BOSTON — The rant was not surprising for Boston College coach Steve Addazio, a relentlessly optimistic salesman who is always pitching the potential of his program.
It was the timing that seemed suspect.
After a loss to Virginia Tech dropped the Eagles to 2-4, Addazio came out with an impassioned plea for patience. In a message that seemed more directed at his boss, new athletic director Martin Jarmond, than the reporters he pointed and thumped his finger at, Addazio insisted: “It’ll come together, and it’ll be beautiful.”
“I think he really believed that,” Jarmond said on Sunday after the Eagles were picked for the Pinstripe Bowl and a Dec. 27 matchup with Iowa at Yankee Stadium. “It was cool. It was good to see.”
A former deputy AD at Ohio State who began work in Chestnut Hill in June, Jarmond took over a program that was near its nadir. The Eagles went just 2-6 in the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2016, a year after they failed to win an ACC game in either basketball or football.
But what Jarmond saw in the football program was a coaching staff that never wavered.
“I never questioned the coaches’ commitment to putting in the work,” Jarmond said. “He’s passionate, and he believes that (things are turning around). I’d rather have that than the opposite.”
Jarmond’s patience was rewarded when Addazio followed up the Oct. 7 loss to the Hokies with three straight ACC victories and wins in five of their last six games. That included a road win over Louisville and blowouts over Virginia, Florida State, Connecticut and Syracuse.
From a man in danger of losing his job, Addazio was suddenly the first coach ever to lead the Eagles to four bowl games in five years.
“I always believed in our football program,” he said Sunday in a news conference after the bowl bids were announced. “When I made the statement ‘it’s going to be beautiful,’ that’s really what I was saying — even in the face of maybe people saying, ‘What’s this guy talking about?’
“I felt terrific about our players and where we were headed,” Addazio said as captains Kamrin Moore and Jon Baker looked on. “These guys will tell you better than me: They knew it, too. The glue was really tight. Because the mindset wasn’t ‘will it happen?’ It was just, ‘We’ve got to get it happening now.'”
It’s true, Addazio’s players said. While his postgame rant got some attention, they felt like it was more directed at fans and others outside the program; they didn’t need any convincing.
“We always knew. There was never any doubt,” Moore said. “It gets you fired up to know that someone believes in you. He shows that every day.”
Now, BC will play another Big Ten team in New York two years after losing to Penn State in overtime on a missed extra point. Addazio said playing in the Northeast will make it easy for the fans to travel to the game and also give a boost to recruiting in an area where there aren’t many FBS programs.
Jarmond said bowl officials were sold on BC’s strong finish.
“We’re one of the teams that people don’t want to play right now,” he said. “Bowl games want that. They don’t want a team that’s coming in limping.”