Boston College Promotes Defensive Coordinator To Head Coach
January 13, 2009
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Boston College Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo has announced that Frank Spaziani has been named head football coach at Boston College.
"This is a very exciting day for our football program," DeFilippo said. "Last week, when we began a search for a new head football coach, we wanted someone with outstanding coaching credentials and a proven record of leadership. We wanted someone who would continue our tradition of recruiting top quality student-athletes who fit with our academic mission, who will represent our University with class and leave Boston College with a degree. We wanted someone who could hit the ground running, to make this a great recruiting class and next year's even better. We wanted someone who would be respected by our alumni, fans, staff, the news media, and most importantly, our student-athletes. And we wanted to find someone who really wanted to be at Boston College, more than anywhere else. We found the perfect person for that job right here on our staff. That person is Frank Spaziani."
"I want to thank Father Leahy, Gene DeFilippo, the administration and everyone who supported me throughout this process," Spaziani said. "I have been overwhelmed by the emails, letters and phone calls I have received, and it only enhances my belief that this is a wonderful place for a lot of reasons. The people are certainly a big part of it. I am fully committed to making this football program a source of pride for this University and everyone who cares about it."
The 2009 season will mark Spaziani's 13th year on the BC coaching staff, having spent his first two seasons as the Eagles' running backs coach and the past 10 as defensive coordinator. Under Spaziani's guidance, the Eagles consistently have fielded one of the top defenses in college football. In 2008, the Eagles ranked in the top 10 in the nation in seven defensive categories, including interceptions (first, 26); turnovers gained (second, 36); total defense (fifth, 268.14 ypg.); red zone defense (sixth, 72%); first downs allowed (sixth, 14.71 pg.); rushing defense (seventh, 91.2 ypg.), and pass efficiency defense (98.81). In addition, junior linebacker Mark Herzlich was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
In 2007 Spaziani's defense ranked second in the nation and led the ACC in rushing defense, allowing just 75.5 yards per game. The BC defense also ranked second in the ACC in red zone defense, keeping opponents from scoring nearly 72 percent of the time. Senior free safety Jamie Silva was a consensus All-America first-team selection and was one of three finalists for the 2007 Jim Thorpe Award, which is given to the nation's top defensive back. Silva was MVP of the 2007 Champs Sports bowl, in which he had two interceptions.
Spaziani was part of a staff that led that team to an 11-3 finish, the first BC team to win 11 games since 1940. The 2007 Eagles began the season 8-0 and were ranked No. 2 in the nation in both major polls. The team won the Atlantic Division of the ACC and went on to win an eighth consecutive bowl game. The Eagles finished 10th in the final AP poll, BC's best finish since the 1984 season.
Spaziani was credited with BC's 25-24 win over Navy in the 2006 Meineke Car Care Bowl as he served as Interim Head Coach following the departure of Tom O'Brien. In 2006, Boston College led the ACC with five defensive touchdowns. The Eagles were third in the ACC in scoring defense and Jo-Lonn Dunbar was named National Defensive Player of the Week when he scored two of BC's three defensive touchdowns vs. Maryland. In 2005, BC led the ACC in rushing defense (90.8 ypg.) and red zone defense (25-39, 64.1%) and were third in scoring defense (15.9 ypg.). The 2004 Eagles were ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring defense, top 20 in rushing defense and top 25 in pass efficiency defense. In 2003 BC was ranked second in the Big East in total defense and rushing defense. During the 2002 season, the Eagle defense was ranked 13th nationally in passing defense, 25th in pass efficiency defense, 23rd in scoring defense and 37th in total defense.
Spaziani joined the BC coaching staff after three seasons with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League. During his coaching tenure at Calgary, he served two seasons as the defensive coordinator. Prior to his coaching stint at Calgary, he served as the defensive coordinator for two years with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Spaziani spent nine years as a member of the Virginia coaching staff, where he was defensive coordinator for his last five seasons in Charlottesville, after having been defensive backs coach for the first four.
Spaziani has been a member of coaching staffs for teams that have reached 20 bowl games, including the 2008 Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl, the 2007 Champs Sports Bowl, the 2006 Meineke Car Care Bowl, the 2005 MPC Computers Bowl, the 2004 Continental Tire Bowl, the 2003 Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl (BC), the 2002 Motor City Bowl (BC), the 2001 Music City Bowl (BC), the 2000 Aloha Bowl (BC), the 1999 Insight.com Bowl (BC), the 1990 Sugar Bowl (Virginia), the 1989 Citrus Bowl (Virginia), the 1987 All-American Bowl (Virginia), the 1984 Peach Bowl (Virginia), the 1981 Liberty Bowl (Navy) and the 1980 Garden State Bowl and 1978 Holiday Bowl (Navy).
Spaziani is a 1969 graduate of Penn State, where he was a star defensive end on the Nittany Lions teams that tied Florida State in the 1967 Gator Bowl and defeated Kansas in the 1969 Orange Bowl. He began his coaching career in 1969 as a graduate assistant to Joe Paterno at Penn State. After three years as an assistant high school coach, he became head coach at Hempstead (N.Y.) High School in 1973, and, a year later, at Raritan (N.J.) High. He joined head coach George Welsh as an offensive assistant at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1975 and went with Welsh from Annapolis to Virginia in 1982.