Tennessee’s Bruce Pearl was the biggest name to come up in the search for the new Boston College basketball coach. Twitter hashtags and blogs trying to bring the coach back to his alma mater abound in Chestnut Hill, but alas, Pearl was not going to make the journey north from Knoxville.
With Pearl out of contention, the current field of coaching contenders may have most Eagles fans scratching their heads. In a field of also-rans and former assistants, the Boston Globe proposes a candidate who may ring a bell with anyone who’s paid attention to college basketball over the last three weeks. In fact, he’s one of two coaches whose teams are still playing at the moment.
No, atheltic director Gene DeFilippo is not about to try and make an offer for Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski — considering he already said no to a potential $15 million-a-year offer from the New Jersey Nets — but Butler’s Brad Stevens could be more within reach.
Pleasing Stevens financially wouldn’t be a problem for BC, which could easily double or triple his current reported salary of $396,000 (Al Skinner made around $1.1 million a season at BC), but leaving a place like Butler could be tough for the 33-year-old.
The Bulldogs will continue to be perennial Horizon League champions and — if this year is any indication — national title contenders. The decision for Stevens could come down to staying at Butler and maintaining his legend, or following the upward coaching trajectory like previous Bulldogs head coaches Todd Lickliter and Thad Matta. If Stevens were to come to BC, it would appear to be just a stopover. But he could be the kind of young coach who’s capable of bringing the program to levels that Skinner failed to reach in the past few years.
If Butler were to win the national championship, Stevens may realize there isn’t anything else to accomplish in Indianapolis and that it’s time for a new challenge. If Butler loses, he may yearn for that shot to take down Duke every year in the ACC.
Stevens may decide that his future is at Butler either way, or he could wait for a more appealing job to open up. No matter what, he should expect a call from DeFilippo in the next few days. If he doesn’t want to ship up to Boston, he won’t be the first coach to say, "Thanks, but no thanks" to BC.