Saturday, April 3, 2010

And then there were 3...or are there?

Tommy Amaker, see ya.  Chris Mooney, peace out.  These two guys officially left the BC basketball candidate pool yesterday and shrunk it by 40%.  We are now left with three definite candidates for the opening: Steve Donahue (Cornell), Bill Coen (Northeastern), and Ed Cooley (Fairfield).  I have a feeling there may still be a surprise fourth candidate, possibly Brian Gregory (Dayton), but we will see.

Of the three announced candidates, I would rank them in this order based upon preference: (1) Donahue, (2) Cooley, (3) Coen.  If Gregory was in the mix, I would place him at either 1st or 2nd but I will wait until he is an official candidate for the job before putting him on my list.

I have already stated my case for Mr. Donahue earlier this week.  The one concern that I believe most people have with him is the jump from the Ivies to the ACC, convinced that the guy would not know how to recruit.  I will state again my belief that Steve Donahue is not an idiot or a 25-year old high school coach who just fell off the damn turnip truck.  He has been a Division 1 coach for two decades, and in that time, he worked under a very good coach in Fran Dunphy.  I think he can figure it out, and I'm sure he thinks he can figure it out.

On to Bill Coen and Ed Cooley.  When Al was first fired, I thought Coen was the frontrunner to get the job, and I'd have been fine with it.  Now, I'm not so sure.   These guys have been out on their own for four seasons now and are doing an alright job building programs at Northeastern and Fairfield, respectively.  Their names are being floated because they were Al Skinner assistant coaches: not because they've built mid-major powerhouses or are turning a lot of heads with their success (which has been, at best, moderate).  I doubt their phones are ringing off the hook with interview offers, other than the possibility of Bill Coen going to Siena (which, despite their tournament appearances, is still not a job on BC's level).  Donahue has been mentioned in several different recent coaching searches at major-conference schools, including this one.  You see what solid success out in the open does for your career?

Yes, many of you, myself included, want to break from the Skinner coaching tree completely and get some new faces on the bench, not just for the sake of change but to extinguish any chance we have of seeing the flex in any form.  I'm sure Coen and Cooley care, have passion for their teams, can recruit, yada yada yada, but have you noticed how these two names, except for the aforementioned Siena reference, aren't coming up anywhere else?  And certainly not at power-conference programs?  Do you think there might be a reason for that?

I do, and here it is: because they're OK-to-above-average coaches at mediocre schools who have relatively brief head-coaching resumes and have yet to do anything special.  Say what you will about Donahue: he's an idiot, he can't recruit, the Ivy League is Triple-A, he eats babies, whatever.  He does, however, have ten years of head coaching experience and has made three NCAA Tournaments with a program that was floating belly-up when he got there.  If you're hoping for Coen or Cooley, it's likely because they were here before (known quantities) in lesser roles and you want to see one of them get a shot as a result.  There's nothing wrong with that; I just disagree that that's the direction in which BC needs to go.  I don't doubt the character of either man, or that they take pride in what they do.  I just don't think either is the best candidate available at this time.

Whatever Gene DeFilippo decides, if he hasn't already, we will know very soon.  I think I will have a lot to say when the time comes.

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