BOSTON — New Boston College football coach Steve Addazio paced back and forth behind the podium. He waved his arms as he spoke. His voice got louder as he hammered home his points.
The Eagles have upgraded their pregame pep talks since firing Frank Spaziani.
But will they win any more games?
“You’re going to get the best out of Steve Addazio, my family and my staff. I’m proud to be a Boston College Eagle, and I won’t let you down,” he said on Wednesday after being introduced to the media and the BC community.
“I’ve got drive and I’ve got energy. And I’ve got a passion for what I do, for these student-athletes and for Boston College. We’re one family, and together, we’re going to have success.
A Connecticut native who spent the last two years at Temple, Addazio said Boston College had been his dream job — even while he was working his way up through the coaching ranks at top-tier programs like Notre Dame and Florida.
“Dreams do come true,” he said. “I’ve been a lot of great places. All the people who knew me and the friends that I’ve worked with knew that I wanted to be here at Boston College.”
Addazio said he had conversations about the Boston College job the last time it was open, and he also talked to current BC athletic director Brad Bates about the coaching position at his previous job, Miami of Ohio. Bates, who has only been in Chestnut Hill for two months, said he had a list of names for potential openings and Addazio’s name quickly rose to the top; the hiring only took nine days.
Bates said the search was “thorough, meticulous and deliberate,” and he said he talked to executives and coaches in the NFL as well as other colleges and conferences. Addazio’s enthusiasm was one of the things that sold him on the hire.
“He wants to have a relationship with his team and the BC community,” Bates said. “He has a contagious passion for his students and the sport that inspires people to excel.
“For those of you who have yet to meet Steve, buckle up.”
Bates said he also sought opinions from current and former BC players, he said. Some members of last year’s team attended the news conference, including quarterback Chase Rettig.
“He grabs everyone’s attention,” Rettig said. “He’s excited about the program, so it’s going to rub off.”
Spaziani was fired after going 22-29 in four-plus seasons as head coach and 16 overall at BC. The Eagles went 2-10 this year — the fourth consecutive season they won fewer games than the year before.
Addazio, 53, led the Owls to a 9-4 record in 2011 and their first bowl win in 32 years — a 37-15 victory over Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl. But this season Temple went 4-7 (2-5 Big East) after leaving the Mid-American Conference and returning to the conference that booted them out in 2004.
Addazio echoed Bates, who said on Tuesday night that he and his new football coach were “joined at the hip.”
“To have a good football program, he and I have got to be joined at the hip, and share a common vision and be aligned,” Addazio said. “That’s the fundamental foundation of the development of this football program, and I couldn’t feel better about that.”
In a speech that referred to BC stars like Matt Ryan and Luke Kuechly, Addazio said he thought he could compete for the Atlantic Coast Conference championship and, eventually, a national title. He also hearkened back to 1984, recalling sitting in his family room watching Doug Flutie’s “Hail Mary” against Miami, a play Addazio referred to simply as “the pass.”
But Addazio also knows that BC’s recent history isn’t quite so glorious.
Spaziani, a lifetime assistant, coached the team for four years and won fewer games in each successive season. His predecessor, Jeff Jagodzinski, was fired for looking for an NFL job, and the coach before that, Tom O’Brien, made a horizontal move to North Carolina State.
Addazio promised that he would not treat BC as a stepping stone, noting that he has a home on Cape Cod.
“I want to be here and finish my career here. This is where I want to be,” he said.
“I’m at the most wonderful place I can possibly be at,” he added, motioning to his wife, Kathy, who was nodding her head in the front row, “you can ask that lady in the red jacket over there.”
“It’s not red,” Kathy Addazio said.