When it came time for Scot Loeffler to hire people for his coaching staff, he went to work hiring the best available people.
The Falcons’ new offensive coordinator, Terry Malone, has served in his role at two Big Ten schools and spent nine years with the New Orleans Saints. Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder spent time in the NFL, Auburn and Notre Dame to name a few stops. All in all, the Falcons boast one of, if not, the best coaching staff in the MAC. It includes more than 200 years of coaching experience at Power Five institutions and the NFL. But, the most intriguing hire may be the one with the least experience.
Olivia Passy was hired as the director of football operations in January of this year after serving as an assistant to Boston College head coach Steve Addazio.
Some may recognize her from open practices shouting orders into a megaphone.
“I hate the megaphone,” Passy said laughing. “I wish sometimes I didn’t have to carry it around at practice.”
What stands out to most people, however, is the fact that she’s a female in a sport dominated by males. What also surprises people is her age. At 23 years old, Passy is the youngest director of football operations in the MAC, and quite possibly the country. For those thinking her hiring is a bit unconventional, Passy thinks the same.
“I think the only qualm is that it takes a little bit of extra time to get everybody adapted to a bit of an odd hire,” said the 2018 Boston College graduate. “A lot of coaches probably see somebody like me and think ‘how could she know football well enough to do this job?’”
Loeffler isn’t one of those coaches. After working together for one season at BC, the Falcons’ new head coach decided she was the best person for the job. When Passy reflects back on their time in Boston, her hiring becomes even more of a surprise.
“Scot and I, we were actually pretty distant,” Passy said. “He’s so hyper-focused on football, and me being on the operations side. We were pretty separate.”
Regardless of how much the two interacted, her unique ability and willingness to grow was enough to get her this far. According to Assistant Athletic Director Jason Knavel, those qualities could take her a long way.
“She’s someone that knows a lot for her age,” Knavel said. “If she encounters something she doesn’t understand, she’ll work to figure it out. She’s constantly taking in new information.”
Where she goes from here is anybody’s guess. It could be a Power Five program, or perhaps even a professional franchise. Olivia Passy is in virtually uncharted territory, both personally and for women. Her departure could be only a few short years away. Being as young as she is, her entire career is ahead of her. But while she is in Bowling Green, Loeffler and the rest of the program understands they have a wunderkind on the practice field shouting through a megaphone.