In approximately 284 days, former UT coach, and BC alum, Bruce Pearl will be eligible to return to the sidelines after serving a 3 year show cause penalty handed down by the NCAA after he lied to investigators about recruiting violations (hosting several potential recruits at a backyard BBQ at his home). While he was not interested in coming home to coach the Eagles the last time DeFilippo spun the coaching carousel with the firing of Al Skinner, circumstances have quite obviously changed. Pearl has been out of coaching for over 2 years and is working as vice president of marketing for a wholesale distributor servicing convenience stores, with the occasional analyst appearance on
ESPN the network that REALLY should have lent a camera from this century to the people producing AggieVision last weekend (sorry, still can't believe how bad that was...). Steve Donahue is not a Brad Bates hire, and is quite possibly at a coaching crossroads after overseeing a middling team that has yet to sniff the postseason tournament(s) during his tenure.
Pearl has made it no secret that he intends to return to coaching, and will be motivated to restore his image by building a winning program. Due to his past troubles with the NCAA, it's not a given that every school with a head coaching vacancy will be lining up to take a chance on him, and may just make the Eagles HC position a little more interesting for Pearl this time around. If the Eagles don't show marked improvement this season, it may be wise for Bates to have Pearl's number in his speed dial.
This should be considered a make-or-break season for Donahue and the team he has built. Bates has already successfully addressed the head coaching positions of two of the three big revenue sports with the hiring of Addazio, and the extension of Jerry "the GOAT" York. Basketball is likely next on the agenda. While his seat isn't nearly as hot as Frank Spaziani's was during the heyday of #FireSpaz, Coach Donahue better hope someone is ready to dump a bucket of
Gatorade Powerade (forgot BC was Coke school for a moment) on him soon - either to celebrate an invite to the dance or to put out the flames sure to be stoked in his office chair should no such invite arrive. Either way, but especially if the Eagles are sitting home in March, Pearl is precisely the kind of proven commodity that might be too good for Bates to pass up.
I've met Coach Donahue while tailgating before football, and he is a genuinely nice guy. Moreover, he is an excellent ambassador for Boston College, and by all accounts knows his X's & O's. His time at Cornell proves that he is a program builder. But at the end of the day, wins and putting butts in the seats are what matters. To this point there have been far too few of both. I hope this season remedies both, and that Coach Donahue and his team are successful enough to quell any articles like this one come March. But if the Eagles don't go dancing this year, I hope Brad Bates at least calls to see if Pearl might want to #BeADude...