An open letter to Frank Spaziani and Gene DeFilippo

October 1, 2011

Dear Sirs,

I have been a Boston College sports fan since I first set foot on our wonderful campus in 2004. In that time, I have experienced a number of Eagles sports, including football, and was exposed to a highly-addictive source of school pride (our teams). In 2009, I decided I wanted to start discussing my views on Eagles sports with other fans like me, and so I started Soaring to Glory. I have been following what has been going on in the past three football seasons and interacting with your Superfans and alums, and many of them have now reached the same conclusion that I did last season: Frank Spaziani must be fired immediately.

Not at the end of the season, and certainly not at the end of next season. Immediately. Why delay the inevitable, and why delay what will doubtlessly be a long and painful restoration of our football program? As it stands, I figure we are years away from being relevant once again if we changed course right now. The longer we wait, the harder it will be and the longer it will take to rehabilitate our failed football team. You may disagree with that assessment, sirs, but it most certainly is a failed football team. Fans are booing you, empty seats are showing up on the TV screen, and confidence in our boys is the lowest I have seen it in my eight years of watching this program. This school is 1-4 after having gone through the easiest part of its schedule, and is well on its way to losing double-digit games. Make no mistake, this team is a disaster.

It isn’t like we, the fans, just woke up this morning and decided it was a failure, either. Since Coach Spaz took the helm in 2009, the trendline for this program has been straight down. The Eagles went from eight wins (and a bowl loss) to seven (and a bowl loss, with the easiest schedule we’ve had in years), to a completely embarrassing collapse that is making even the most rosy of Eagles fans doubt your abilities to lead this program. This will have an injurious impact on recruiting, fan support, and, probably most importantly to the folks sitting at desks at Alumni Stadium and on Middle Campus, Flynn Fund donations. Frankly (no pun intended), you folks don’t deserve a dime right now.

What makes it worse is that the upper echelons of the Boston College football program and university at large seem to be oblivious to it. Sure, people find out about the tremendous academics which BC offers, and I’m happy to have one of your diplomas hanging on my wall, but lots of people watch college football every week. You know what the average fan thinks about us right now? That our school is a joke. They saw us lose to Northwestern, Central Florida, Duke, and Wake Forest — three of those games at home in front of our own fans — with only one meaningless victory against UMass stuck in the middle. Our reputation as a football program is at the lowest point it’s been in my time of following Boston College sports. If you’re content with the knowledge that half of America is laughing at the mere mention of Boston College, then you shouldn’t be here.

Mr. Spaziani, I don’t know you personally, and I doubt I ever will. This is not a personal matter, rather a business one. It is plainly obvious now to the vast majority of Boston College Eagles football fans, as well as Atlantic Coast Conference and other college football fans who keep a close eye on this program, that you are in way over your head. Including that fortuitous bowl game victory over Navy right after Tom O’Brien jumped ship, you are now 14-15 against FBS competition. Before you took over, we were nationally ranked and playing in the ACC title game a couple times. Now, fans are wondering if we’re going to have more or less than ten losses this season. You and your coaches have played an integral role in obliterating Boston College football, but not only that, its pride, its passion, and its respectability. We have fallen an incredibly long way in just a few years’ time.

What angers me is that you are ripping off my alma mater. Not just financially, because every time you get a paycheck from my school, I feel like it’s not being earned, but also in screwing the players. Look at the talent you have at your disposal: Chase Rettig, Montel Harris, Luke Kuechly, Kevin Pierre-Louis, onward and onward. These guys came here expecting to play for a good team, to make names for themselves, and to enjoy their four years of Boston College football. They aren’t going to get any of those things for as long as you and your coaches are still here. I know I speak for virtually every Eagles fan today when I say I feel terribly for the kids in uniform, particularly the seniors like Montel Harris who are going out on what looks like a dreadful low. They are getting utterly screwed out of their dream and they deserve far better.

Your teams make the same mistakes every week. They (as a whole) are undisciplined, doing the wrong things, going to the wrong places, and playing the wrong way. What makes this a damning indictment on you and your coaching staff is that no matter who they play, unless it’s a cupcake team like UMass or Weber State, they aren’t getting better. Nothing you do, if you do anything at all, is sinking in. If you haven’t lost your team yet, and I don’t purport to know what goes on in a BC locker room, see where you stand on that front when you leave Lane Stadium at 1-6.

This team is far, far better than 1-4. The Eagles have no business losing to some of these teams to whom they’ve packed it in, and yet, here we are. The long-term prognosis for Eagles football under your guidance is also incredibly bleak. If you do not have the integrity to resign, then I call upon you, Mr. DeFilippo, to fire him. I also call upon you to truly conduct a national search for a replacement. I feel, however, that I need to alert our Athletic Director to the point that there is, in fact, a lot of America west of I-495. That was roughly the frontier of BC football’s last “national” coaching search, and I sincerely hope that this time, you will have the intrepidity to venture beyond MetroWest and find us a totally new voice for this team.

As a Boston College alum and concerned fan, I want to see wholesale changes. It does not give me much joy to see you patting the coach on the back for buying lunch for BC employees when the football team is crashing into the abyss at warp speed. If you cannot see, or are unwilling to see, the disaster that has unfolded at your feet, then you, too, are at a crossroads. Everybody else sees it now, so I would have to believe that a man such as yourself has the intellect to realize the catastrophe that is Boston College football.

In short, sirs, we, your loyal fans, are getting ready to jump ship. This team’s repeated failure, compounded by the unwillingness at the top to do something proactive to solve it, is driving your core fanbase away in droves. We are embarrassed, but we are also resilient. We want this football program to be great, and for that to happen, it must be rebooted. Please, Mr. DeFilippo, end our long nightmare now.

Soaring to Glory

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