Mehdi Abdesmad, Harris Williams, Steve Addazio all talk football at Pinehurst
Aer Lingus College Football Classic between the Eagles and Yellow Jackets set for Aviva Stadium on Sept. 3, 2016
The two combine for over 50 years of coaching experience
The Eagles welcomed bowl executive director mark Holtzman to The Heights
Tyler Murphy breaks ACC single-season quarterback rushing record
NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL Football USATSI photos -- 12/27/14
NCAA Football: Boston College at Virginia Tech (USATSI)
The Eagles take on Main at home
NCAA Football: Southern California at Boston College (USATSI)
USATSI gallery - 9/5/14
Steve Addazio was named Boston College's 35th head football coach in December of 2012 and wasted no time making his mark on the program. Addazio took over an Eagles program that had suffered back-to-back losing seasons for the first time in 14 years (including a 2-10 mark in 2012) and engineered a remarkable turnaround. In what were supposed to be rebuilding years, Addazio has led the Eagles to back-to-back seven-win seasons and two consecutive bowl games.
When Addazio took over the BC football program in 2013, the team had won a total of six games the previous two seasons; BC fans knew the rebuilding process would take time, but few would have predicted the Eagles would receive back-to-back bowl invitations in Addazio's first two years as head coach.
Earning a postseason bowl berth in 2014 seemed a long shot last summer following the departure of all-time rushing leader and Heisman Trophy finalist Andre Williams, four-year starting quarterback Chase Rettig and other key players. Picked by media to finish fifth in the ACC's Atlantic Division, the team surprised many by posting its second consecutive seven-win season and, in fact, falling a few yards and several plays short of finishing with a 10-2 mark. The season was highlighted by a prime-time upset of No. 9 USC, dominating the Trojans 506-337 in total offense, and a nailbiter in which the Eagles had a chance to upend undefeated Florida State in Tallahassee, a game FSU won by a last-second field goal after the Eagles had missed the go-ahead kick just minutes before.
The Boston College offense flourished with the run game; the Eagles averaged 254.7 yards per game on the ground, second in the ACC to Georgia Tech's triple option, and 14th in the nation. Graduate Tyler Murphy was a difference maker as a dual-threat quarterback. Murphy broke BC record for career rushing yards by a quarterback in just nine games and went on to break the ACC's single-season rushing record by a quarterback. In the Eagles' upset of USC, Murphy carried the ball 13 times for 191 yards and a touchdown. Freshman running back Jon Hilliman set the Eagles' freshman record for rushing attempts, tallied two touchdowns in five games in his first season at BC and at least one in eight of the final 11 games.
As prolific as the BC offense was rushing the ball, the defense was equally stingy against the run. The Eagles allowed a mere 94.5 yards per game on the ground (second-best in the nation) and finished third in the league and 14th in the nation in total defense. The Eagles held their opponents to fewer than 100 rushing yards in eight games. Three times in 2014, opponents gained just 20 rushing yards or fewer; in back-to-back victories over USC and Maine, the Trojans could only muster 20 total rushing yards while the Black Bears tallied 16. Junior defensive back Justin Simmons had a breakout year to lead the team in tackles with 76 (63 solo) with junior linebacker Steven Daniels close behind with 72.
Seven members of the 2014 BC team earned spots on the All-ACC team. Center Andy Gallik led the way as a first-team nod on the offensive side of the ball. He was joined by Hilliman and tackle Seth Betancourt on the third team, while tackle Ian Silberman and guard Bobby Vardaro earned honorable mention. On defense, tackle Connor Wujciak took home third-team honors and linebacker Josh Keyes earned honorable mention. Silberman, Gallik and defensive end Brian Mihalik were drafted while five more Eagles signed free agent contracts.
From the moment he was hired, Addazio said the Eagles would run the football and in 2013 he proved it. Running back Andre Williams led the nation in rushing, earned the Doak Walker Award as the nation's premier running back and took a trip to New York as one of six finalists for the Heisman Trophy. Williams, a consensus All-America selection, finished the season ranked fifth among all FBS running backs in the history of college football in single-season rushing yards with 2,177. The ground game was accompanied by a solid passing game led by quarterback Chase Rettig and receiver Alex Amidon, who established school records for receptions and receiving yards. Ten players from that team were either drafted or signed NFL free agency contracts in 2014, including Williams (fourth round, New York Giants), linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis (fourth, Seattle Seahawks), place-kicker Nate Freese (seventh, Detroit Lions) and defensive tackle Kaleb Ramsey (seventh, San Francisco 49ers).
Off the field, Addazio's big personality played well with his team at a time it was sorely needed. "He genuinely cares about the students," Athletics Director Brad Bates said. "He can be incredibly demanding on the players on and off the field because there's that sincerity in what he does."
Addazio's coaching pedigree includes 14 postseason bowl games (including six BCS bowl games) and two national titles while on the coaching staff at the University of Florida (a 41-14 win over Ohio State on Jan. 8, 2007 in Glendale, Ariz., and a 24-14 win over Oklahoma on Jan. 8, 2009 in Miami, Fla.).
Prior to his arrival in Chestnut Hill, Addazio led the Temple University Owls in a two-year period of success, transition and growth. Addazio coached the Owls to a nine-win campaign and a bowl victory for the first time in 32 seasons in his first year as head coach. His 2011 team finished the season with a 9-4 record, earning a second-place finish in the Mid-American Conference East Division and capturing a 37-15 victory over Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl--Temple's first bowl victory since Wayne Hardin led the Owls to a 38-3 win over California in the 1979 Garden State Bowl. On Addazio's watch, three Temple players were selected in the 2012 NFL Draft -- running back Bernard Pierce (third round), tight end Evan Rodriguez (fourth round), and linebacker Tahir Whitehead (fifth round) -- and nine signed free agent contracts. Meanwhile, Addazio spearheaded the school's 2012 recruiting class to a No.1 ranking in the Mid-American Conference by Rivals.com.
Shortly thereafter, in March 2012, Temple announced that it would move from the Mid-American Conference to the Big East Conference for football that fall. While guiding the program through its transition in conference affiliation, Addazio led the team to victories in each of its first two Big East Conference games (against South Florida and Connecticut), later posting a 63-point, school-record scoring output against Army before finishing the 2012 campaign with a 4-7 record.
Prior to leading the Owls, Addazio spent six seasons (2005-10) at Florida under head coach Urban Meyer, serving as offensive coordinator in 2009-10 and interim head coach from Dec. 2009 to July 2010. During his tenure in Gainesville, the Gators participated in six postseason bowls and won two BCS national championships. Addazio joined the Gators' staff as tight ends coach in 2005 and also served as offensive line, tackles and tight ends coach (2006), offensive line coach (2007) and offensive assistant head coach (2008) prior to being named offensive coordinator.
Addazio tutored Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Tim Tebow and directed an offense with a total of seven NFL draftees, including first-round picks Mike and Maurkice Pouncey, two of the most elite offensive linemen in Florida history. Florida finished the 2009 season ranked first in the SEC in total offense and second in rushing offense, passing offense and scoring offense. In 2009, the Gators were the only team in the nation to rush for more than 3,000 yards and pass for more than 3,000 yards. Addazio completed his tenure at Florida on Jan. 1, 2011, coaching the Gators to a 37-24 win over Penn State in the Outback Bowl.
Addazio began his Division I college football coaching career in 1995 at Syracuse. The Orange won three consecutive Big East crowns and appeared in bowl games during each of his four years before he assumed assistant coaching duties at Notre Dame, where he served as offensive line, tight ends and special teams coach from 1999-2001. Addazio moved on to serve as offensive line coach then offensive coordinator during a three-year stint at Indiana (2002-04) before joining the staff at Florida. Prior to his Division I collegiate coaching career, he served as one of the nation's top high school coaches at Cheshire High School in Cheshire, Conn., from 1988-95. There, his teams won 34 consecutive games, three state titles in a row and were nationally ranked in 1992 and 1994.
A native of Farmington, Conn., Addazio, 55, began his coaching career at Western Connecticut State University, where he served as an assistant coach under Paul Pasqualoni from 1984-87.
A graduate of Central Connecticut State University, Addazio earned a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1981. A four-year starter for the Blue Devils on the offensive and defensive lines, Addazio completed a master's degree in 1985. Addazio earned tryouts with the New England Patriots, the Jacksonville Bulls of the USFL, and the Ottawa Roughriders of the CFL.
Born June 1, 1959, Addazio is married to the former Kathleen Donoghue. They have three children -- Nicole, Jessica and Louie (a tight end on the BC football team).
YEAR-BY-YEAR COACHING RECORD
* Four-year starter; earned tryouts with the NFL's New England Patriots, USFL's Jacksonville Bulls and CFL's Ottawa Roughriders
NOTABLE PROFESSIONALS COACHED