ESPN's Jeff Goodman reports that Boston College met with St. Bonaventure Head Coach (and BC alum and former player) Mark Schmidt Thursday. Via Twitter:
St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt met with Boston College today, sources told ESPN.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 28, 2014
This was confirmed by our own Brian Favat:
Salted Philly soft pretzels met with Boston College today, sources told BC Interruption. #FireSesameSeedPretzels— BC Interruption (@bcinterruption) March 28, 2014
This is the first reported meeting of any candidate of the 10-day old coaching search; to state the obvious, Schmidt is, at best, an underwhelming candidate, despite his BC pedigree. A 1985 graduate who played under both Tom Davis and Gary Williams, Schmidt lacks both the big conference experience and record of sustained success as a head coach that many of the rumored candidates boast.
As Skip Prosser's assistant and top recruiter at Xavier from 1994-2001 (straddling the program's final MCC years and move into the A10), Schmidt developed a strong reputation on the recruiting trail and was credited with landing six future NBA players, including David West and James Posey. Since then, after an inconsequential run as head coach at Robert Morris (2001-07, zero postseason appearances), his coaching career appears to have peaked in 2011-12 when he led the Bonnies to a 20-12 record and A10 championship that culminated in a 2nd-round-and-out NCAA Tournament berth. That year, Schmidt was named by Forbes as the best college hoops coach for the money. (At least he's efficient, I guess? That'll do a lot to dispel the perception that BC won't invest in basketball.)
To be fair, St. Bonaventure -- not a school known for its athletic resources -- had only made the NCAA Tournament five times in school history prior to Schmidt's arrival, at which point the school was still reeling from a 2003 academic scandal, and only four players remained on the roster when Schmidt was named head coach. Still, since his lone 20-win season in 2011-12, Schmidt has failed to replace the production of top scorer Andrew Nicholson, his best recruit while at St. Bonaventure who was drafted in the first round by the Magic in 2012. The Bonnies have been a disappointing 14-15 (7-9, A10) and 18-15 (6-10, A10) the past two seasons.
I'd tell you what types of offensive or defensive systems Schmidt brings to the table, but I have no idea. All an exhaustive Google (read: rabbit hole) search dug up was a puff piece noting that the Bonnies buy into his philosophy of "playing hard for 40 minutes." So, there's that. Also on the glass half full side, the last time BC interviewed - and hired - a St. Bonaventure head coach who happened to be a BC alum, we got Jim O'Brien.
Clearly, of all the realistic or semi-realistic names that seem to make some semblance of sense for this job - Cooley, Howland, Mack, etc. - Schmidt's is the least impressive or imaginative. Hell, Dave Paulsen is more exciting. Steve Donahue brought a deeper track record of success as a head coach to the table than Schmidt does. Think about that.
While I'd love to brush this off as a courtesy interview meant to help an alum raise his profile, it is the only REAL update in the coaching search we've got to work with. Meanwhile, the Mike Lonergan bandwagon is being stripped for parts as the GW coach signed a contract extension today taking him through the 2020-21 season. Elsewhere, Marshall (!) is flirting with Mike D'Antoni.
Mr. Bates, we're being patient. We understand and appreciate you are thorough and guarded in your process; we're glad you're doing your due diligence. We're getting antsy. If you don't want us to freak out, let it slip that you've met with someone other than Mark Schmidt (preferably someone more credible as a candidate to rebuild this program).
Be warned: If you name Mark Schmidt the next head coach at Boston College, you better tell us that everyone -- from Shaka Smart to Jim Calhoun to Tommy Amaker to Ed Cooley to Mike Lonergan to even Al Skinner or the ghost of John Wooden -- said no before you offered Schmidt the job. Otherwise, I fear for the Flynn Fund... and your Twitter feed.