Last night, an interesting debate erupted on the ol’ “Twitter machine,” and it’s one that most Boston College fans who are well-acquainted with the coaching search have probably considered by now. It is fair to say at this point, without knowing any further details on how many times he has interviewed or when he plans to meet Brad Bates, that Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco is a serious candidate for the Eagles’ job. With that said, a unique scenario is unfolding, as Diaco is slated to coach the Irish defense in the national title game on January 7. If hired by Boston College, there becomes an issue regarding when his job would start.
Now, before we go any further, it must be stressed again that this is only presumptive, and this website has no inside knowledge from which to imply Diaco is being hired. This is merely a hypothetical debate that Brad Bates, and Diaco himself, are probably having.
The issue at hand is that you’ve got two camps. One says that Diaco should walk away from Notre Dame immediately and devote himself to Boston College, particularly on the recruiting trail. The other says that if he wants to stay and coach his defense in the BCS Championship, then that would be fair because, after all, it’s technically the only bowl game that isn’t an exhibition.
Those on the “Diaco should leave now” side would make several arguments: Boston College needs the extra month from Diaco to rebuild and Notre Dame would only be losing a coordinator, not a head coach, so someone can simply fill in. On the other side, they argue that if BC were to hire an NFL coach, we would have the same problem of waiting for the coach to start (especially now, since you can’t ask an NFL coordinator to quit in the middle of the regular season), and that the assistants can pick up the recruiting slack, as they’ve done already, until Diaco starts.
It’s interesting to ponder, but it’s not one of those situations where there’s “no right or wrong answer” because there definitely is a right answer: whatever Brad Bates and Father Leahy say it is. If Diaco wants the BC job but desires to wait until after January 7 to start, will Bates spurn him? That’s a fair question to consider, but we don’t know Bates’ thoughts on the matter. If he wants a coach to be able to start immediately, then that would probably eliminate the NFL guys for the aforementioned mid-season quitting reasons, but it could also present a problem in that BC might swipe a lesser coach just because they’re not willing to wait. That would seem counterproductive.
Only one recent scenario comes to mind that is somewhat analogous: Penn State’s Bill O’Brien was hired a month before his season with the New England Patriots ended, and despite being named the Nittany Lions’ coach, he remained offensive coordinator through the Super Bowl. O’Brien lost a month in recruiting and things have definitely gone better than expected there, but that’s them and this is Boston College; who knows if we would be so lucky.
Nevertheless, chances are that if Bob Diaco is hired by Boston College to rebuild this program, he will have some decisions to make about his short-term future with Notre Dame and how much help he can be to his new school prior to January 7. If he is hired, of course.