According to Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel, Boston College basketball coach Steve Donahue will return to the Eagles next season.
Boston College head coach Steve Donahue will return to the Eagles next season. Donahue was informed Thursday by BC Athletic Director Brad Bates, according to a source with knowledge of the conversation.
The Eagles finished the season 8-24, losing in overtime in its first-round ACC Tournament game against Georgia Tech on Wednesday. Donahue is 54-76 in four seasons at Boston College.
Thamel cites the same litany of excuses for this season's poor performance, one of the worst in program history -- over-scheduling, losing starting center Dennis Clifford to injury and the mental toll losing four of their first five games had on the team.
Let's break this decision; an extremely poor one by Brad Bates, I might add.
Roster. The Eagles are slated to return every significant player on the roster next season. Despite Vega's report in the Globe earlier this week, Thamel writes that Hanlan is now unlikely to declare early for the draft since he's not a first-round lock. The Eagles will return nearly all of their players next season -- stop me if you've heard this before -- save for reserve guard Danny Rubin. Guard Darryl Hicks and center Dennis Clifford return from injury, but there are no recruits currently in next year's recruiting class.
Style of play. Thamel adds that the Eagles "will need to overhaul their defense and toughness in order to improve." Not sure I've seen anything to suggest that Donahue can or even cares to improve either of those facets of the game. Frankly, as we have found out, all offense, no defense and no rebounding is not a winning formula in the ACC.
Rebuild. Thamel cites that "the scope of Donahue's rebuilding job at Boston College" was a likely factor in bringing him back. My problem with this is that four years later and Donahue is no closer to solving the scholarship imbalance now than he was when he lost seven seniors to graduation and Reggie Jackson to the NBA Draft. Donahue will now be responsible for recruiting up to seven scholarship players for 2015, of which he currently has one. Better get on that.
Schedule and Attendance. After this year's over-scheduling debacle, Boston College is "expected to have a much easier schedule next season." That's great and all, but I'm not sure how that's going to bring folks back to Conte Forum next season. A significant number of long-time season ticket holders will not be pleased with Bates' decision to bring back the Eagles' fourth-year coach.
Staff. Since Donahue is sticking around, can we please hire an assistant coach with some major conference experience? Something needs to change here. How can you keep the current staff in tact without holding them accountable for the record of performance over the last three seasons? The 2015 recruiting class is far too important to the future of the program to leave to guys whose experience only goes as far as Hobart & William Smiths College and Western Ontario. BC never replaced Joe Jones after he left for Boston U. and the recruiting has been awful since. Even with Jones, the recruiting was only marginal at best.
Timing. Had Bates made a move this offseason, Boston College couldn't have timed the market better. There will only be a handful of major conference program jobs opening up -- Auburn, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Oregon State, Washington State. The Boston College job looks pretty desirable when thrown in with some of those other programs. Bates could have gone out and hired a Grade A coach to turn this thing around. If this doesn't work out next season, there's no telling which major conference programs BC will be up against a year from now. Unless Bates has some secret handshake agreement with Bruce Pearl to take over in 2015-16, the program has completely mis-timed the market here.