Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley is moving to football's highest level for a lower position.
Hafley, who has led the Eagles the past four seasons, is expected to leave the school to become the defensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers, according to ESPN's Pete Thamel.
The Packers job was open after the firing of the much-maligned Joe Barry, whose defenses ranked 27th in DVOA this season and 25th last season, despite the team's spending four straight first-round picks on that side of the ball. The roster isn't without talent, having gone 9-8 in the regular season and soundly defeated the Dallas Cowboys in the wild-card round, but there was clearly room for improvement.
The Packers interviewed at least six other candidates for the defensive coordinator position, per SB Nation, including former Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley, but opted for a somewhat outside-the-box hire.
Hafley has seven years of NFL coaching experience as a defensive backs coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers. He moved back to the college level in 2019, working as co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach for Ohio State for a season before taking the Boston College job.
Under Hafley, BC posted a 22-26 record, most recently going 7-6 with a win in the Fenway Bowl. Thamel reports that two motivations pushed Hafley move back to the NFL: reverence for the Packers and frustration with the current state of college football in an era of big budgets, relaxed transfer rules and NIL money:
“He wants to go coach football again in a league that is all about football,” a source told ESPN. “College coaching has become fundraising, NIL and recruiting your own team and transfers. There’s no time to coach football anymore."
The Packers will have at least one familiar face for Hafley in linebacker Isaiah McDuffie, who played for Boston College in the coach's first year on the job.
Hafley's departure is also terrible timing for Boston College, as the college football coaching hiring cycle had all but settled.