O'Brien was in Williamsburg recruiting Lafayette High's Chris Luzar when Boston College called. It was December 1996. O'Brien was Virginia's offensive coordinator, while Boston College was reeling from the suspension of 13 players for sports gambling.
O'Brien got the job and the recruit, but not without a glitch.
Southern Methodist athletic director Jim Copeland, formerly Virginia's AD, also was pursuing O'Brien and wanted an answer ASAP. O'Brien believed Boston College a better fit and asked Copeland for 48 hours to give the Eagles time.
"I told Jim, `If they don't want me, I'll come to SMU,' " O'Brien says. "He was gracious enough to say, `OK, I'll wait.' A lot of people in this business wouldn't have done that."
This was 1996. Copeland went on to hire Cavan. Boston College is the No. 13 team in the country (notwithstanding the fact they got spanked by Virginia Tech tonight).
I post this not so much because of Copeland or Cavan or O'Brien. I post it because Boston College graduates football players AND wins football games. Boston College graduated 100% of its football players in 2004 and won its fifth bowl game in five years.
There is another way. SMU does it wrong. Boston College does it right. SMU needs to start doing it right. Period.