Spaziani replaces Jagodzinski

BOSTON -- Frank Spaziani stayed at Boston College, even though he was disappointed when he was passed over for the head coaching job in 2006.

That loyalty paid off Tuesday when the longtime assistant was promoted to the top spot.

The 61-year-old who built top defenses during his 10 years as coordinator succeeds Jeff Jagodzinski, who was fired last Wednesday after two seasons when he interviewed for the New York Jets coaching job after being told he would be dismissed if he did so.

"The fact that he [Spaziani] really wants to be here at Boston College and bleeds maroon and gold, that was extremely important," athletic director Gene DeFilippo said, "but it wasn't the most important factor."

Coaching ability was more important, and DeFilippo is confident he made a better choice this time than he did when he hired Jagodzinski, who had spent his previous eight seasons as an NFL assistant.

Contract terms were not disclosed, but Spaziani's deal is expected to be similar in length to the five years Jagodzinski got.

He had interviewed for the job that went to Jagodzinski, who went 20-8 at BC.

"Everybody gets disappointments in life," Spaziani said. "It's what we tell our players. How are you going to handle it. Are you going to go backwards or forwards."

He was one of two assistants retained by Jagodzinski from the staff of Tom O'Brien, who left after 10 years to take over at North Carolina State. His departure after the regular season led to Spaziani serving as interim coach for BC's 25-24 win over Navy in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

"I got a little feel for the flavor of being a head coach then," he said.

He spent two seasons as BC's running backs coach before becoming defensive coordinator in 1999. Last season, the Eagles were in the top 10 in the nation in seven defensive categories after having the second-ranked defense in the nation in 2007.

Spaziani said he hadn't decided whether to continue running the defense.

"He's a great football mind," linebacker Mike McLaughlin said. "He's a hard-nosed, down-to-earth guy, which is a great thing for a head coach."

DeFilippo gave no details of his speedy coaching search, but had said he planned to interview at least two outside candidates along with several assistants. Promoting from within should ease the transition.

"You have to go through a process because you have to make sure that you're hiring the best football coach that you can hire," DeFilippo said, "and when the best football coach that you can possibly hire is already on your staff, that's a huge advantage because now he can hit the ground running."

Spaziani spent three seasons as an assistant coach with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League before joining BC. He also has been defensive coordinator for two year of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL and an assistant coach for nine years at Virginia.

He emphasized his loyalty to BC.

"I wanted to be a head coach, but I wanted to be a head coach at Boston College," he said. "I didn't want to be a head coach just to be a head coach.

"I love this place for a lot of the right reasons and I want to help give something back."

Now, the former Penn State defensive end under Joe Paterno finally has his first head coaching job in college.

How long will he stick around?

"I hope to catch Paterno," Spaziani said with a smile. "He's going to 85."