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Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Addazio reveals BC's mantra: Be a dude

By Jack McCluskey, Special to ESPNBoston.com

Steve Addazio laughed.

Standing outside Fenway's State Street Pavilion after a breakfast event supporting the Positive Coaching Alliance, the new Boston College coach was fielding questions about his first few months on the job.

"I can't comment on recruiting this time of year other than to say we're really excited about where we are," he said, "and it just reinforces every day that Boston College is just a phenomenal place. And having the city of Boston and being a part of that is special.

"I mean who wouldn't want to go to school at BC and be a part of Boston? It's just a phenomenal place."

After three consecutive seasons of diminishing win totals (from seven to four to two), increasing loss totals (from six to eight to 10) and subpar recruiting, longtime coach Frank Spaziani was let go at the end of last season and Addazio was brought in to turn things around.

And all of a sudden the Eagles' 2014 recruiting class is ranked No. 25 in the country by ESPN's RecruitingNation. (The class ranks even higher elsewhere, checking in at No. 19 according to Rivals.com.)

Addazio and his staff have 16 commitments (most in the ACC) to date in the class, including two four-star recruits and nine three-star recruits. There's a highly regarded running back, a dual-threat quarterback and even a Flutie (Troy, son of Darren and nephew of Doug) in the class.

"The Eagles were an afterthought on the recruiting trail the past few years, even in their own region," RecruitingNation wrote in the class rankings. "But Steve Addazio has a lit a fire under the program, and he has not coached a single game."

Yet what might stand out most about the recent changes in Chestnut Hill, and what made Addazio laugh, is the mantra that's taken root with the current and future Eagles.

The message boils down to three words: Be a dude.

It started with defensive coordinator Don Brown.

"That's his saying all the time, be a dude," Addazio said. "And what being a dude is is being a baller. You know? Just being a real baller. Just being a dude.

"Be great. Be a baller. Be great at what you are. Just don't be average."

That message found a receptive audience in the Eagles' locker room.

"It just resonated with our team, you know what I mean?" Addazio said. "It just started kinda, 'Hey, be a dude, man. Be a dude.' And then we got going with recruiting and it kinda really caught on."

Just how it's caught on highlights another change in Chestnut Hill: The coaching staff has joined the 21st century.

Oh, sure, Spaziani had a Twitter account. He just didn't care to use it.

That won't be the case with Addazio and his staff.

"When I came in here, the No. 1 priority was recruit, recruit, recruit, recruit, recruit," he said. "So I'm gonna challenge myself. As the head coach, I've gotta drive recruiting. And so I had to challenge myself to get outside of my comfort zone, too. I've always recruited well and enjoyed recruiting, but this year I started taking on more with the whole Twitter thing and the Instagram and everything."

Now Eagles fans can follow the new head coach (@BCCoachAddazio), both coordinators (Brown, @fbcoachdbrown, and offensive coordinator Ryan Day, @ryandaytime) and a host of assistant coaches.

"I said, 'You know what, we're all gonna get outside of our comfort zone, we're just gonna press it as hard as we can and we're just going after this thing,'" Addazio said of the social media push. "And it's gotta start and I've gotta drive it. I'm really proud of our guys and our staff because we've really gotten after this thing and we've had a bunch of fun with it."

That fun seems to include seeing just how many ways they can include the new "#BeADude" mantra (or some version of it) in their social media messages:

Finishing out a great week of camps with a one-day camp here at the Heights! What a Great Day to Coach some Dudes!

— Don Brown (@FBCoachDBrown) June 15, 2013


One of the more prolific posters is running backs coach Al Washington, who often includes images in his tweets:

16th Student Athlete In Class Of 14' Has Decided To Become A #Dude Great Weekend For BC #Beadude #14dreamchasers pic.twitter.com/6aMR9U0ha0

— Al Washington (@BCCoachWash) June 17, 2013


"We've got a good group of guys," Addazio said of his staff. "It's low ego, so you can challenge each other. That's what it's all about.

"We've got guys who wouldn't have known Instagram from I don't know what, but now we're getting Instagrams going and we're Twittering. It's hilarious, but it's great. It's a mindset. We've gotta have that mindset."

They've gotta be dudes.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.