Some NH names floated as Boston College begins search for football coach
By MIKE CULLITY New Hampshire Union Leader
Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen, a Manchester native, watches his team go through the paces prior to kickoff against LSU earlier this season. (US PRESSWIRE)
The potpourri of names swirling about as possible successors to fired Boston College football coach Frank Spaziani has a mild New Hampshire scent.
In the wake of Sunday's announcement that Spaziani had been dismissed following a dismal 2-10 campaign, a Boston Globe report mentioned University of New Hampshire coach Sean McDonnell and Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen as potential candidates for the Eagles' job. A former UNH defensive back, McDonnell is in his 14th season as the Wildcats' coach, while Mullen, a former Trinity High School of Manchester quarterback, is in his fourth season at the Bulldog helm.
While preparing the Wildcats for their trip to Spartanburg, S.C., for Saturday's Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoff game against Wofford College, McDonnell downplayed speculation about his candidacy for the Boston College job through a spokesman, Mike Murphy.
"He said, 'Tell them I'm going to B.C. for summer camp like I do every year,' " said Murphy, citing McDonnell's participation in Boston College's football camp for high school players. "His name comes up a lot in these things."
Mullen led Mississippi State to an 8-4 record after a 7-0 start this season. Three of those losses came in successive weeks to Southeastern Conference foes Alabama, Texas A&M and Louisiana State, all currently ranked in the top 10 of the Bowl Championship Series standings. The Boston Globe report suggested that Mullen could be looking for a less grueling league than the SEC. Attempts to reach Mullen on Monday were unsuccessful.
A former running backs coach and defensive coordinator for the Eagles, Spaziani posted a 21-29 record in four seasons as head coach. Other potential successors cited in the Globe report include University of Miami coach Al Golden, Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, Kent State coach Darrell Hazell, Cleveland Browns quarterbacks coach and former UNH offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, Temple coach Steve Addazio and Harvard coach Tim Murphy.
Meanwhile, other media and Internet observers floated the names of two additional coaches with New Hampshire ties - Ryan Day and Jack Bicknell Jr. - as possible candidates. A former quarterback at Manchester High School Central and UNH, Day is the offensive coordinator at Temple University and previously spent five seasons as Boston College's wide receivers coach. Bicknell, a former Boston College center who was an assistant coach at UNH from 1987-96, is the offensive line coach for the Kansas City Chiefs. He is also the son of former Boston College coach Jack Bicknell, a Meredith resident.