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Friday, January 23, 2009
Another coach departs BC

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Boston College offensive line coach/assistant head coach Jack Bicknell Jr. resigned this week, reportedly because he was under the impression he would be a leading candidate to be the Eagles' head coach if the position ever opened.

Bicknell actually was one of the top candidates to replace Jeff Jagodzinski earlier this month, but according to the Globe, Bicknell still felt misled by athletic director Gene DeFilippo. DeFilippo declined to comment for this article.

There are no guarantees, though, and if anyone knows that, it's DeFilippo.

DeFilippo was under the impression Jagodzinski would stay the length of his five-year contract, and felt a bond of trust had been broken when his head coach decided to start job hunting after two seasons. Bicknell was under the impression the title assistant head coach actually meant something.

Three Boston College coaches have now willingly walked away -- Jagodzinski could have saved his job but blatantly ignored a request from his boss not to interview with the Jets, offensive coordinator Steve Logan resigned, and now Bicknell left to join former BC coach Tom Coughlin and the Giants. Don't forget former offensive line coach Jim Turner, who also abruptly resigned two years ago and is now at Texas A&M. And of course, Tom O'Brien wasn't given much of a choice.

To be fair, Logan was one of Jagodzinski's hires, and had basically come out of retirement and radio to coach with him again, so his departure isn't too surprising. Bicknell was never promised the head-coaching job, and was given an opportunity to interview for it. DeFilippo hired the right man for the job, and the staff changes are consistent with most head-coaching transitions. Loyalty -- or perhaps more accurately miscommunication -- appears to be an underlying issue at Boston College, and it starts at the top.

How else do you explain the departure of two assistants with significant ties to the program and area?

Bicknell's father, Jack, was head coach at BC from 1981-90, and Bicknell earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees from BC. He was the starting center when Flutie threw the Hail Mary pass to defeat Miami in 1984. Anyone connected to Flutie is forever linked with BC. This couldn't have been an easy decision for Bicknell, considering his father's place in school history.

Turner, a native of Braintree, Mass., was a two-year starter for coach Jack Bicknell as a fullback. He was named a team captain his senior year and earned a degree in sociology in 1988. He, too, walked away from his roots.

That adds up to two former head coaches and two assistant coaches who are no longer in Chestnut Hill in part because of decisions DeFilippo made. He fired Jagodzinski "without cause," but made public his desire for a coach who is loyal for the length of his contract. The irony of that situation is he had a loyal coach in O'Brien.

Ask DeFilippo's former Big East counterparts what they think of his loyalty.

Now, coach Frank Spaziani is tasked with finding a new offensive coordinator, a new defensive coordinator and a new offensive line coach, not to mention assure all of his recruits that everything is just fine and dandy in Chestnut Hill. If the coaches and athletic director can't honor their commitments, why should the recruits?

Because the coach that matters most -- Spaziani -- isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

That's one thing the folks at BC seem to be able to guarantee.