College Football: Jagodzinski fired by BC
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 7, 2009
BOSTON ó The man who fired Jeff Jagodzinski for interviewing with the New York Jets called Wednesday the hardest day in his 12 years as Boston College’s athletic director.
Athletic director Gene DeFilippo declined to speculate during a 20-minute news conference ó at which he said “I love Jags” ó if the coach preferred the technical, Xs-and-Os job of an NFL coach to the college job with its recruiting and glad-handing of supporters.
He seemed to choke back tears as he discussed his decision to fire Jagodzinski over “a difference of vision for the future.”
“I really don’t know” if he preferred the pro game, DeFilippo said. “You would have to ask Jeff that.”
Two players praised the coach and agreed with DeFilippo.
“If there were any indications, we didn’t see it,” said junior Mark Herzlich, one of the nation’s top linebackers.
Tight end Ryan Purvis didn’t either during Jagodzinski’s two seasons at BC.
“I thought it was the opposite,” said Purvis, taking a break from his West Coast workouts for the NFL draft combine Feb. 18-24. “I thought he preferred the college game. He really enjoyed the team aspect of it. The next level is more like a business.”
Jagodzinski wasn’t talking.
A phone number listed for his home had been disconnected.
“I am so proud of what these students-athletes and our staff have accomplished during our tenure here,” Jagodzinski said in a statement released by the school.
He went through with his interview for the Jets head coaching job Tuesday even though DeFilippo told him three days earlier that he would be fired if he did. The job came open with the firing of Eric Mangini.
Jagodzinski, 45, had three years left on the five-year contract he signed for his first head coaching job after serving as an assistant for the previous eight years in the NFL and another 14 in college. He took BC to the Atlantic Coast Conference title game twice, losing both to Virginia Tech. The Eagles were ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation in 2007 and were a combined 20-8 under Jagodzinski.
“Coach Jags has been a great coach,” Herzlich said in a phone interview. “He’s really brought a lot to our team and brought enthusiasm that we’ve played off of.”
But his departure “really doesn’t affect my decision” about whether to return for his senior season and play for his third coach in four years. He said he expects to announce this week that he will be back, cooling speculation he might enter the NFL draft.
DeFilippo doesn’t think Jagodzinski’s departure late in the recruiting period will weaken the incoming class.
Jagodzinski was fired “without cause,” DeFilippo said, an indication that his contact with the Jets did not violate his contract and that he would receive at least some money remaining on his deal.