Before You Make Doug Martin The Next BC Head Coach…


I think it’s time we settled something right here.

Nobody is more impressed than I am with how Chase Rettig improved under new offensive coordinator Doug Martin against Miami in the 2012 season opener. I am also pleased and gratified that the play-calling has become more creative; granted, that doesn’t take a lot considering that BC ran an ossified, conservative offense straight out of the 1950s for the past three years. With that said, Doug Martin should not be anointed as the frontrunner to be Frank Spaziani’s replacement.

I understand why it’s happening: (1) With a new athletic director likely to be named by the end of the year, Spaz’s days of head coaching and subsequent currying favor with the maintenance staff via turkey sandwiches and cole slaw are numbered, and (2) Martin is being viewed as a wizard for reanimating Boston College’s previously moribund offense. Nobody’s blaming anyone for thinking Martin should stick around, and frankly, if Rettig continues playing this well throughout the season, I would like to see him retained on the new staff (though a new coach couldn’t be held to that). Promoting him to head coach, however, is a bridge too far.

I mean no disrespect to Martin and I like him just fine, but his record is more that of a “career coordinator” than a head coach, even though he led Kent State’s Golden Flashes for seven years. We already have one of those, and look how that’s turning out. When Martin has had real success, he was managing the offense, not standing on the sidelines with the head coach’s headset, and by all accounts, he is doing a great job there in 2012. Likewise, Frank Spaziani was a solid defensive coordinator for BC, though not without his faults, but has been a below-average head coach. I think it’s time we moved beyond the days of bestowing the head coaching job upon someone out of perceived loyalty, or just giving it to the current assistant that we like the most.

Unlike Spaz before his BC hire, Martin does have a head coaching record, and it’s not good. At Kent State, he went 29-53 (21-35 MAC) with no winning seasons or bowl game appearances. Typically, when coaches get promoted from non-BCS programs, it’s because they did well. Would Martin have better talent here, one would hope, but the fact that he, in a lengthy head coaching stint, didn’t have much success gives me great pause.

The season is only 1/12th over, and there are definitely going to be other candidates available for next season. There’s no way to know who some of them will be in September, but when you add in some hungry lower-level coaches looking to move up, it’s not a stretch. In 2013, BC will have a great chance to reboot the program with some renewed confidence. An in-house hire would represent what’s likely to be a tremendous missed opportunity.

For Week 1, Doug Martin gets my seal of approval as offensive coordinator. There are eleven more to go, so it’s not even possible to make a final determination on his season, anyway, but he had a great debut. It’s nothing personal against Martin, I just happen to think he’s most effective where he is and BC can do better in the top spot next year. Thinking of him as the heir apparent is at best premature.