Boston College hires Ohio St assistant Jeff Hafley as coach

Jeff Hafley

Jeff Hafley (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley is the new Boston College football coach.

“Jeff’s shown throughout his coaching career he is a tremendous leader with high integrity and a gift for teaching,” BC athletic director Martin Jarmond said in a statement Saturday. “His passion, leadership and ability to recruit and develop student-athletes make him the right fit to lead Boston College to greater heights on and off the field.”

Hafley spent seven seasons in the NFL before joining the Buckeyes this year. The 40-year-old New Jersey native also has coached in college at Rutgers and Pittsburgh.

Hafley, who coaches the Buckeyes defensive backs, has helped turn around an Ohio State defense that struggled last year but enters the College Football Playoff leading the nation in yards per play at 3.93. He is a finalist for the Frank Broyles Award that goes to the best assistant coach in college football.

Boston College fired Steve Addazio the day after the Eagles finished the regular season 6-6. He went 44-44 in seven seasons with BC and was hired by Colorado State to be its head coach this week.

Hafley coached under Dave Wannstedt at Pitt and Greg Schiano at Rutgers before joining Schiano with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012 as assistant secondary coach. He spent two seasons with Cleveland and then three with San Francisco before joining new Buckeyes coach Ryan Day at Ohio State this year.

Hafley will take over the team after Ohio State is finished with its postseason. The second-ranked Buckeyes (No. 2 CFP) will play Clemson in the national semifinals. Boston College wide receivers coach Rich Gunnell will lead the Eagles (6-6) in the Birmingham Bowl against No. 21 Cincinnati.

Jarmond, who was an assistant AD at Ohio State before coming to BC, fired Addazio the day after a regular-season ending victory over Pittsburgh earned the Eagles a bowl berth. BC qualified for the postseason six times in Addazio’s seven seasons, but it also had a tendency to sabotage its seasons with embarrassing losses.

This year, it was a 24-point loss to Kansas, a 21-point underdog that hadn’t won a road game against a Power 5 opponent since 2008.

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