Jeff Hafley was part of a defensive turnaround in his first year at Ohio State that helped the Buckeyes go from one of the nation’s worst defenses to one of the best.
It turns out his first year with the program will be his last, as the co-defensive coordinator is close to finalizing a deal to become the new head coach at Boston College, according to an initial report by Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports.
Hafley was hired alongside Greg Mattison this past January to coordinate a Buckeye defense that was No. 72 in total defense in 2018 and gave up 25.5 points per game.
This season, Ohio State boasts the country’s No. 2 total defense, and allows just 12.5 points per contest. Hafley is expected to finish out the season with the Buckeyes, per multiple reports.
Hafley was a finalist for the Broyles Award, given the nation’s top assistant coach, this year.
Prior to Ohio State, Hafley worked in the NFL as an assistant coach for seven seasons, one of which was spent alongside Ohio State head coach Ryan Day, who served as the San Francisco 49ers’ quarterbacks coach while Hafley coached its secondary in 2016.
Hafley’s history with Day began more than a decade earlier though, as they first met at summer football camps on the East Coast, where Hafley was an assistant at Albany, and Day at New Hampshire and then Boston College.
Now, Hafley will replace Steve Addazio, who went 44-44 in seven seasons as head coach at Boston College.
A similar turnaround will be asked of Hafley on the Boston College defense, as the Eagles were No. 125 in total defense this season, allowing more than 480 yards per game.
For the Buckeyes, Day will now be tasked with replacing one of his top assistants after just a season. Day said in October that he expects at least a two-year commitment from his assistant coaches, but said he wouldn’t get in the way of their opportunities.
Boston College has yet to formally announce Hafley as its new head coach.
Hafley is expected to remain on-hand for Ohio State’s matchup against Clemson Dec. 28 at the Fiesta Bowl in the College Football Playoff semifinal, which may be his final game coaching under Day and the Buckeyes.