Boston College turns to Rich Gunnell as interim coach

Boston College turns to Rich Gunnell as interim coach
Boston College head coach Steve Addazio, right, greets long snapper Aidan Livingston, left, after the team made a field goal against Pittsburgh during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

BOSTON (AP) — Boston College is turning to former Eagles receiver Rich Gunnell as interim coach while it looks for a permanent successor to Steve Addazio.

The school is trying to return to the days when it was nationally ranked and competing for an Atlantic Coast Conference championship.

“We’re not taking a step back, this is a step forward,” athletic director Martin Jarmond said Monday, a day after Addazio was fired after seven seasons in which the BC never won more than seven games. “This is a launch pad now.”

Gunnell was a receiver on the BC teams that Matt Ryan led to ACC title games in 2007 and ’08. Gunnell caught a touchdown pass from Ryan in the final two minutes at Clemson to clinch a spot in the 2008 ACC championship game — one of the high points in the program’s recent history.

BC lost to Clemson 59-7 this year and never beat the Tigers in under Addazio, who was fired Sunday.

Gunnell has spent the last four years as the wide receivers coach in Chestnut Hill. He will not interview for the full-time job, Jarmond said; Gunnell declined to say why.

Instead, the school will conduct a national search for Addazio’s full-time replacement. Jarmond said he hoped to have a decision by the early recruiting deadline on Dec. 18.

In the meantime, the school is talking to bowl games about where it will play this postseason. The Eagles earned the right to play in a bowl after beating Pittsburgh 26-19 on Saturday.

“We’re excited about it,” Jarmond said. “It really just got started because we got our sixth win.”

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