Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Addazio's excitement is contagious
By Jack McCluskey
New BC coach Steve Addazio made a strong first impression on his players.
NEWTON, Mass. -- Like many interested observers, more than a few Boston College players were surprised by Brad Bates' hire of Steve Addazio to be their next football coach.
"A lot of the guys were surprised," quarterback Chase Rettig said. "This is why you can't listen to everything that's going on in the media, because there's a lot of names out there and Coach Addazio wasn't necessarily one of the different things people were talking about."
No, Addazio wasn't mentioned in many (any?) reports, but he's here now. The new coach introduced himself to the team in a 2 p.m. team meeting in the Barber Room of the Yawkey Center, then met with the media, boosters and athletic department staff in the same room an hour later.
And while Bates might have been stealthy about whom he was hiring, there's little stealthy about the man he hired.
A big man with a bald head and a booming baritone, Addazio can make quite the first impression.
"Obviously he brings a lot of passion and enthusiasm," Rettig said. "He wants to create a buzz for our football program."
In regard to personal style -- and certainly volume -- the difference from former coach Frank Spaziani couldn't be starker. While Spaziani sometimes seemed to be whispering in postgame sessions with the media, Addazio barely needed the microphone on the podium.
Heck, he barely even used the podium, instead wandering around behind it, gesturing to accentuate his points.
The energy, which Bates mentioned multiple times Tuesday night after announcing the hire, is already rubbing off on his new charges.
"Just having him in here today, it made me very excited," linebacker Steele Divitto said. "He's basically told us to buckle up and be ready for a tough offseason, and I'm looking forward to it. And I'm looking forward to this team's successes going forward."
Divitto said he knew Addazio a little previously, since both are Connecticut natives. The linebacker is impressed with his résumé, but the first thing he mentioned was that personality.
"He brings a lot of energy to the table," Divitto said. "I think it's very important to have a head coach that the players get excited to play for. It makes the game more exciting, it makes the players more excited, it makes it more enthusiastic. It makes them want to be out there and compete at the highest level.
"And that's something that a lot of guys have been looking for, and it seems like we're getting it now."
Said Rettig: "He's bringing passion, enthusiasm and he wants to do something special."
But back to that résumé for a moment. In two years at Temple, Addazio went 13-11 (9-4 the first year, 4-7 the second) and won a bowl game (37-15 over Wyoming in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl in 2011). Before that, he spent six years on Urban Meyer's staff at Florida, where he helped the Gators win two BCS National Championship Games (in 2006 and 2008).
Being at Florida in those halcyon days, of course, meant he also coached a certain famous quarterback who now plies his trade (sparingly) in New York.
"Even the guys he's coached, Tim Tebow," Divitto said. "I love Tim Tebow. He's extremely passionate, extremely intense. I love that. That's kind of the way I am. So personally I'm very excited. I know a lot of the guys are excited, as well."
On Wednesday, Addazio wore one of the rings he got in his time at Florida -- an accessory not lost on the Eagles.
"Experience is a big thing, because the more experience they bring to the table the faster kids will buy in," Divitto said. "And that's what we're looking for."
In Addazio, the Eagles hope they've found the coach they were looking for. Now, all that's left to do is to get to work.
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.