So Boston College went about its business and finally decided and announced that Steve Donahue would not get a fifth year as the Eagles’ basketball coach.
BC made the official announcement on Tuesday afternoon and athletic director Brad Bates said that the search would begin for a replacement.
“”We need to identity a profile of the specific coaches who can lead us at this time,” said Bates. “”There is no rush to make the hire, but we need to move as quickly as possible. When you have a decision of this magnitude, you have to make sure you have the right fit.”
It should be a short and local process.
The only man BC should consider coaches across the Charles River at Harvard.
Tommy Amaker, who will take his Crimson team to its third straight NCAA tournament on Thursday for a second round game against Cincinnati in Spokane is the right man for the BC job at the right time.
There shouldn’t even be a second candidate.
Here is what Amaker offers: A Duke and ACC pedigree, which covers both athletics and academics, a Big East pedigree (Amaker’s head coaching career began at Seton Hall), a Big Ten pedigree (he went from Seton Hall to Michigan).
It doesn’t matter that Amaker was not an overwhelming success at either school. It was part of his on the job training at the highest level of college basketball, a background that was never part of Donahue’s resume.
Donahue, who built Cornell into an Ivy League power, can do it again with another opportunity. Maybe back at Penn eventually. Or maybe everyone can be creative and Amaker can come to BC and Donahue can take over at Harvard. Make it a straight swap of coaches with players to be named later.
And Amaker is a much better coach now than he was 10 years ago or even five years ago when he was giving Harvard its first booster shot in basketball.
At Harvard, Amaker has turned the Crimson from a middle of the road Ivy team into an elite program.
Why would Amaker leave Harvard, where he probably has a job for life if he wants it?
Because as well as Amaker has done, he has now reached a ceiling. Amaker brought Harvard it’s first NCAA in more than 60 years three years ago. Last season, the Crimson not only made the tournament, they beat New Mexico in an NCAA second round game.
But everything from this point for Harvard may be viewed with less enthusiasm. How high can Harvard go? Winning the Ivy League title and making the NCAA tournament are points of achievement that the Harvard alumni appreciate.
But what happens next season if Harvard ties Princeton for the Ivy League title and loses a playoff game? Will that be regarded as a major disappointment.
At BC, Amaker can get back into the fast lane of college basketball. He can return to the ACC. The bar is set low enough right now that even a .500 record will be regarded as a giant measure of success.
Amaker fits every BC profile for its head coach, academically, athletically, socially. And it doesn’t even have to pay moving costs.
This should be a quick and seamless search.
Let Harvard finish its season. And then the search should begin and end with Tommy Amaker.
© 2014, Mark. All rights reserved.