It seems like every time I step away from the blog, something big always happens to turn the world of BC athletics upside down. Last time, it was the dismissal of Eagles' QB Dominique Davis and an epic 25-inning game between the Eagles and the Texas Longhorns in last year's NCAA Tournament. Now, this bombshell of a rumor dropped while I was away:
Late last night, one of the most intriguing names in this search emerged: Boston College coach Al Skinner. The Mount Vernon native, who is known for finding diamonds in the rough, has compiled a 385-291 record with eight NCAA Tournament appearances at Rhode Island and Boston College.
A source told The Post that Monasch has received permission from Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo to speak to Skinner. Monasch will interview Skinner at the law office of his agent, Dennis Coleman, in the NewsCorp building in Manhattan.
I really need to think twice about going on vacation, for all of our sanity.
My first reaction was simply ... huh? At face value, this seems like a curious move. As Jeff pointed out and I'll agree with, Skinner seems to be a bit under-appreciated at BC. Skinner has flirted with other jobs in the past and I can see where he may want to finally part ways with the Eagles.
However, Skinner and St. John's seems like a strange marriage for what the Red Storm is trying to accomplish. As the Duke Basketball Report points out, SJU is very interested in tapping into the New York City talent pipeline and putting some excitement back into an otherwise listless basketball program. Given Skinner's recruiting philosophy has never focused on tapping into one specific region combined with the exciting brand of basketball that is the Flex offense, the Red Storm job doesn't seem like a good fit for either side.
Having already struck out twice on ACC coaches (Paul Hewitt and Seth Greenberg), a Skinner hire doesn't seem to be the type of "splash hire" that St. John's AD Chris Monasch is looking for.
Ultimately, I don't think that Skinner makes this move but who knows at this point.
Let's say for sake of argument that Skinner does bounce. Where does that leave BC in terms of replacement candidates for Skinner?
First, you can all but forget about the BC basketball coaching great white whale that is Bruce Pearl. Pearl just recently rebuffed Iowa's overtures after the Hawkeyes fired Todd Lickliter just 11 days ago. I think there's virtually no chance that Pearl ever returns to either Iowa City (where he was an assistant) or Chestnut Hill (where he was Baldwin). Especially now that Pearl has gotten Tennessee to the first Elite Eight appearance in program history, I don't think it's a leap to say that the Vols will quickly lock down Pearl in the offseason. A pipedream at best, but a fine one at that.
The most popular names floated over the years have been current BC assistant Pat Duquette, Northeastern coach Bill Coen and Fairfield coach Ed Cooley. Duquette is in his 13th season with the BC staff and just finished his first full season as associate head coach. Both Skinner's former assistants Coen and Cooley have found success, particularly this season. Coen led the Huskies to a 19-13 (12-6 CAA) finish and a CBI appearance, while Cooley got Fairfield within a few points of an NCAA Tournament berth in his fourth season with the Stags.
Further down the BC coaching tree is Bryant head coach Tim O'Shea. However, with only 1 win total in his first season as the nascent D1 program head coach, O'Shea may have to prove himself a bit more before being a serious candidate for the job. Siena coach Fran McCaffrey has also been a hot coaching prospect, whose name is near the top of the list for the Seton Hall job.
Probably my favorite BC basketball coaching succession plan is this one: the Al Skinner succession plan brought to you by Jared Dudley. It's too bad Jared is currently using his athletic hands to terrorize NBA teams from beyond the arc. It would be nice if we didn't have to wait 12 more years for his return to the Heights.
Your thoughts? Who are your BC head coaching prospects? Even if Skinner stays, what does your Skinner Succession Plan look like?