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Jeff Hafley officially announced as new Boston College football coach

Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley, who was a defensive backs coach with the San Francisco 49ers two years ago, was named as Boston College’s new football coach on Saturday.Rick Scuteri/Associated Press/File/FR157181 AP via AP

Boston College has hired Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley as its new head football coach, the school officially announced Saturday morning.

The Eagles ironed out their agreement with Hafley late Friday night.

After firing former head coach Steve Addazio following the Eagles’ season-ending win over Pitt, BC athletic director Martin Jarmond set Dec. 18, the initial signing date for FBS teams’ early signing period, as his target to have a new coach in place.

Jarmond met with the team after Saturday morning’s practice to break the news.

“Our guys had just came off the practice field, they got the news I’m sure they’re all just taking it in,” interim coach Rich Gunnell said. “It’s kind of a lot for them right now.”


The Eagles will formally announce Hafley as their head coach at a press conference on Monday.

In Hafley, the Eagles gain a head coach with NFL experience as well as success at college football’s highest level.

“I’ve heard great things about him,” said interim head coach Rich Gunnell. “I know a lot of guys that he’s developed and moved on to the next level. He’s coached a lot of great defensive backs.”

Quarterback Dennis Grosel, a Cleveland native, spoke to friends on Ohio State and got the seal of approval on Hafley.

“The culture at Ohio State is definitely a winning tradition and one that’s had a ton of success,” Grosel said. “So to have a guy who’s been through that and is hoping to bring the winning culture here is something we’re looking forward to with him being that defensive guy, having the attributes of being energetic and being that spark. We’re looking forward to having him and bringing some life to this program.”

Hafley, 40, spent seven seasons as an NFL assistant before joining the Buckeyes this season, helping retool a defense that was ranked 72nd in the country a year ago into the No. 1 defense this season.


For the turnaround, Hafley was named a finalist for this year’s Broyles Award, given to the country’s best assistant coach.

Hafley cut his teeth as a running backs coach at Worcester Polytechnic in 2001, then went to Albany and served as a defensive assistant and secondary coach from 2002 to 2005.

In 2006, he joined Dave Wannstedt’s staff at Pitt as a defensive assistant and a secondary coach. There, he coached former Patriot Darrelle Revis. In 2011, he spent a season at Rutgers as a secondary coach under Greg Schiano, where he coached Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan.

From there, he made the jump to the NFL as an assistant secondary coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012. He became Tampa Bay’s secondary coach in 2013, then took the same job with the Cleveland Browns from 2014-15. He was the San Francisco 49ers secondary coach from 2016-18 before leaving to join Ryan Day’s staff at Ohio State this past season.

Hafley will be tasked with getting the Eagles over the hump after going 44-44 over seven seasons under Addazio, who was hired as head coach by Colorado State earlier this week.

“I think the team’s excited to see how it is,” offensive lineman Alec Lindstrom said of the Hafley era. “Coach comes in on Monday and talks to us. I’ve never seen or heard him talk or anything, so I’m excited to see what he’s like and see his personality and meet him and I think the team would say the same. We’re excited to see him on Monday.


Julian Benbow can be reached at julian.benbow@globe.com.