Boston College Basketball: Steve Donahue Employment Watch, Day 6

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Has Donahue been fired yet? Still no.

Since Monday came and went without any announcement on the future of the Boston College men's basketball program, we can assume that Steve Donahue is still the Eagles' head coach. That's about all we do know.

Let's recap how we got to where we are today:

Wednesday, March 12

Boston College's 73-70 overtime loss to Georgia Tech in the first round of the ACC Tournament ends the Eagles season. BC finishes the year 8-24, 4-14 ACC. The Eagles ended the season with a 4-15 record since January 1, including losses in 10 of their final 12 games.

Thursday, March 13

Late Thursday night, Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel reports that Donahue will return to the Eagles next season. CBS Sports' Gary Parrish also runs with the retention story. Both cite sources with knowledge of the situation. All hell breaks lose as multiple media outlets -- Yahoo!, NBC Sports, Boston Globe -- also run with Thamel's initial report.

Friday, March 14

Despite reports on Thursday that Donahue will return to the Heights for a fifth season, the Globe's Michael Vega reports that school officials have yet to reach a decision on whether to retain Donahue. Bates refuses to confirm the Thamel report to the Globe, adding "When we're ready to make a public statement in the best interest of the program, we'll do that.''

Sunday, March 16

Mark Blaudschun reports that Donahue met with Bates and University President Fr. William Leahy on Sunday. No change was expected with "the odds favoring a joint statement coming out on Monday" in support of Donahue and the program. Blaudschun also floats the possibility of a staff shakeup.

The Globe's Christopher Gapser joins in calls for the school to part ways with Donahue.

Monday, March 17

No announcement. Blaudschun waxes poetic about how BC hoops is "close to becoming irrelevant" given that there's been no word on Donahue's future.

Tuesday, March 18

YOU ARE HERE.

It's more than a little strange that the Thamel story wasn't quickly followed up with an official announcement from the school. The only real explanations are either the school's leadership had a change of heart -- whether based on the significant blowback from the fan base immediately following the SI report -- or Thamel and Parrish's sources (source?) intentionally misled to complicate the matter further.

Whatever the case may be, it's becoming increasingly clear that Thursday's "Donahue retention" story jumped the gun, especially given that Leahy, Bates and Donahue reportedly met as late as Sunday. Whether that gives hope to the #FireDonahue crowd or not remains to be seen.

The thing is there is not much new information for the decision makers to uncover at this point. Donahue's record is what it is. There are still significant holes in the next two recruiting classes and the team has not made any progress with things like defense and rebounding. Individual player development was stunted this season with more than a few players regressing year over year. Attendance and interest in the program hasn't been this low in over a decade.

The only remaining variables left are Donahue's buyout and the availability of possible head coaching replacements. Donahue has two years remaining on his original six year contract. Could the AD be working out a deal to buy out the remaining two years of Donahue's contract? Or is BC holding onto Donahue and will retain him for a fifth year only if Bates' short-list of possible replacements says "thanks but no thanks?"

Have to think a majority of that short-list of possible replacements will be coaching through the weekend, which may necessitate this whole drama lasting well through the weekend. If BC can't land the coach they want, I have a hard time believing that the school would be willing to settle for a coach AND swallow the remaining two years on Donahue's contract.

Regardless, I don't subscribe to the notion that Bates doesn't have to make any announcement simply because Donahue has two years remaining on his deal. Bates' comment in the Globe seemingly backs him into a corner where he has to say something one way or the other. The school probably owes an explanation to season ticket holders and boosters if they have any hope of filling Conte Forum next year anyway. Unfortunately, an announcement might not come as soon as fans would like given the remaining balls up in the air.

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