A familiar name has surfaced in the Rutgers men's basketball head coaching search. Al Skinner, a Long Island native, expressed interest in the Scarlet Knights job and reached out to a fellow ACC coach for an endorsement:
According to a source with knowledge of the process, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski called [Rutgers AD Tim] Pernetti late last week to recommend Skinner, who was fired by Boston College on March 30 after 13 mostly successful seasons there.
Skinner is one of three coaching candidates on Pernetti's radar. In addition to Skinner, Rutgers has set up interviews with Robert Morris coach Mike Rice and former New Mexico coach Fran Fraschilla. Other candidates, including former Rutgers standout Eddie Jordan and Dayton's coach Brian Gregory, have removed their names from consideration.
I'm certainly biased here, but Skinner seems like the perfect choice to replace former Rutgers coach Fred Hill. The Rutgers SB Nation blog On The Banks seems to agree with me here. Skinner knows how to build programs after successful stints at both Rhode Island and BC. He also knows how to coach in the Big East.
Additionally, and with due respect to Mike Rice and Fran Fraschilla, Skinner has loads more experience coaching in the Big East and in a major basketball conference. Both Fordham and Seton Hall have already passed on Mike Rice, so I find it hard to imagine Rutgers making this hire after a fellow conference member passed on him.
Finally, Skinner was instrumental in leading BC basketball through the transition from the Big East to the ACC. With the clouds of Big Ten expansion looming hovering over Piscataway, if Rutgers is invited to leave the Big East for the Big Ten, Skinner's experience leading a program through a conference change could prove invaluable for Rutgers. I like to think Skinner would be able to build the Rutgers program up to the point they wouldn't be a perennial Big Ten basketball doormat like the rather large state university due west of Rutgers.
To me, Skinner seems to be the most qualified to get the Rutgers job. I hope he does gets it. If nothing else, this might make me hate my hometown's state university's athletic programs just a little less.
Be sure to check out the Rutgers SB Nation blog On The Banks for more updates on the Rutgers men's basketball coaching search.