BC Basketball Head Coach Candidate: Tom Brennan

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.

Previously on BC Interruption ...

Bill Coen
Steve Donahue
Ed Cooley
Chris Mooney (Signed extension with Richmond)
Tommy Amaker (Withdrew name from consideration)

Next up, here's a look at one of the stranger names who has throw his own name into the ring, former Vermont coach turned broadcaster Tom Brennan. 

Brennan is certainly open about his desire to take the top job at one of New England's job openings, telling the Globe:

"It's a dream job. I left a message for Gene. I'd love to get involved."

Brennan has also expressed an interest in the vacant Holy Cross coaching job. It will be interesting to see whether he will get an interview for the BC job, or whether him thrusting himself into the conversation reeks too much of desperation for Gene's taste. Regardless, here's a look at his resume:


Main Selling Point. A head coach of 23+ years, Brennan knows how to coach in New England, having held the top job at Vermont for 19 seasons and at Yale for 4 seasons. He led the Catamounts to three straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 2003-2005, including a win over #4 Syracuse in the 2005 NCAA Tournament (the Catamounts' only NCAA Tournament win in program history).



Assistant, Villanova
Head Coach, Fairleigh Dickinson
Assistant, Seton Hall
Assistant, William & Mary
Head Coach, Yale (1982-1986)
Head Coach, Vermont (1986-2005)

After graduating from Georgia in 1971, Brennan made stops at Georgia (as a grad assistant), Division III Fairleigh Dickinson, Villanova, Seton Hall, and William & Mary. He coached under such greats as Villanova's Rollie Massimino and Seton Hall's Bill Raftery.

Brennan got his first head coaching job in 1982 with the Yale Bulldogs. Over his four years in New Haven, Brennan posted a record of 46-58, including just one winning season (14-12) and another 13-13 season. In 1986, Brennan was hired for the vacant head coaching position at Vermont, a post he would hold for 19 seasons.

Brennan would go on to become the all-time winningest coach in Vermont history, accumulating a 264-276 record in 540 games. While he was able to slowly increase the team's win total from his first season (5-23), Brennan didn't have too much success until 15 years into his time at Vermont. Starting with the 2000-01 season, Brennan's Catamounts went 21-8 and won the America East regular season title. Over the next three seasons, the Catamounts would go on to dominate the America East Conference, posting a three-year record of 68-28 (42-10) and making three straight NCAA Tournament appearances. 

The high point of his coaching career was the #13 seeded Catamounts' first round upset over #4 Syracuse in the 2005 NCAA Tournament. Vermont beat the Orange 60-57 in overtime. Brennan retired after that season, finishing as the all-time winningest coach in Vermont history.

Brennan then was hired by ESPN in 2005 as an Analyst and has spent his post-coaching years as a radio and television sportscaster.


How does Brennan stack up to Gene's three-pronged job qualifications?

Qualification 1: Exciting Brand of Basketball. It certainly took a while, but Brennan was able to successfully turn around the Vermont Catamount program, going out on top after leading the program to its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory. He was able to build fan interest in basketball nearly on par with hockey, despite playing in Patrick Gym which seats just 3,266, most on pull-out bleachers. That being said, it's a lot easier to sell basketball at a school not used to making regular trips to the NCAAs and not living in the shadow of a Division I football team (and highly successful ice hockey program).

Qualification 2: Relate to Student Body, Staff, Alumni, and Fans. It's hard to imagine the BC fan base getting excited about a retired Vermont basketball coach turned radio broadcaster taking over the Eagles' program. While at Vermont, Brennan was able to steadily increase attendance, using their string of three NCAA tournament appearances to boost attendance and sell out Patrick Gym for the first times since the 1992 season. However, Brennan has now been out of the coaching game for 5 full seasons. In addition, at age 61, he is also 3 years older than Skinner. 

Qualification 3: Solid Recruiter. Over his 19 years at Vermont, Brennan was able to recruit some very good players, including Matt Johnson (1991), Kevin Roberson (1992), Eddie Benton (1996), T.J. Sorrentine (2005), and Taylor Coppenrath (2005). All of those players went onto receive numerous America East accolades. Brennan also placed a focus on recruiting solid student athletes, regularly leading the America East Conference in cumulative team GPA. Still, both the academic and athletic demands of recruiting at BC far surpass the demands needed to successfully recruit at UVM.

From everything I've read, Brennan is certainly a player's coach. This USA Today article on Brennan probably best captures his coaching philosophy during his time at Vermont. Still, he's been out of the game for so long that it's hard to imagine him even being considered for the BC head coaching position. Maybe his successor - Vermont's Mike Longeran - but certainly not Brennan, right? Is GDF that hard up for coaching candidates that he'll give Brennan a chance to interview?


Thoughts? Do you think Tom Brennan will get a chance to interview with BC?

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