August 31st marks the beginning of the 2013 Boston College football season. Grills will fire up, fans will fill the stands of Alumni Stadium, and a newly revamped BC squad will look to start its campaign on a winning note against Villanova. Over the next month, Associate Sports Editor Bill Stoll, who recently returned from a semester-long hiatus in Greece, will give you a refresher course on the new faces and atmosphere surrounding BC football.
Steve Addazio - Head Coach
Newly hired head coach Steve Addazio has undertaken the monumental task of improving a program that has struggled mightily its past few years. Addazio inherits a squad that has gone 6-18 over the last two years, and step one for him has been to change the recent losing culture surrounding BC Football.
It will be interesting to see if this plans out on the field, but so far it has certainly worked for him in recruiting. As of this writing, Addazio has already captured 16 commits (only one less than previous Head Coach Frank Spaziani was able to acquire the last two years), headlined by four-star prospects ILB Connor Strachan, the 20th-rated ILB in the nation, and DE Harold Landry--considered the top DE prospect in North Carolina.
Before coming to BC, Addazio was the head coach at Temple University, and the results he gained there should be cause for optimism around Chestnut Hill.
Over two years at Temple, he put together a 13-11 record, including a 9-4 record in 2011 which also saw Temple win its first bowl game since 1979. Though he only posted a 4-7 record in 2012, this could be due to Temple, formerly of the Mid-American Conference, moving into the Big East, a BCS Conference.
Prior to serving at Temple, Addazio spent time on Urban Meyer’s staff at the University of Florida, where he served as Offensive Line Coach from 2006-2008, winning two national championships during that span, before being promoted to Offensive Coordinator until leaving the program in 2010. While at Florida, the Gators had an overall record of 65-15.
Don Brown - Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
Don Brown is entering his first year as BC’s defensive coordinator, and he comes widely regarded as one of the premier defensive coaches in the Northeast. He is in his 32nd year of coaching, and has found great success as both a defensive coordinator and a head coach throughout that time.
As a head coach for Plymouth State (1993-95), Northeastern (2000-03), and Massachusetts (2004-08), he compiled a combined record of 95-45.
Following the 2008 season, he moved on to University of Maryland to become their Defensive Coordinator from 2009-2010. After struggling in 2009, going 2-10 and having the worst ranked defense in the ACC, Maryland rebounded in 2010, achieving a 9-4 record.
Over the course of the two years, Maryland’s defense improved from 98th in 2009 to 38th.
Brown was then hired as Defensive Coordinator at the University of Connecticut, where he served until coming to BC. During his time there UConn posted back-to-back 5-7 seasons, however he again vastly improved Connecticut’s defense over that time period, going from ranked 51st in 2011, to 22nd in 2012.
Ryan Day - Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
Ryan Day was Addazio’s offensive coordinator at Temple, and followed Addazio to BC where he holds the same position. Day had previously served as Wide Receivers Coach at BC from 2007-2011, before moving on to Temple. In 2012, Temple had the 31st ranked rushing attack, averaging over 200 yards per game.
In his time at BC, many receivers saw great success, including in 2010 the development of a wide receiver corps under then true-freshman quarterback Chase Rettig, a year that saw BC advance to a bowl game. Also during that time span, he coached Rich Gunnell, who would go on to break the BC career record for receiving yards.
Ben Albert - Defensive Line Coach
Another coach entering his first year at BC, Albert also came with Addazio after spending two years coaching linebackers at Temple.
Over that time he helped lead Temple to the third-ranked scoring defense in 2011. Prior to this, he had a one year stint with the Jacksonville Jaguars as Assistant Defensive Line Coach in 2010.
From 2006-2009, he was the Assistant Head Coach and Linebackers Coach at the University of Delaware, where he helped Delaware reach the FCS Championship in 2007, and to a combined 26-23 record.
Todd Fitch - Wide Receivers Coach
Fitch comes to BC after two years as Offensive Coordinator at the University of South Florida. USF went 8-18 during his tenure; however he did help improve the USF offense in terms of total rankings 75 positions between 2010 and 2011.
Prior to USF, he was Offensive Coordinator from 2007-2009 at East Carolina University. There, he lead an offense that never averaged less than 340 yards per game while he was there, and in 2007 the offense broke single-season school records for both points and touchdowns scored.
Justin Frye - Offensive Line Coach
Frye, another member of Addazio’s Temple staff to join him at BC, is only in his seventh year of coaching. After playing offensive tackle under Addazio at Indiana University, he served as a graduate assistant at IU from 2007-2008, before coaching with Addazio at Florida from 2009-2010.
At UF, he coached the Gator offensive line which had four players rush for over 300 yards in 2010, as well as mentor future NFL players Maurkice and Mike Pouncey, Marcus Gilbert, and Maurice Hurt.
In Frye’s first season at Temple, he coached an offensive line which helped set single-season school records in rushing yards and touchdowns. In 2012, he helped Temple build on its rushing success, tutoring an offensive line that blocked for the Big East’s top rushing attack in Montel Harris.
Kevin Lempa - Defensive Backs Coach
Lempa returns for his third coaching stint at Boston College, after holding the same position for the Eagles from 2003-2006, and coaching outside linebackers and special teams from 1981-1990.
Prior to 2013, he served as defensive coordinator for Columbia in 2012 and Central Connecticut State in 2011, the alma mater of Head Coach Steve Addazio.
After leaving BC in 2006, he coached defensive backs at Maryland until 2010. In 2007, the Maryland Pass Defense ranked 33rd in the country.
The last time he was at BC, the Eagles won bowl games every season from 2003-2006, and in 2006 he coached a secondary that captured the third-most interceptions in the nation, as well as boasted two All-ACC members as well.
Frank Leonard – Tight Ends Coach
Leonard, who served under Addazio at Temple in the same position, is now in his 6th year of coaching tight ends. Before coaching at Temple, he coached in the NFL for the St. Louis Rams as Tight Ends coach, and at Kansas State from 2007-2008. He has nearly 25 years of college coaching experience under his belt, carrying a passion for the game and a strong vocal presence on the practice field.
Leonard also graduated from Central Connecticut State University.
Sean McGowan - Special Teams/SAM Linebackers/Nickel Package Coach
McGowan, only in his second year as special teams coach, is another coach who followed Addazio from Temple. He coached inside linebackers and special teams at Temple from 2011-2012, and before this served as defensive coordinator at New Hampshire from 2007-2010.
Al Washington – Running Backs Coach
Washington is the only returning coach on the staff, and the 27-year old has taken an interesting track to becoming the running backs coach.
He played for BC from 2002-2005 as a defensive tackle, and after graduating he has worked exclusively on the defensive side of the ball, first as the defensive line coach for RPI in 2007, then as a defensive graduate assistant for NC State in 2008, followed by a stint as the DL coach at Slippery Rock University from 2009-2010, before moving on to Elon University and serving as the linebackers coach there.
Finally in 2012, Washington returned to his alma mater, where he was the assistant special teams and assistant defensive line coach for the Eagles. Washington helped RPI to a Liberty League Championship in 2007, and coached two All-American linebackers while at Elon.
Addazio and much of his current staff are featured in this 2012 documentary on Temple Football:
Feature Photo Courtesy of Billy Foshay / Gavel Media.
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School, major and year: A&S, History/Poly Sci double major, 2014
Hometown Buffalo, New York
What makes the Gavel so BANGin’? That’s easy, the people. No organization on BC’s campus gives its members the freedom to pursue the stories and ideas they come up with without stifling their creativity or shutting them down outright.
You have 24 hours to give prospective students a tour of BC and convince them to enroll. How do you spend the day? I start the day with your run-of-the-mill campus tour. Then I’d take the students to lunch at Eagle’s Nest, take them to a PULSE class with my former teacher, Professor Troxell. Eventually I’d work my way to dinner with some friends at Lower, and I’d make sure to take the students to a BC hockey game to finish up the night.
If you could go back in time and give yourself a pep talk the night before you moved into BC as a freshman, what is the most important piece of advice that you would give to your former self? By far the most important thing I would’ve told myself would be to not be so shy or concerned about putting a bad foot forward when meeting people. It took me a while to start to meet people at BC because I was so nervous getting there, and I wish I could sort of have a do-over and give that another shot.
What is your favorite study spot on campus? Easy question, the study desks on the 4th floor of O’Neil that face the plaza.
What is your go-to meal at Late Night? It depends on the night, honestly. Generally I’ll go with a steak and cheese with BBQ, but there are times when I go with a Hawaiian mini-pizza. Occasionally I’ll go with mozzarella sticks or chicken fingers. So I guess really anything I’m in the mood for, not too sure I have a “go-to”
What is the #1 most played song on your iTunes? Ever? "Hold Me Tight" by The Beatles. Lately? "And We Danced," by Macklemore
What is the best Halloween costume that you have ever worn? Probably Indiana Jones in 7th grade. That was a cool one.
If you could only eat at one restaurant for the rest of your life, which would you choose? Jims Steakout, a local Buffalo sub shop. Best chicken finger sub on the planet.
If you could befriend the main characters from any TV show or movie, who would you choose and why? From a TV show, definitely the main characters from "How I Met Your Mother." From a movie, Luke, Leia, and Han from "Star Wars."