PINEHURST, N.C. -- Louie Addazio estimates his family moved five times while he was growing up. His parents? Seven address changes in all. Addazio himself has already played at two colleges and has recovered from three shoulder surgeries. If anyone knows how cruel the game of football can be, surely, it is Addazio.
Yet it is all he has known, and all he has ever wanted to be a part of. He enters his redshirt senior year at Boston College squarely in the mix at tight end, where he hopes to impress his father Steve, the Eagles' head coach. And both hope that is just the start of son impressing dad, as a career in the family business comes calling afterward.
"Football is awesome, there's no other way around it," said Louie, the youngest of Steve's three kids, and his only son. "It's just a great game. Who wouldn't wanna be a football coach, and be around it, and have the camaraderie in the locker room, the excitement on game day?"
Louie followed his dad around early on, recalling his 10-year-old self watching Steve light into players in the offensive line room at Indiana and seeing him do the same now as the leader at BC. He trailed his dad to camps, joking that he was the rare kid who grew up wanting to be a lineman. His 6-foot-3, 252-pound frame limited him to tight end, but, as he says: "Good, because my dad taught me how to block."
He has made his intentions to coach known, so he is no longer surprised when BC tight ends coach Frank Leonard tests him by firing off random questions in the middle of position meetings. He has seen how his father's direct approach has led BC from two wins in 2012 to a pair of seven-win seasons in his first two years there, and he senses players respond strongest to coaches they know have their best interests at heart.
"Fans of the game, they watch the game, they see a guy drop a pass, they get upset, they bitch about it for a few minutes and then they move on to the next thing," Louie said. "For a coach's family watching the game, it's so nerve-wracking, because it's us. A dropped pass could mean losing the game, which could mean the coaching staff gets fired, which could mean there's for sale signs in the yard, which means you're moving. Everything is more intense."
Louie says he can count on one hand how many times his dad missed a Little League game. Steve says he was lucky during his six years as a Florida assistant because Louie's high school often played on Thursdays, but he speaks with regret about games he missed, which makes this extended time together all the more valuable.
"I can help him with [coaching]," Addazio said. "I didn't have that. I came out of Connecticut and got some dumb luck and got hooked up with Paul Pasqualoni and he brought me and developed me and brought me to Syracuse. I had a godfather. And so maybe I'd be able to do that, because everybody in our profession needs a little bit of a godfather."
Louie initially attended Syracuse in 2011 but did not play because of two shoulder surgeries (following a high school surgery as well). He had planned on starting fresh elsewhere for 2013 before his dad was hired at BC from Temple. His corresponding move to Chestnut Hill made too much sense.
Now he is going on three years of full health, of lifting and developing, of climbing up a depth chart that has just one other returning tight end with playing experience (Michael Giacone). He says he has been rebuilt into a football player, and before he moves to the sideline, he wants to extend his time on the field as long as possible.
"Some coaches say like: 'Oh God, what do you wanna get in this business for?' " Steve said. "I mean, I love this business. I love coaching. I love football. So why wouldn't I want my son to be involved in it? Is it tough? Yeah. But there's a lot of tough businesses out there. I think if you have a passion -- and he has a passion for it -- then I'm excited as hell that he wants to be a football coach, and hopefully will be one of those football coaches that's gonna help our profession as we move forward."