New BC football coach Steve Addazio: ‘This is my dream job’
|12.05.12 at 8:23 pm ET|
New Boston College football coach Steve Addazio was introduced to the media at a Wednesday afternoon press conference. Courtesy of BC’s media relations department, following is a transcript of Addazio’s comments.
“Good afternoon. I want to thank you for coming out, this is truly a great day, and an exciting day. I am humbled and very honored to stand here today as your head football coach at Boston College. This is my dream job and I have spent my coaching life at a lot of great places.
“All the friends that know me, knew that I one day wanted to be here at Boston College. The messages I have been receiving — “We’re so happy for you,” “We knew this is where you wanted to be.” Two years ago I had a chance to come back to the Northeast in Philadelphia, which was great. Now I have a chance to come to New England, which is truly home, and we are ecstatic.
“My dream was to come to a university that was all about the family concept. I grew up in a strong family with strong faith and now I have the opportunity to now lead a football program within a tremendous family. My wife, our family, the catholic faith is the centerpiece of our lives.
“As you look at me, I haven’t missed any meals. To have the opportunity to go to the North End to enjoy a plate of macaroni is something I am looking forward to.
“My wife, Kathy, she has been my life. My daughter Nicole works at Georgetown and graduated from the University of Florida. My daughter Jessica will be graduating in May from Central Florida and wants to get into elementary education. My son Louie is a scholarship tight end at Syracuse, that’s my family. I have a dog named Bailey, a golden retriever that is completely out of control.
“I’m here for the long haul and I’m here to win championships. Win championships with class and honor, developing young men on and off the football field. I want to develop men that are going to leave BC one day to go make a difference in this world in a positive way. I’m a teacher, so it’s important to me to know that I can be a small piece in the development of a young man.
“Our football program is going to be about a lot more than just football. It’s going to be about family, academics and making a difference in people’s lives.
“I want to thank Father [William] Leahy for letting me visit with him, which was special. Leo Sullivan [vice president, human resources] is a tremendous man with a great passion for Boston College. I have known of Brad Bates for a long time and he is one of the most respected athletic directors in the country. I knew if ever got a chance, I would want to work for someone like Brad, he gets it. I’m very fortunate to have a partnership with him, and we need to share a common vision to have a successful football program. When I met with Brad, Father Leahy, and Leo, I had never felt more in sync and aligned. That is the fundamental foundation of the development of this football program, I couldn’t feel better about that.
“I want to thank Bill Bradshaw, George Moore, President [Richard] Englert, Pat O’Connor and Lewis Katz at Temple who took a chance on Steve Addazio. I’m proud of the fact that we had a nine-win season and won a bowl for the first time in 30 years. I’m proud of our transition into the Big East and I’m mostly proud of the young men I had the privilege to coach. I’m proud that I could maybe be a small part in helping that program take the next step. I feel the two years as head coach at Temple were very important to my development.
“My six years at Florida included two national championships and the first 12-win season in school history. Being the offensive coordinator, associate head coach and then interim head coach proved to be great experiences. Indiana, Notre Dame, Syracuse, BCS games, conference championships, and national recruiting were all a part of me coming here. As I said earlier, Boston College is a family that I always wanted to be a part of.
“In athletics and academics, we’re all in this thing together as one. I have met Jerry York, what a guy, what a coach, what a program. I have the opportunity to go watch a program that operates a high level, maybe the highest level for any athletic program in the country. Steve Donahue is someone I haven’t had a chance to meet yet but I’m looking forward to it. Katie Crowley is someone whom I have met at the Under Armour outings along with Jerry York. I’m excited to work with the faculty and administration here at Boston College. I have gotten the chance to meet to with [vice president of mission and ministry] Father Jack Butler, [executive vice president] Pat Keating and [Carroll School of Management dean] Andy Boynton and they have been great. When I got the chance to meet them, I walked out of there energized. I get energized pretty easily. I just love people that you can tell are genuine, it isn’t a phony act.
“A Heisman trophy winner in Doug Flutie, I remember sitting in my family room and watching “The Pass.” I told Leo that I had a chance to be a graduate assistant here in 1981 under coach [Jack] Bicknell, but I decided to go chase my dreams in the NFL instead. I look at the impressive list of quarterbacks: Matt Ryan, Matt Hasselbeck and Glenn Foley, what a list. First-round picks Luke Kuechly, Anthony Costanzo, B.J. Raji, Matt Ryan and Mark Herzlich. I met Mark in the airport a couple of years ago and I was so impressed with the kind of young man he is.
“I walked on campus today and couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. You think about walking into the stadium and smelling the fans cooking in the parking lots, the perfect New England football day.
“We are all in the business of growth and development of student-athletes, and I want a partnership. I want a faculty that will come out to practice and be guest coaches. I want to walk around campus to meet the students and really enjoy this atmosphere. The city of Boston is an incredible city with a lot of passion, I think that will work fine with me.
“When you look at our video, I want you to see a team that plays with energy, passion and for the love of the game. I want a team that plays hard and a team that treats the game as a privilege, not a right. Coach [Bo] Schembechler at Michigan always talked about “the team, the team, the team.” One of my proudest moments of coaching came this past season after an overtime win. In the locker room everyone was chanting “the team, the team, the team,” and everyone was able to understand that’s all that mattered, the team. When you do something individually with no one to share it with, it has no meaning.
“The plan to win — I’ve got a simple plan to win. From a football standpoint — play great defense, run the football, score in the red zone, be great on special teams and don’t turn the ball over. That’s the plan to win. That’s what I fundamentally believe in. Offense, defense, special teams — I’ve been in them all. I’ve been in spread, I’ve been in option, I’ve been in ‘I,’ I’ve been in three tight ends, two tight ends, no tight ends, five wide. They all work. Our offense will be dictated by our personnel. We’re going to play to our strengths. We’re always striving for great balance.
“On defense, I never want to be a bend-but-don’t-break. I want to go after people on defense. Be aggressive. You don’t talk to your team like you’re in a boat and say, ‘Let’s go quarter throttle.’ Bam — you go full throttle. You bang it, and you go. That’s how I want it to be, ‘Hey guys let’s get fired up,’ not, ‘Take it easy.’
“Recruiting — we want student-athletes that embrace their education and have a passion for their game. We want captains of their teams with great character that understand it’s a privilege and not a right to play college football. Eighty percent of our players come from the Northeast, come from the Catholic leagues in Ohio, Chicago, Indianapolis, and of course we have a splattering nationally.
“Who wouldn’t be excited about Boston College? It has a premier education in the city of Boston in one of the most beautiful environments there is in the country. Recruit, recruit, recruit.
“Our staff — I’m going to bring great family men in here, great teachers with great passion and energy that align with the vision of Boston College. That’s my goal. That’s what’s going to happen. I’m in the process of meeting with the coaches and staff here. There are so many great people here, but my commitment is our staff when completed will have those traits. That’s so important.
“Boston College has had a great history and great teams — 1982 ranked eighth in the country, 1984 ranked fifth in the country, Top 25 teams in the 2000s, 2007 and 2008 back-to-back ACC championship games. BC had eight straight bowl wins from 2000 to 2007.
“Where are we right now as we stand here? We’re currently not playing in a bowl game. We’re disappointed. We’re hungry. I talked to the team earlier before we came in here. I said to the team, ‘As you sit in that chair I hope there’s a disappointment. I hope it hurts. I hope there’s a hunger. I hope there’s a drive. I hope that you understand that you came to Boston College to win championships. I hope that fuels you as we start this offseason workout program. Because we’re all striving for success, and we’re all competitors.’
“How are we going to get there? We’ll get there with a great offseason, by pushing each other, by pain and sacrifice, by strong will, a strong will, a great spring and summer, leadership by our seniors, and a foxhole mentality. That’s my job. We’re going to have the toughest offseason we’ve ever had with winter conditioning and spring football, because by pain and sacrifice you build bonds.
“We’re going to build great chemistry, and we’re going to feed off that hunger that’s in everybody’s belly and that disappointment. We’re going to drive. That’s what we’re going to do. That’s going to happen — step by step.
“In 1981, 1980 and 1979 I was at Central Connecticut State University. At the end of every season, I’d get in my car with a couple of buddies, and we’d drive up to see Boston College play Holy Cross every year. Even back then I knew I wanted to be a college football coach one day. We would drive up to that game, and of course this was the premier Division 1 football program in New England — in my world growing up in Connecticut — Boston College. I sat there, and I’d watch that game, and I said to myself, ‘One day I’d love to bring my team out on that field.’
“I’m honored, I’m humbled, I’m excited, and I’m determined. You’re going to get the best out of Steve Addazio, my family, my staff, and my program. I’m proud to be a Boston College Eagle, and I won’t let you down. I’ve got drive, I’ve got energy, and I’ve got a love and passion for what I do, for these student-athletes, and for Boston College.
“Thank you for coming today. Thank you for listening to me. I’m looking forward to a great relationship with everybody here — media, coaches, faculty. This is an open door here for everybody to come in, to visit, to watch, to be a part of, to wrap yourself around and get excited about. We’re one family, and together we’re going to have great success. Go Eagles.”
What’s does the long haul mean for you?
I want to be here and finish my career here. This is where I want to be. I have a home up in Cape Cod. I’m in New England. I’m at the most wonderful place I could possibly be at. I couldn’t be more clear about that.
What makes you think you can win a national championship at Boston College?
I think that any time you’re at an institution like this which has a great tradition, has a beautiful campus, has a great education in a city like we’re in, you can recruit, you can build, you can compete, and you can win a national championship. It’s been done. It’s been done at a lot of places. That’s the job, that’s the mission, that’s what we strive for. I’ve been in a couple of those. I’ve been there when the confetti comes down with the feeling and the elation after all the hard work that goes into it. There’s absolutely no reason why that can’t be accomplished at Boston College.
How difficult was it for you to leave Temple?
It’s very hard. You build relationships with players. You build relationships with people. You’re invested, and you feel like you’ve got a great future. You come off a season where you’ve invested in a young football team, and you know there are great rewards, but the facts of the matter are this is a place that I always wanted to be. This was the job that Steve Addazio wanted to come to.
I explained that to Temple. I loved it at Temple, but when I said this was my dream job, this really was my dream job. These opportunities to get where you want to be don’t come that easily. While it’s very hard to do that, and I know in this world we’re in where coaches bounce around, it’s hard to stand here, I’m just telling you that’s the truth. That’s how I feel. That’s why I came here. That’s why I’m pretty emotional about being here because there has been a lot of time and a lot of dreams, and I’m here. It’s hard to believe.
What kind of message do you hope to impart on BC despite leaving Temple after two seasons?
The message I wanted to send to BC was how much passion I have and how much I wanted to be here, how important this was for me, and how much I cherish this opportunity that I would leave Temple to come here. This was my dream. I’m just honored, and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to come here. I think that’s what speaks volumes to Boston College because the people that have met me and have gotten to know me understand that my word is so important to me.
What areas are you hoping to improve on the football field?
I’ve seen a fair amount of tape, and I would say that I feel like we can have an immediate impact on our run game. Where I’ve been in my career, we’ve been in the top five in America in running the football be it at Temple, Florida or Syracuse. As a former offensive line coach and as a run game coordinator and offensive coordinator, I feel I have a special expertise in the running game. I’m excited about that.
I also know we have a very talented quarterback who throws the ball extremely well. I’m looking forward to having that opportunity to have tremendous balance. Having a quarterback that is a gifted thrower supported by a powerful run game as a balanced offense gives you a great opportunity in order to win championships in the ACC.
I also think that special teams — I’ve been a part of them my whole career — as a head coach I’m very involved in special teams. I think special teams make an immediate impact. When the head coach runs the special teams, you’re talking about field position. When the ball is kicked off to you, and you can bring it out past the 35, you have a great opportunity if get two or three first downs. It’s a field-position game. You pin the ball inside the 10 — there’s about a 90 percent chance you won’t score a touchdown if you start with the ball inside your own 10. There’s another stat where if you block a punt there’s a 90 percent chance you’re going to win the football game. Whether you’re punting, kicking or kick returning, special teams impact the game. We’re going to be dynamic on special teams.
Of course on defense it’s all about stopping the run. Those are categories where I think we can make an immediate impact. I believe in the offseason with our really challenging offseason program building that mental and physical toughness is critical.
How gratifying is it to have landed at BC?
I’ve always had great interest in Boston College, as I’ve said. Sometimes you just have to have faith that one day you’ll have that opportunity. The right things came together for me and for Boston College. In our business it doesn’t always happen in our time, but it came together, and I just couldn’t be happier or prouder. Great things are worth waiting for. This was the right time and the right place.
What are you looking for in an offensive and defensive coordinator?
I’m looking for a lot of the same principles and characteristics that I said about all of our coaches, but I think as a head coach you’re responsible for the whole program, and your coordinators they are the head coaches of the offense and defense. You’re looking for great leadership. You’re looking for a coordinator who can address the room and develop and motivate the room and develop great relationships.
I’ve already made a decision that Ryan Day is going to be our offensive coordinator. Ryan’s spent a lot of time here. I think he’s one of the brightest young coaches in our business right now. I’m so excited that Ryan is on my staff. He’s just one of those special guys. His personality is infectious. He’s a great leader, a great husband, and a great father. As we put together our staff those are the characteristics on offense, defense and special teams. Those coordinators are basically head coaches of those units.
I look for the traits that you look for in a head football coach — someone that can be dynamic, someone that can lead, and someone that can inspire. It’s not very complicated. We all — myself included — enjoy when someone has a plan, excitement, and energy, and you can look into their eyes and you can believe in their vision and you trust in them. That’s what it’s all about. We’ll have those kind of guys.
How would you compare Temple’s situation in the city of Philadelphia with BC’s situation in Boston?
I think my experience at Temple was a great experience. I’m a big believer that we’ve got to put a great product on the field. We’ve got to put an exciting product on the field. As the head football coach I’ve got to be able to engage our fans, the alumni, the media, and the city of Boston and create a buzz. I think with a good product and success, you can do very well in a pro market.
I think that what happens is in big markets like this, you can allow your program not to have a buzz about it. It was that way at Temple. I thought we did a great job there of creating that buzz and increasing our attendance from the high teens to the high 20s and ready to head into the middle 30s.
It’s all about engaging and having people be a part of our program. We all want to be a part of something that’s exciting and engaging. No one wants to be a part of something that’s boring and not engaging. That’s what we strive for, and that’s what we continue to strive for. That’ll happen. That’ll get done, and I’m looking forward to it.