Over the next few days, we'll take a look at the possible candidates for the now vacant Boston College men's basketball head coaching job.
Next up, here's a look at current Cornell head coach Steve Donahue.
Main Selling Point. Young, energetic coach who turned around the Cornell basketball program, winning three straight Ivy League titles and dismantling Wisconsin to make the program's first ever Sweet 16 appearance
Assistant, Springfield HS (1984-1987)
Assistant, Monsignor Bonner HS (1987-1988)
Assistant, Philadelphia (1988-1990)
Assistant, Penn (1990-2000)
Head Coach, Cornell (2000-present)
Steve Donahue has been the coach at Cornell since 2000 and has done a remarkable job turning around the Big Red basketball program. In Donahue's first season, Cornell went 7-20 overall and only won 3 games in Ivy League play. The following year, the team actually regressed, finishing with a mere 5 wins and 2 in conference. After that though, it was a steady climb to the top of the Ivy League, culminating in three straight Ivy League Championships. Donahue's squad has won 3 of Cornell's four total Ivy League titles.
Of course, we all know about Cornell's historic run to the Sweet 16 this year as a 12 seed, where they knocked off both No. 5 Temple and No. 4 Wisconsin by double digit margins. Donahue is one of the top coaching candidates from the mid-major ranks.
Before his time at Cornell, Donahue was a big part of Penn's rise in the Ivy League under coach Fran Dunphy. Donahue served as recruiting coordinator under Dunphy, helping the Quakers win six league titles in his last eight years before taking the top job at Cornell.
But what about those three pillars of job qualifications?
Qualification 1: Exciting Brand of Basketball. Check. Donahue and Cornell run a motion offense, pretty much the exact opposite of Skinner's tight flex. Free flowing? Unrestricted with no fixed patterns? Check. His motion offense has been compared to that of John Beilein's offense. The offense is meant to exploit the offense's quickness (Reggie Jackson?) and neutralize the size advantage of the defense (again, sound familiar?). This is probably Donahue's strongest qualification since he is basically the un-Skinner when it comes to offensive philosophy.
Qualification 2: Relate to Student Body, Staff, Alumni, and Fans. This one is a little more unclear. Yes, Donahue has breathed live, energy and enthusiasm into the Cornell basketball program. But he's also spent 20 years of his career exclusively in the Ivy League. The ACC and the Ivy League are two very different places in terms of college basketball. I'll give Donahue the benefit of the doubt though and hope that he can rally the student body, staff and fans by capitalizing on Cornell's improbable Sweet 16 run this year.
Qualification 3: Solid Recruiter. Donahue has proven a sound recruiter both at Penn and at Cornell. His senior class of Ryan Wittman, Jeff Foote, and Louis Dale have taken home numerous Ivy League awards and have been the spark that has propelled Cornell to three straight league titles. While Donahue does have deep roots in the Philadelphia area, he has shown that he'll scour the country to find the best talent for Cornell - Wittman is from Minnesota, Foote from New York and Dale from Alabama. Still, recruiting in the Ivy League and recruiting within the ACC with, you know, actual scholarships, are two completely different ball games.
Donahue is reportedly very excited about the BC opportunity and is set to interview with DeFilippo today. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Donahue's family has strong ties to the Philadelphia area and it's no secret that they would like to return to city life. Donahue also turned down overtures from Boston University a few years back, a position that would have tripled his current salary. The BU and BC jobs are clearly in different leagues but I thought that was certainly interesting.
Thoughts? Would you be OK with Cornell's Steve Donahue as the next head coach of the Eagles?
Rock the vote.