BC's Coughlin is facing a Giant decision


BOSTON -- Your passion at present is to make Boston College the greatest college football powerhouse ever based in New England.

At the same time, your coaching goal for more than a decade has been to be a head man in the NFL.

It is a choice most coaches in the United States would like to have, and one that Tom Coughlin is going to have to deal with during the next 48 hours.

Sources close to both sides say that Coughlin and New York Giants general manager George Young spoke by phone yesterday about the possibility of the BC coach taking over the Giants.

Supposedly, Young did not come right out and offer Coughlin the job, but made it clear that if Coughlin could say he definitely would take the job, then the Giants certainly would like to have him.

Young is no dope. No NFL general manager worth his salt ever puts himself in a position to be turned down. There is a way to do this, mostly sparring until the coach decides first that he would like the job.

Coughlin, as of late last night, had not made that decision. The people at BC are making it tougher for him to leave than he could have imagined when he came two years ago. According to sources connected to BC, Coughlin can more than double the $200,000 a year he was paid to leave the Giants as an assistant coach.

The Giants' opening occurred when coach Ray Handley was fired shortly after the regular season. Immediately, Coughlin was considered to be the leading candidate on a short list. The Giants' ownership and front office knew Coughlin from his days on Bill Parcells' Super Bowl championship staff. They like his dedication, toughness and no-nonsense approach to the game, the same qualities that made him so respected at BC in a very short time.

The speculation is that even though the BC money is substantial -- reportedly the fifth-richest college coaching contract in the country -- the Giants money would be even better, and that Coughlin would have a lot of say in restructuring the team.

Though some think Coughlin is repelled by the idea of moving back to the New York/New Jersey area and coming under the daily scrutiny of the media, those who know him say he is not afraid to meet that challenge and the media would not factor into his decision.

This is where it stood as of late last night. Coughlin's first decision is what to do with Boston College. If the decision is to go, you can count on the Giants making the offer official and Coughlin going after his ultimate goal, a head coaching job in the NFL.

However, don't count on that happening. The passion to put BC at the top runs deep in Coughlin. He has been cautioned that the Giants, at this point, might be a tough assignment, and that if he continued to do well at BC, this would not be his only chance to go to the NFL.

There are all kinds of advice, pro and con. But only one person can make the call. Tom Coughlin. And when he went to bed last night, he was struggling with it.

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