With the 2012 season — and head coaching career of Frank Spaziani — both now over, it is possible to take stock of each. In the Eagles’ former head coach, one had a well-respected assistant who was amongst the weakest of the candidates available to replace Jeff Jagodzinski in 2009, and proved as much in the next four years. Spaziani was in well over his head, and diminishing returns attested to that fact as Boston College declined from nine wins the season before he took over to two in 2012.
Had Spaziani not been hired in 2009 to replace Jagodzinski, it is likely that his name would still carry some positive weight around BC today. Fans would say “oh, Spaz? He was a good defensive coordinator.” Now, he will go down as one of the worst head coaches this program has ever had, and the damage to his legacy is probably irreparable.
A reasonable expectation of Spaziani at his hiring was not that he would take the Eagles to new heights on the Heights, but that he might be able to consistently get Boston College into bowl games, replicating a Tom O’Brien level of success. After all, his hire was justified in the name of “continuity,” but the last four years were in many ways a stark departure from the decade that preceded it. The Eagles made two bowl games in his first two seasons, losing both, but then lost 18 of their last 24 in 2011 and 2012 to ensure that Boston College would not see postseason play again under Spaziani. Even with FCS teams scheduled each year, Spaziani could not stay above .500 as a head coach.
During the 2012 season, Boston College suffered some incomprehensibly bad losses, like the defeat at Army and a 51-7 pasting at Florida State. Indeed, Spaziani’s entire tenure went without a signature win.
• Spaziani went 0-10 against ranked teams
• 1-3 against Florida State
• 1-3 against Clemson
• 0-4 against Virginia Tech
• 0-4 against Notre Dame
Both of those teams that BC beat, Florida State in 2009 and Clemson in 2010, were 6-6 regular-season teams. Spaziani had to catch them when they were way down to squeak out wins. Otherwise, there are a lot of blowout losses sprinkled in there — for example, the Eagles have lost their last two games to FSU by 31 and 44 points, Notre Dame has posted two double-digit wins, and until 2012, Virginia Tech had only known large margins of victory against Spaziani.
The sooner we can admit to and agree that Frank Spaziani’s tenure as Boston College head coach was both a failure and a waste of four years, the sooner we can move on. It was as bad as it seemed, and the numbers concur.