This is what Coach Hafley had to say about his commitment and his new 5 year contract extension .......
Hafley on 'the Right Way': Why He Chose BC, What He Looks for in Recruits
Andy Backstrom • EagleAction
Jeff Hafley had options after his first year as Ohio State's co-defensive coordinator. He was a finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation's top assistant coach. His 2019 Buckeyes defense—a unit that helped drive the program back to the College Football Playoff—skyrocketed 46 spots in points per game allowed, conceding just 13.7 points per contest, which was fourth in the FBS that year.
Hafley anticipated that he'd be at Ohio State much longer than one season.
Instead, he ended up as Boston College's head coach that December.
Interviewing for that gig isn't a decision he regrets. Even after starting his head coaching career in the pandemic. And after seeing a pair of athletic directors already jump for other Power Five schools amid his brief stay in Chestnut Hill.
"I wanted to go somewhere where I didn't have to cheat, I didn't have to cut corners, I didn't have to sleep by my phone and get phone calls in the middle of the night," Hafley said during his press conference portion of the ACC Kickoff this week in Charlotte, North Carolina. "I wanted to be around good people."
He continued: "I knew about BC. I grew up in New Jersey. I felt like we could do better and recruit better and play better. That's no disrespect to anybody that coached before because they did a good job, but I came because I thought we could elevate it doing it the right way with really good people."
The "right way" was an emphasis for Hafley throughout his ACC Kickoff appearances this year. The 43-year-old player's coach prioritizes relationships with his staff and, of course, his team.
He also believes in building a program through high school recruiting rather than mining the transfer portal. Hafley will use the portal when there's a position of need—exhibit A: BC's starting quarterback, Phil Jurkovec, is a former Notre Dame transfer—but he wants his staff to develop young talent, more so than turning to the portal to temporarily plug roster holes.
It goes back to his long-term commitment to BC. Because of his youth, recruiting chops and development success in the NFL and FBS, there has consistently been talk of Hafley moving on from BC for a higher-level Power Five head coaching job. He told reporters Wednesday that schools have come calling after both of his seasons on the Heights.
Except Hafley, who signed a five-year extension through 2026 back in November, hasn't budged.
"What do you mean I'm not going to stay?" Hafley said, describing his reaction when he's asked about his future at BC. "We have great kids. We have an unbelievable school and unbelievable leadership. Our staff has been awesome. We've recruited well. It is an awesome place. We're going to win, but we're going to do it the right way."
Again, the right way.
For Hafley, that means finding student-athletes who love football yet also see themselves in a world off the gridiron. Kids who want to be students of the game and students in the classroom.
In an ACC Network panel interview spearheaded by Kelsey Riggs, Hafley discussed how he left the NFL because he missed "the development of young players." Additionally, he missed the hive mind of college football, where players are often in tears after a loss, not because of their individual future but because of their unrelenting commitment to the program. Meanwhile, in the NFL, some players are simply seen smiling and exchanging jerseys after defeats, Hafley mentioned.
Hafley wanted to make a difference in young people's lives, whether that be through football or through the workforce.
"We have a staff full of NFL guys," he said. "If a guy wants to play in the league, we'll show 'em how to get there. But they're also going to get a great degree and great job internship.
"In the NFL, some of those guys last two years, three years. Some don't have a degree. Some never did an internship, and they're starting from scratch. Not at our place. I can change a life, even if you never play a down because I can help you get a great job that will change your life."
So he searches for high schoolers that are focused on all career opportunities. Because, in Hafley's words, "there's more to life than football."
Jeff Hafley is 12-11 in his first two years as BC's head coach (Photo: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports).
BC has taken significant strides in the recruiting sphere since Hafley was hired. The Eagles have secured back-to-back top-40 classes and are well on their way to a third straight group of such caliber while expanding their recruiting footprint. They've made their mark in Texas and pulled in prospects from previously-uncharted states, for BC anyway, like Nevada, Montana and Tennessee.
Hafley and his staff have done so without surrendering their values.
"If I'm with a recruit, and their parents don't care about academics, and their kid doesn't care about internships, and all he wants to do is sit in a photoshoot or put this on and that on, that kid can go somewhere else," Hafley said. '''Cause he's not gonna work for us. I mean, I've already told our staff. There were four or five kids who visited, that after I sat in my office, 'Those kids aren't for us. We're not recruiting them anymore.'"
Hafley continued: "To me, it's always about, 'What's real?'" he said. "The photoshoot? What are you gonna do with that picture 20 years from now? I mean, it's cool, man. I want it to look good. I want ours to be better than everybody's. But is that the most important thing? Or do you want to watch film with me in my office? Or do you want to talk about what internships you can get? Or are you just going to spend five hours at a photoshoot, where that picture 20 years from now is gonna go in the garbage. But I could teach you something that's going to last a lifetime."
Hafley, who is 12-11 since taking over the reigns at BC, is the first admit that he can be better as a head coach. He takes responsibility for the Eagles' setbacks in 2021.
BC went from exceeding national expectations in 2020 to falling way short of them last season. A significant part of that decline was injuries, namely a season-threatening fracture to Jurkovec's throwing hand. Even so, Hafley owned that the Eagles' struggling offense, which averaged 16.4 points per game against league opponents in 2021, was his failure.
Hafley talked about how he's been too focused on defense in his first two seasons as BC's frontman. He pointed out that this offseason has been about re-establishing his offensive vision, which he believes aligns with that of new offensive coordinator John McNulty.
There's pressure for Hafley and, likewise BC, to perform well in 2022—to be a threat in the ACC. Especially in today's landscape of college football, where re-alignment takes center stage, and the Big Ten and SEC are king.
Hafley is confident his program will do it.
The right way. With the right players.
“I can’t say enough about the incredible support shown by Pat Kraft, Father Leahy and our entire University leadership,” said Hafley. “From day one, Boston College has been a special place for my family and I and we are thrilled to continue to be a part of this community. I am grateful for the dedication and hard work of our players, coaches and staff, who have come together to build a foundation for an incredible future.”
Hard to put into words........
Boston College Names Jeff Hafley Head Football Coach
New Jersey native becomes the 36th head coach in BC history
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – William V. Campbell Director of Athletics Martin Jarmond has announced the hiring of Jeff Hafley as The Gregory P. Barber ’69 and Family Head Coach of the Boston College football program. Hafley, the current co-defensive coordinator for No. 2 Ohio State, will be introduced to the media on Monday, Dec. 16 at 9 a.m. inside the Barber Room on the second floor of the Yawkey Athletics Center.
ACC Network will carry the press conference live on the Packer and Durham Show Monday at 9 a.m. The press conference will also be streamed live via @BCFootball on Twitter and on Boston College Athletics Facebook page.
Hafley becomes the 36th head coach in Boston College history.
“Jeff Hafley was someone we targeted from the outset and we could not be happier to welcome Jeff, Gina, Hope and Leah to Boston College,” said Jarmond. “Jeff’s shown throughout his coaching career he is a tremendous leader with high integrity and a gift for teaching. 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 has led a dramatic turnaround in leading the defense for Ohio State this season as the Buckeyes won the Big Ten championship and will face No. 3 Clemson in the College Football Playoff.
A finalist for the Frank Broyles Award and the 247Sports Defensive Coordinator of the Year, Hafley has been one of the architects of a Buckeye defense that ranks first nationally in yards per play (3.9), second nationally in total defense (247.6 yards per game), third nationally in scoring defense (12.5 points per game), third nationally in sacks (3.92 per game), seventh nationally in rushing defense (99.5 yards per game), second nationally in passing yards allowed (148.1 yards per game) and first nationally in red zone defense (64.2%).
Hafley’s first season in Columbus saw Ohio State jump from 72nd nationally in 2018 to first nationally in 2019 in yards per play. Ohio State has not allowed more than 27 points in a game this season.
A standout defensive backs coach throughout his career in the NFL and collegiate ranks, Hafley’s work as the defensive backs coach at Ohio State has led to impressive results. The Buckeyes totaled 15 interceptions in 2019, tied for ninth nationally, while allowing just 25 pass plays of 20+ yards.
Before arriving at Ohio State, Hafley spent the previous seven seasons in the NFL and most recently three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers as defensive backs coach.
Prior to his time with San Francisco, Hafley was the secondary coach for two seasons in Cleveland, the secondary/safeties coach with Tampa Bay in 2013 and a defensive backs assistant with the Buccaneers in 2012.
Hafley, who will coach his 20th season in 2020, has extensive ties as an elite recruiter during his coaching stops at Pittsburgh and Rutgers. A native of Montvale, N.J., Hafley played four seasons as a wide receiver at Siena College from 1997-2000, graduating cum laude in 2001 with a degree in history.
He earned his master’s degree from Albany in 2003.
His coaching career includes 11 seasons in collegiate football before a move to the NFL in 2012, and then seven subsequent seasons there. After starting his career working as running backs coach for one season (2001) at Worcester (Mass.) Polytechnic University, Hafley moved on to the University of Albany for four seasons as defensive assistant and defensive backs coach (2002-05).
He then coached at the University of Pittsburgh for five seasons (2006-10) where he worked under the direction of Dave Wannstedt and helped mentor Darrelle Revis into a Jim Thorpe Award finalist in 2006.
Hafley was a defensive assistant/cornerbacks coach in 2006-07 and was secondary coach from 2008-10.
One season as the defensive backs coach at Rutgers, working under Greg Schiano, followed his positions at Pittsburgh. The Scarlet Knights ranked ninth nationally in passing defense in his one season there, 2011. Hafley helped develop future NFL standout defensive backs Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan during his time in Piscataway.
Hafley moved on to the NFL following his year at Rutgers and coached two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, serving as an assistant defensive backs coach in 2012 and secondary/safeties coach in 2013.
Two seasons with the Cleveland Browns, under coach Mike Pettine, followed. In 2014, his second season with the Browns, the team led the NFL in opponent passer rating (74.1), opponent completion percentage (57.1) and in passes defensed with 99, plus ranked second in the league with 21 interceptions.
Three seasons as defensive backs coach with the San Francisco 49ers – 2016, 2017 and 2018 – preceded Hafley’s position with the Buckeyes. He worked under Chip Kelly in 2016 and under Kyle Shanahan the past two seasons. In 2018, the 49ers ranked 11th in the league in passing defense. They were 14th in 2016 after ranking 27th in 2015, the year before Hafley arrived.
Hafley and his wife, Gina, have two daughters, Hope and Leah.
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The Hafley File
Birthday: April 4, 1979
Hometown: Montvale, N.J.
High School: Pascack Hills
Alma Mater: Siena, 2001
Master’s Degree: Albany, 2003
Family: Wife Gina; daughters Hope and Leah
2019: Ohio State (Co-Defensive Coordinator/Secondary)
2016-18: San Francisco 49ers (Defensive Backs)
2014-15: Cleveland Browns (Defensive Backs)
2012-13: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Secondary/Safeties)
2011: Rutgers (Defensive Backs)
2008-10: Pitt (Defensive Backs)
2006-07: Pitt (Defensive Assistant)
2004-05: Albany (Defensive Backs)
2002-03: Albany (Defensive Assistant)
2001: Worcester Polytech (Running Backs)