Boston College fires football coach Spaziani


Boston College fires football coach Spaziani

BOSTON (AP) New Boston College athletic director Brad Bates is looking for a football coach who ``oozes integrity,'' someone who cares about the students and someone who wins.

Two out of three wasn't good enough for Frank Spaziani.

Spaziani was fired Sunday after 16 years at the school, the last four as head coach of a team that lost more games in each successive season.

``This is a very performance-based business,'' Bates said at a news conference at Alumni Stadium to announce his first major move since being hired by BC last month. ``Ultimately, winning and losing make a great deal of difference.''

The decision was widely expected, and Spaziani all but spoke openly about his understanding that it would be his last year. Asked on Saturday if he would make his case to stay, Spaziani told reporters in Raleigh, N.C. after Saturday's game, ``I do have a case.''

``Obviously this is a sad day for my family and me,'' Spaziani said in a statement released by the school. ``Boston College has been my home for more than 16 years, and I have been fortunate to work with some amazing student-athletes. I will always treasure my relationships with them and the BC staff. Boston College is a tremendous place, and I am extremely thankful for my time there. I wish the current and future Eagles nothing but the best.''

Spaziani finished 22-29 as the head coach, including the bowl game he coached at the end of the 2008 season after Jeff Jagodzinski was fired for interviewing for an NFL job. The Eagles finished 2-10 (1-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) this season, wrapping it up with a 27-10 loss at North Carolina State that gave them double-digit losses for the second time in school history.

``It was kind of expected, I guess. We've heard the rumors,'' said junior receiver Bobby Swigert, sitting in a wheelchair with his right leg in a cast. ``You try to ignore them during the season, but we knew this was likely they were going to shake it up in some way.''

Spaziani, 65, spent 12 years as a BC assistant, the last 10 as defensive coordinator, before taking over a team that had made it to the ACC title game in back-to-back years. The Eagles won eight games his first season, seven the next and four last year.

Bates spoke to the team on Sunday afternoon, and then spoke to the seniors as a group to ask for their input on Spaziani's replacement.

``I have a lot of respect for the guy. He was a huge reason why I came here,'' Swigert said. ``I love the guy. ... He knows the game of football. He gave however many years to BC; you have to respect that, and I do.''

The new coach will be the first significant hire for Bates, who was brought in from Miami of Ohio last month when Gene DeFilippo stepped down after 15 years in Chestnut Hill. Bates said he is looking for someone who can win while also maintaining a strong academic record.

``We want someone that oozes with integrity, someone who genuinely cares about the students, and we want someone who is going to win,'' Bates said. ``Spaz clearly is a man of integrity. He genuinely cared about his students. The performance, obviously, in the last couple of years, suffered.''

A New Jersey native who played for Joe Paterno at Penn State, Spaziani had three years remaining on a contract that paid him $1.1 million per year. He did not address the team on Sunday, preferring to meet with players individually during the week.

``I'm very appreciative for him granting me this opportunity,'' linebacker Steele Devitto said. ``He's been here 16 years. He will be missed. He's made a significant difference to Boston College and he's very appreciated. I wish him the best.''

The assistant coaches remain under contract, but none of them is a candidate for the head job, Bates said. He would not comment on potential candidates; Harvard coach Tim Murphy has been mentioned as a possibility.

``This is an incredibly significant hire,'' Bates said. ``It's not about me. It's not about my stamp (on the program). This is about a football program that has a storied history of achievement. It's about our current and future students.

``I'm really a caretaker of the great things that have happened in the past of this program, and hopefully a catalyst in returning to those standards.''

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

Here are five plays or moments from the Wizards' 109-102 win over the Pacers on Saturday night that are worth revisiting... 

1. The Wizards took care of business against the Pacers on Saturday night and in doing so earned an important advantage in the playoff race. They won the season series and therefore own a tiebreaker for playoff seeding and currently that would mean home court advantage in the first round if the playoffs began today.

The Wizards took control early and part of that effort were five first-half assists by Bradley Beal. He ended up with 19 points, but some of his best plays were passes.

On this one, he executed a perfect pick-and-roll with Marcin Gortat:


2. This was another pretty pass to Gortat. Tomas Satoransky, who had 12 points and eight assists, fed Gortat with a nice reach-around pass on a play that featured some impressive ball movement overall:

3. This was a great moment. The Wizards had a member of the military surprise his niece on the court. She literally did not see it coming:


4. These last two plays are dunks by Kelly Oubre, Jr., who finished with 16 points. On this play, he cut through the and threw down with authority:

5. This dunk was set up by a beautiful pass from Ramon Sessions. It traveled about three-quarters of the court and Oubre did the rest:

The Wizards now have three days off before their next game as they sit fourth in the Eastern Conference. Things are trending positive for the Wizards as the playoff race heats up.

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Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

The Washington Wizards beat the Indiana Pacers 109-102 on Saturday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Important victory: Saturday night's game between the Wizards and Pacers had several layers of playoff implications on the line and it was Washington who rose to the occasion and showed the urgency commensurate for the stakes.

By beating the Pacers, the Wizards locked up the season series between the teams, two games to one. That gives them the tiebreaker for playoff seeding if the teams finish the regular season with the same record. That could very well prove paramount. As of now, the Wizards and Pacers have the same record (40-30) with 12 games to go.

The season series advantage means the Wizards are above the Pacers in the standings despite having the same record. They moved into fourth place in the East with the win and the Cavs slotted back into third. There will likely be a lot more movement as these next few weeks play out, but the Wizards now hold an important edge over the Pacers.

The win also pushed the Wizards to 14-8 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. Wall could return this coming week or the week after and the Wizards have more than stayed afloat during his absence.

The Wizards' magic number to make the playoffs is now just five. 


Sato went off: The Wizards jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter mostly thanks to a hot start from Tomas Satoransky, who scored the Wizards' first five points and had 10 by the end of the first quarter.

Satoransky's floater was automatic. He dropped in several in the lane from all different angles. Satoransky was practicing the same shots, floaters off each foot, the day before in practice and it paid off.

It was a well-rounded night for Satoransky. In addition to his 12 points, he also had eight assists and five rebounds, including this one to find Marcin Gortat for the dunk:

Gortat came up big: Speaking of Gortat, the Wizards' big man had one of his best games of the season. He poured in 18 points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists a steal and a block. Gortat shot 6-for-8, consistently having his way on the block.

The Pacers were without two of their best big men in Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis and Gortat took advantage of that. He was way too much for Al Jefferson.

The Pacers tried to roll with small-ball lineups using Trevor Booker and Thaddeus Young as their big men, but it didn't work. Gortat was too big for them and his teammates did a great job finding him for open looks.

Gortat's 18 points were his most since Jan. 3 when he had a season-high 21 against the Knicks. Lately, Gortat has seen his minutes dwindle with the increased role for Ian Mahinmi, so Saturday night must have felt good for the Polish Machine.


Bojan held in check: Bojan Bogdanovic, who spent part of last season with the Wizards, was a major factor in the first two matchups between Washington and the Pacers this season. He had 20 points in one game and 29 in another, each time getting hot from three.

The Wizards, though, made some adjustments in this one and held Bo Buckets in check. He didn't make his first shot until nearly the midway point of the second quarter and it was only because Kelly Oubre, Jr. (16 points, 18 minutes) lost his balance. Oubre stumbled backward, giving Bogdanovic a split second to get off an open three. That was the only shot he hit in the first half as he began the game 1-for-4.

Oubre did a good job harrassing Bogdanovic and not giving him space on the premiter. Otto Porter (eight points) and Bradley Beal (19 points) did as well. Both Porter and Beal stripped the ball out of Bogdanovic's hands early in the third quarter. Midway through the third, Bogdanovic got past Porter only to be called for an offensive foul on a collision with Gortat. All in all, it was a frustrating night for Bogdanovic, who had 11 points, three below his season average.

Bogdanovic is a very good shooter and when he's hot can alter games. But when you take his shots away, there's not much else he can do to hurt you. The Wizards did a good job taking away his strengths and making others beat them. Not having to focus on Turner and Sabonis certainly helped. 

Sessions is still in the rotation: It turns out those five games for Ramon Sessions over the course of his second 10-day contract weren't just an audition. Now that he has been signed for the rest of the season, Sessions is still getting the nod over Tim Frazier as the backup point guard.

Sessions logged 18 minutes and even played alongside Satoransky and Jodie Meeks in the fourth quarter. The Wizards had a sizable lead and head coach Scott Brooks decided to experiment with his lineups. That is something to keep in mind for when Wall comes back. Once he does, Sessions will be the third point guard and likely rarely see the court. But if they see something they like about him at shooting guard, that could open the door for more playing time possibilities.

Up next: The Wizards have three off-days before their next game. That will be on Wednesday when they head to San Antonio to face the Spurs. Tipoff is at 9:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. Pregame coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. with Wizards HangTime.

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