instead of being a safe strategy, this has instead turned out to be a highly risky one, taking BC as high as number 2 and as low as a home loss to Duke.  I believe this strategy should be abandoned because coaches who find future success at BC and leave either leave the program in better shape than what they found it in or they enjoy being at BC so much that they stay for the long term.  Again, I don't think that the current strategy is unworkable, I just think that it was pitched as a more stable strategy and it has turned out instead to be significantly volatile.

Second, there is the presumption that GDF has had multiple "bad hires" in Jags and Spaz.  Spaz was a bad hire.  Fact.  Jags was not.  Jags was brought to BC to compete for an Orange Bowl and a national championship, which he did.  Once he fulfilled that purpose, it was time to rebuild the program, which is something Jags was NOT good at, and therefore he got fired.

Tom O'Brien has made his name as a coach who can build a very solid program.  As a former Marine, he brings a sense of discipline and teamwork to the program.  He recruited well, and surrounded himself with good, if not great, assistants who all had a knack for "coaching up" talent.  Tom O'Brien is not good at coaching on game day.  O'Brien consistently cost BC one or two games per year that we should have won, and as a result a breakup was inevitable.  O'Brien thought that the best he could to at BC was 9 wins.  BC thought that the best O'Brien would do was 9 wins.  Sooner or later one side was going to pull the trigger (don't forget about the "fire O'Brien" websites).

Having lost O'Brien, BC had a very solid program, but needed an excellent game day coach who could break the nine win barrier.  Enter Jags.  He did just that, so, in my mind, he was a good hire.  However, after two years at BC, it was clear that Jags was disinterested in program building, and couldn't recruit to the level BC fans expected.  When he did recruit, his players were generally less stable than those brought in by O'Brien, and few are currently with the team.  Once the window on BC's Orange Bowl and National Championship hopes was shut, BC needed another program builder.  Exit Jags, enter Spaz.

In my mind, GDF has had one bad hire, and therefore all of this talk about his job status because of the football program is just talk.  GDF is as much a part of BC sports as Balwin, and that's not changing anytime soon.  I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this one, but I stand by my assessment that GDF has not been the train wreck for the football program that some have made him out to be.  Additionally, I think his record regarding non-major sports is also commendable, but slightly less relevant because of revenue issues.  Unfortunately, I do not have the space to write about GDF's accomplishments in other parts of the athletic department, but I will have a post addressing GDF's performance in basketball, hockey, and non-revenue sports soon. 

What do you guys think?


  1. I simply cannot wait to read your upcoming post "addressing GDF's performance in hockey".

  2. Wasn't Jags fired because he interviewed for the Jets job? To say it was because he couldn't rebuild implies that it was performance-related, when it seemed like it boiled down to a pissing contest between Jags and GDF

  3. In the first draft of the post I briefly addressed that, but subsequently removed it because I thought it distracted too much from the big picture. I never bought the Jets excuse and still don't. Simply put, there was no way to justify the Jags firing minus him interviewing for the Jets, so I think that provided the convenient excuse. At the same time, the Athletic Department started pitching the need to rebuild almost immediately and was quick to point out failures in recruiting and holding on to underclassman.

  4. Non-cash sports are an expense. They do not count in getting an AD a million dollar salary, and have little import in evaluating an AD.

    One bad football hire? Jags fooled him to hire him. He didn't want to recruit he rides Ryan while Gene played out his man crush with his chest puffed out so far it is amazing he didn't fall over. Jags was a major miss for the frustrated former football coach.

    Spaz was a dumb hire at the time Gene made the decision, and is turning out far worse than imagined. Hire a new AD ,put Gene in development for a couple years and let the rebuilding start.


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