When Boston College had to hire a new football coach, athletic director Gene DeFilippo didn’t have to look far, eventually hiring long-standing defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani. Now that the school is looking for a new basketball coach, it hasn’t been so easy.
Despite a lack of interest from established coaches and DeFilippo’s refusal to put a timeline on filling the void left when Al Skinner was let go, The Boston Globe reports that a new coach should be named by the end of the day on Tuesday.
BC has already been turned down, in one form or another, by four potential candidates and nothing is set in stone with any others. Though DeFilippo believes the spot on the Heights is a "terrific job," the opportunity to replace Skinner has not exactly had big-name coaches clamoring for the position.
According to the Globe, Cornell’s Steve Donahue holds the lead in the clubhouse, as his interview last week was deemed “very impressive” and a “good fit” by BC officials. Questions remain about his ability to recruit in the ACC, but his offensive style is 180 degrees from the Skinner-era flex offense — something DeFilippo is searching for.
Former Skinner assistants Ed Cooley (currently at Fairfield) and Bill Coen (Northeastern) have the enthusiasm DeFilippo is looking for and reportedly had good interviews, but the ties to their old boss and his less-than-exciting style may scare away the BC brass.
Then there are always the dark-horse candidates. Former Vermont coach Tom Brennan — who has been out of coaching for five years, but did engineer one of the best moments in recent NCAA history — and current Catamounts czar Mike Lonergan have both expressed a desire to take over the post, but there is no word on whether DeFilippo has any interest in them.
Riding it out as the darkest of dark horses is current Butler head coach Brad Stevens, a hot name for current openings and not-yet-vacant ones all across the power conferences. DeFilippo has yet to contact him — he can’t, at least until the Bulldogs' NCAA Tournament run is complete — but once the nets are cut down in Indianapolis, BC fans can hope DeFilippo will get the 33-year-old on the line.
Only two candidates involved in the search have major-conference coaching experience, and both of them have taken their names out of the running.
Harvard’s Tommy Amaker never even heard from DeFilippo before pulling his name from the ring. The former head man at Michigan and Seton Hall decided to stay in Cambridge instead of taking the journey just south of the Mass. Pike.
Bruce Pearl of Tennessee rejected all overtures from his alma mater to stay in Knoxville, where his team is coming off an Elite Eight trip.
Even some of the mid-major coaches can’t seem to run away from Chestnut Hill fast enough. Brian Gregory — fresh off an NIT title with Dayton — and Chris Mooney — who took Richmond to a No. 7 seed in the NCAAs — both backed away from the Eagles job, preferring to stay at basketball-first programs in the ever-improving Atlantic 10. Mooney even turned his interview with BC into a seven-year contract extension with the Spiders.
Whether Donahue, Cooley or Coen get the gig, the speculation should soon be over for the anxiously awaiting Superfans. With a new basketball coach in place, they can turn to the games that are actually happening — like the Eagles’ trip to Detroit for a little thing called the Frozen Four.
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