Image courtesy of Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images
The Eagles didn’t want to leave Raleigh, NC on Saturday night.
The party and celebration in the locker room would still be going on if BC didn’t have a flight to catch or a very good Notre Dame team to start preparing for.
During his Sunday media availability, Hafley talked about the scene afterwards.
“It felt like no one wanted to leave the locker room,” said Hafley. “It was like we had to go around and tell everybody let’s go, let’s get to the busses, let’s get to the plane, so we probably took more time than I’ve ever seen just with guys not wanting to leave. It was emotional in the locker room. Guys were dancing, guys were hugging. There was tears in some guys’ eyes. Guys were screaming. It was a very, very cool experience.”
You’d think the party would have continued on the plane ride home, but that wasn’t the case. After all, beating a top-20 team in the country on the road takes a lot out of you.
“By the time you get to the plane, guys were talking and they were happy, then about 20 minutes into the ride everybody is pretty much passed out because they’re exhausted,” Hafley explained. “Honestly, it’s a pretty draining day, a pretty draining 24 hours. The emotion that goes into preparing yourself physically and mentally for the game. Then, it’s a 60 minute game, but it’s a four hour game that you have to be so locked in physically and mentally. I put the starters in first class in front of the coaches, I want them to be comfortable.
“I think I got up to use the restroom at one point and all the guys were just out, quiet and tired. But, on the bus to the airport, guys had music playing and guys were having a good time.”
There was also a special moment involving injured starter Phil Jurkovec.
“One of the cool moments on the plane was Owen Stoudemire – he came out of the game, so he was injured – he was not in first class and Phil gave up his seat and went back and sat way back in the plane and let Owen have his first class seat. I think that’s pretty…probably a small thing for some people to think about, but I think that’s a pretty big deal. One of the leaders on your team who is still injured and dealing with a bunch of thing gives up his seat. I thought that was a cool moment of leadership and maturity from Phil.”
Jeff Hafley has been on plenty of memorable plane rides as an NFL head coach and as a college coach, but Saturday’s trip may be the most enjoyable excursion home he’s ever had.