Friday, April 2, 2010

The case for Mooney

Yesterday I made the case for Steve Donahue to be Boston College's next men's basketball coach. Today, I will make the case for Chris Mooney, the other person whom I would like to see hired. Again, I know you're going to ask, so I'm going to say it: of course I would like it to be Bruce Pearl, but as long as he's not a serious candidate, then we have to deal in reality.

Taking a look at the record Mooney has compiled in his time as a collegiate coach, there are some positives to take. He started out as the Head Coach of Beaver College (which is now Arcadia College), a D-III school, and remained there until 2000. He then spent four seasons as an assistant at Air Force until he was given the head coaching job in 2004. In his one season, he took the Falcons to an 18-12 overall record.

This was good enough to get him hired at Richmond in 2005, and he just completed his fifth season as coach of the Spiders. His overall record, 83-79, is not particularly stellar, but he has completed back-to-back 20-win seasons. Their body of work this year was good enough to get them ranked and earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. They very nearly defeated Temple in the A10 Championship Game in March and ended up with their best record since 1987.

Mooney is a young, energetic coach who will no doubt get offers from power conference schools in the future, if BC does not hire him. He has done well at recruiting recently in ACC territory and in that regard, the A10 is not as big of a jump as, say, the Ivy League.

There are not many bad things I can say about Mooney. He is not as experienced as Donahue, by virtue of the fact that he's about a decade younger, and his offense was tied for 152nd in the country in points scored this year, which does not give people ideas of an "exciting" offense. (BC was tied for 169th, so the offensive output of the two teams was nearly the same.) Richmond's scoring defense, however, was very good, in the Top 50 in the nation.

Early in his Richmond career, things were not going as well when he got his system in place, but like with Donahue, it eventually paid off. The difference between Mooney's situation and Donahue's, however, is that Mooney inherited a slightly better situation with an A10 program that had been making the NCAA Tournament here and there, which is why that program turned around a little faster.

Again, he's another guy from a mid-major looking to take the next step. Mooney isn't the perfect candidate, but he is a good one.

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