Boston College Hires Ohio State Co-Defensive Coordinator Jeff Hafley As Head Coach

By Dan Hope on December 14, 2019 at 9:34 am
Jeff Hafley

Ohio State is losing Jeff Hafley after just one season.

Boston College officially announced the hiring of the Ohio State co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach as its new head coach on Saturday morning, confirming multiple reports from Friday night that they were close to finalizing a deal with the Buckeyes assistant.

Hafley will be introduced as Boston College's head coach in a press conference at 9 a.m. Monday and will be the 36th head coach in BC 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,” Boston College athletic director Martin Jarmond said. “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.”

Per Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel, Hafley is expected to remain with Ohio State through the end of the season, though that has not yet been officially confirmed by Ohio State.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith thanked Hafley in a tweet on Saturday morning.

Hafley, 40, has never been a head coach before but is viewed as a rising star in the coaching industry. In his lone season with the Buckeyes, Hafley has made a huge impact on Ohio State's defense. The Buckeyes lead the nation in yards allowed per play (3.93) and rank second in points allowed per game (12.5) and yards allowed per game (247.6).

In addition to co-coordinating the defense with Greg Mattison, Hafley was also responsible for coaching Ohio State's defensive backs, who have excelled this season. Jeff Okudah earned first-team All-American honors while Damon Arnette and Shaun Wade have also had career years at cornerback and Jordan Fuller has made plays on the back end at safety.

Hafley was a finalist for this year's Broyles Award, which honors college football's best assistant coach. (LSU passing game coordinator Joe Brady ultimately won that award.)

A New Jersey native, Hafley spent seven years coaching defensive backs in the NFL before coming to Ohio State as a member of Ryan Day's inaugural coaching staff.

Hafley replaces Steve Addazio, who was fired earlier this month after seven seasons as Boston College's head coach and is now the head coach at Colorado State. Both Day and Ohio State linebackers coach Al Washington previously worked at Boston College as assistants under Addazio, and Jarmond was previously the deputy athletic director at Ohio State.

Now, Ohio State will be in the market for a new co-defensive coordinator – unless it decides to make Mattison the sole defensive coordinator – and defensive backs coach. Having two co-defensive coordinators (Mattison and Hafley) and an assistant defensive backs coach (Matt Barnes) this season, though, should help provide continuity for whoever fills Hafley's place on the staff.

Ohio State's defensive backs will have their fourth position coach in four years next season, as Hafley and Taver Johnson were each only with the Buckeyes for one season following Kerry Coombs' departure to the NFL's Tennessee Titans after the 2017 season.

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