Brian: Boston College parted ways with former coach Al Skinner almost a year ago, and he recently did a phone interview with the Globe speaking out for the first time since he got fired. Some of his quotes are very interesting.
First, on whether BC would have competed this season:
"I know the potential we had,'' he said. "We would have had a dog in this fight, and that we don't bothers me.''
"I've never had a team lose and come back with the same lineup of players and lose again."
What do you think? Would BC have won more or less games if Al Skinner was still coaching this past season?
Jeff: I absolutely think that it is most likely that BC would've won more games this season if Skinner were still there than if we did. Even though I am not a Skinner hater, the only reason I say that is because we would have had a lot more depth and more talent on the floor at almost all times than we did after the Skinner aftermath. We had a walk-on player on the floor at almost all times this season. That would not have happened if Skinner had stuck around. BC probably would not have been much better than a bubble-type team but they might have gone deeper in the ACC Tournament since they would've had some depth and they probably would've been on the right side of the bubble. Trapani and Jackson alone were good enough to win a lot of games this season, so with a little more help on the floor, they probably would have done more. I like Donahue and think BC will be better in the long run, but this season BC would have been better with Skinner.
Brian: Skinner also shrugged off the notion that he didn't put the work in, a storyline that seemed to pop up towards the end of Skinner's time on the Heights.
"Al Skinner was never the most talented guy on the floor as a player, but I competed as hard as anyone,'' he said. "I did the same thing as a coach.
"I was the second-winningest coach at URI, the winningest coach at BC. Does that lend itself to someone who doesn't work? If I can do all of that and notwork, then you should hire me anyway.''
Despite being the program's all-time winningest coach, the Skinner era is looked at with two very different perspectives. Some are appreciative of Skinner's time on the Heights and others seem to really, really dislike Al. Why do you think BC fans' reactions to the Skinner firing were so wide-ranging?
Jeff: If Skinner had just been better with fans and better in front of the camera he would have had a much stronger following and not so many haters. Also, every time you lose a game and still have several unused timeouts, everyone in the stands feels that they could have done better on the bench. Skinner made that mistake too often.
Brian: What I thought was most interesting, though not surprising, is that Skinner isn't ready to hang up his coaching shoes just yet.
"... I look at my résumé and the success I had at BC, and I look at the résumé of some coaches who are in the tournament now, and I look at my résumé and I think it compares favorably.
"I ran a good program, I graduated my kids. Everybody has problems, but we addressed them and handled them in a matter that satisfied every one."
Do you think Skinner will find another head coaching gig, or is this the end of the line for Skinner's coaching career?
Jeff: Yes, I think he will land somewhere in the future. He is a good coach and could help a lot of programs as he did Rhode Island and BC.