Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Revisiting the BC coaching search: the day after

We've all had the better part of a day to let Al Skinner's dismissal from Boston College sink in.  Furthermore, we've all had a day to do our own research and pick out bits and pieces of what's been said in the media, so that we may form our own opinions on the direction in which Gene DeFilippo will go.  This is what I have come up with, and you may feel free to agree or disagree:

What BC needs: Bruce Pearl.  This is pretty much a no-brainer.  Of all the people who have been named, he is the only big-name coach with unquestioned success.  He would breathe serious life into a recently-stagnant Boston College basketball program and, in all likelihood, build the Eagles into an ACC contender and cement our school's position on the national stage.  I have absolutely no doubt he would succeed.

What BC is going to get: probably not Bruce Pearl.  Getting him would be a major coup and I don't know if GDF/Leahy/the Trustees/anyone involved at BC can or will pull the trigger.  It is almost certain that Boston College will settle for less, and that gives me mixed feelings.  I'm not saying that a lot of the guys being mentioned are necessarily bad coaches, but none of them really have that "wow" factor and I can't say (unlike with Pearl) that they'd be instantly successful, if at all.  The Eagles have a golden opportunity here to kick start the program back into prominence, but I am concerned that they will go with a "safe" choice (like in the football coaching "search" in 2009).  I do hope there are more candidates in the running than just those who have been named in the media.

Gene sez: "We’re going to pay what we have to pay to get the right person."  That can mean anything, or it could mean nothing.  It could mean BC will pursue a big name, but it could also mean BC will simply shell out what it has to in order to acquire one of the lesser names on the list.  I'm not reading so much into this comment yet.

My perceived frontrunner: Steve Donahue, Cornell.  Donahue is said to be excited about the opportunity and he has recently had solid success with the Big Red.  He built what was arguably the best Ivy League team in a decade or more and is currently riding a streak of three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances.  Under his leadership, the Big Red have only lost four Ivy League games in the last three years.  He would be a decent hire and, from what I gather, wants to be part of this program, and BC could surely do worse than him.  But...this is the Ivy League here, not the ACC.  Donahue is an Ivy League guy through and through who has spent the last 20 years working in the conference.  From level of competition to recruiting, this is a big jump, and that is the only real concern I have with him.

As for the others: Brian Gregory is not a name that has been mentioned very often, but having looked into his record, I would be OK with him as well, if he's even involved.  There are conflicting reports as to whether or not Chris Mooney is interested, which is enough to scratch him off my list -- if there's any doubt that he wants to coach at BC, then that's that.  Bill Coen and Ed Cooley seem like respectable coaches, but I think it's time we got away from the Al Skinner coaching tree and make a new path for the program.

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