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Boston College Basketball: Initial List of Head Coaching Candidates

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

If the search for a new Boston College football coach is any indication, athletics director Brad Bates likes to keep his cards close to the vest. As CoachJF pointed out in last night's BCI Radio episode, Bates also isn't a "basketball guy" and as such, was likely much more comfortable finding a replacement for Spaz. He'll probably seek out some guidance on this hire, but most of these names you're hearing hearing right now are purely speculative. Many of the early named candidates might not even get interviews. Other candidates might come a bit out of left field. Regardless, should be an interesting and exciting head coaching search.

Here are the names that are being bandied about the most at this point:

Ben Howland. Howland is the former coach at Pitt (1999-2003) and UCLA (2003-2013). He was fired in 2013 by UCLA, becoming the first coach in men's basketball history to get fired shortly after winning a conference title outright. He's won at all three previous coaching stops -- Northern Arizona, Pitt and UCLA -- and is one of only three active coaches to compete in three consecutive Final Fours. Howland was fired not for his record, but rather after he fell out of good graces with UCLA boosters. BC good be a good fit for Howland, an attractive major conference head coaching gig without some of the same pressures that Howland felt in Westwood.

Ed Cooley. The current Friars head coach is in his third season down at Providence, fresh off a Big East Tournament title and the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance in a decade. A Rhode Island native, Cooley has strong ties to the PC program but also has significant ties to BC having served as an assistant under Skinner from 1997-2006. Cooley may not want to start over at BC, but the ACC does represent a significant step up in competition. Boston College may have a hard time matching Cooley's $2 million a year salary at PC, especially considering Donahue reportedly only made around $1 million and Addazio makes $1.6 mil a year.

Mike Lonergan. Lonergan is the head coach at George Washington, guiding the Colonials to their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2007. In three seasons, Lonergan has taken George Washington from 10-21 (5-11 A-10) to 24-7 (11-5 A-10). Lonergan has won every step of the way, winning a Division III National title at his alma mater, Catholic University of America, and earning an NCAA Tournament berth at Vermont. Lonergan recruited a guy named Joe Trapani while coaching up in Burlington.

Tommy Amaker. Eagles fans are more than familiar with the Crimson's head men's basketball head coach. Amaker has successfully resurrected his career at Harvard after mixed results at Seton Hall and Michigan. Amaker both coached (1988-1997) and played for Coach K (1983-1987) at Duke, so he's very familiar with the ACC. He also knows the college basketball scene in New England based on his time at Harvard. The Globe has tabbed him as the early favorite, but I just can't see Bates dipping back into the Ivy Leagues after the failed Donahue experiment.

Chris Mooney. Mooney has been coach at Richmond for nine seasons. He was considered for the job back when Donahue was hired. Back then, Mooney had guided the Spiders to the NCAA Tournament with a 26-9 (13-3 A-10) record and followed that up with a NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 run the following season. Since 2010-11, the returns haven't be as good for Mooney. Richmond has hovered around the .500 mark the past three seasons and only has one postseason appearance -- a CBI Tournament appearance last season -- over that span.

Pat Skerry. The current head coach at Towson, Skerry has guided the Tigers to a 23-10 (13-3 CAA) record this season and a berth in the CIT. Skerry hails from Medford and played collegiately at Tufts so he knows New England. He's known as a solid recruiter, serving as an assistant at Rhode Island (2005-08), Providence (2008-10) and Pittsburgh (2010-11) before taking his first head coaching gig at Towson.

Mike Hopkins. The long-time Syracuse assistant nears the top of the list of hot assistant coaches in line to take over his own program. Hopkins, a former Orange captain, has been an assistant coach under Boeheim since 1995, primarly focused on working with guards and helping to develop several future NBA players. Hopkins was reportedly named the successor to Boeheim back in 2007, a report that Syracuse AD Doc Gross later refuted. While Hopkins doesn't have any head coaching experience, he has been a part of a very successful basketball program for a number of years (and that's about the nicest thing I'll say about Syracuse here). Aside from the lack of head coaching experience, the other mark against Hopkins is he may be in line to succeed Boeheim at Syracuse. It's unclear how long he'd stick around before Boeheim finally decides to hang them up.

Tod Kowalczyk. Eagles fans are also familiar with Kowalczyk, the current head coach of Toledo -- a team that came into Conte Forum and knocked off BC in the regional round of the 2K Sports Classic. Kowalczyk guided the Rockets to a 27-6, 14-4 MAC record this season and an NIT berth as a #3 seed. Prior to Toledo, Kowalczyk was the head coach at Wisconsin-Green Bay. Toledo was banned from postseason play last year due to low APR scores and Kowalczyk was also named in a hazing lawsuit filed by former players during his time at Rutgers. Kowalczyk has also yet to guide his teams to an NCAA Tournament appearance.

Joe Jones. Jones, Steve Donahue's former assistant, is the current head coach down the Green Line at Boston University. Prior to his year at BC, Jones was the head coach at Columbia (2003-10) and an assistant at Hofstra and Villanova, so he does have some major conference experience. Jones may get an interview, but ultimately his association with Donahue will likely sink his chances at succeeding him.

Tim O'Shea. O'Shea is another former Skinner assistant, having served on Al's staffs at both Rhode Island and BC. O'Shea has been instrumental in building the Bryant program up from 1-29 to a CBI First Round appearance in 19-11. Prior to his stint at Bryant, O'Shea was head coach at Ohio, guiding the Bobcats to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2004-05. A BC alum, O'Shea played four years on the Heights under coach Gary Williams, winning two Big East regular season titles and making four NCAA Tournament appearances -- including two Sweet 16s and one Elite Eight.