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 Fairfield head coach Ed Cooley.
Main Selling Point. Much like Bill Coen, Cooley is a former Skinner assistant. He's an energetic, younger head coach that has built up the Fairfield program to coming within a few points of a MAAC title and an NCAA Tournament berth.
Assistant, UMass-Dartmouth (1994-1995)
Assistant, Stonehill (1995-1996)
Assistant, Rhode Island (1996-1997)
Assistant, Boston College (1997-2006)
Head Coach, Fairfield (2006-present)
Ed Cooley is another of Al's guys, having spent 10 seasons with Skinner - 9 on the Heights and one at Rhode Island. Cooley took the top job at Fairfield four years ago and has placed Stag basketball on an upward trajectory. He has found success at Fairfield as soon as he stepped on campus, as he's the first MAAC coach to post a .500 record or better in each of his first four seasons. The Stags have also posted two 7-game winning streaks under Cooley's leadership, the longest program winning streak in 20 years.
This season, Fairfield finished 23-11 (13-5 MAAC), good for a second place regular season finish. Cooley's squad came within a few points of knocking off Siena and advancing to the program's first ever NCAA Tournament appearance. The Stags did make an appearance in the CIT this year, knocking off George Mason 101-96 in overtime before bowing out to Creighton in the quarterfinals.
At BC, Cooley was an assistant under Skinner and instrumental in the recruitment of Troy Bell. The Eagles went 175-108 overall during his 9 years in Chestnut Hill. Many basketball writers look at the lack of big-name recruits and other "diamonds in the rough" over the past few seasons and point to the loss of Ed Cooley and Bill Coen as the reason for this; ultimately, the beginning of the end of the Al Skinner era on the Heights.
But what about those three pillars of job qualifications?
Qualification 1: Exciting Brand of Basketball. Cooley runs a modified Al Skinner offense which ended up being fairly successful in the MAAC this season. Fairfield had an adjusted offensive efficiency of 105.1, good for second best behind league-champion Siena. Again, much like Skinner, the offense wasn't the issue at Fairfield; the defense was fairly average. The Stags ranked fourth in adjusted defensive efficiency (99.1) in the 10 team Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Qualification 2: Relate to Student Body, Staff, Alumni, and Fans. Again, unclear. Cooley may prove to be too close to the old Skinner regime to be able to successfully rally Superfans. To his credit, he is certainly more animated than Skinner. Roaming up and down the Fairfield sidelines, you can tell just how involved in the game Cooley is and how much energy and emotion he puts into every game.
Qualification 3: Solid Recruiter. Much like Coen, Cooley can stake claim to much of Skinner's early recruiting success. His big catch was helping Skinner and the Eagles recruit a 6'1" guard from Minnesota named Troy Bell. Bell would only go on to be two-time Big East Player of the Year and finish as BC's all-time leading scorer. Born in Providence, Cooley has been a New England guy throughout his career, and knows the area well. He played a Stonehill College (MA), and made coaching stops in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Cooley, who is interviewing with the school today, has stated that his dream job is to return to the Heights and coach the Eagles. Personally, I like Cooley as he was an animated and enthusiastic assistant coach for Skinner and the Eagles when I was at BC. At the end of the day, though, I think both Cooley and Coen are too similar to Skinner to end up with the job. If DeFilippo really wanted a Skinner clone, they probably should have worked through their differences and kept Al at the school in the first place.
Thoughts? How about Ed Cooley as the next head coach of the Eagles?