You are Brad Bates, the athletic director at Boston College. The NCAA tournament is about to begin, but you do not have a team at the dance, which is one of the reasons why your main job for the next few days, weeks, is to find a basketball coach who can the Eagles back into the mix.
Your next coach could still be working in the tournament, or he might be waiting for a chance to get back into the fast lane of big time basketball.
Despite the protests of a small group of hard core BC fans, the Eagle job is not an “A” list job.
Oh, it’s the ACC and its at a great school and in a great town.
But in terms of amenities, BC is in the ACC basement.
In terms of fan support, BC is in the ACC basement.
Money? Not sure if BC will be willing to pay the million plus salary which seems to be the operative number.
Bates tabbed it correctly at his press conference earlier this week when Steve Donahue was fired. Bates said there were a lot of good coaches out there, but not all of them fit the BC mold.
So the coaching pool is small.
Here is list of the five most viable and reasonable coaches who could fit that mold.
Whether they will come, if asked, remains a question and Bates must be careful not to reach out to someone and be rejected, which will undoubtedly become public.
1. Tommy Amaker, Harvard–Good coach who is much better at X’s and O’s than when he started at Seton Hall.
He has a Duke pedigree. He has an ACC pedigree. He has coached in the ACC (assistant), the Big East (Seton Hall), the Big Ten (Michigan) and the Ivy League.
He knows how to deal in academic environment.
Forget the criticism that BC won’t hire another Ivy League coach after Donahue failed coming from Cornell. Amaker moved down a class (competitively) in going to Harvard and won. Going to BC would be moving back into a world he has known and succeeded in his entire career.
Should be a no brainer, should be a done deal as soon as Harvard ends its season…but…if something happens, here’s a list.
2. Ben Howland–From a competitive point, Howland has lots of pluses. He won at Pittsburgh. He won at UCLA and took the Bruins to 3 Final Fours. That will make any AD take notice.
But is it a right fit in other areas. Howland is not warm and fuzzy. He was fired from UCLA after the Bruins won the Pac-12 tourment championship.
Why would Howland, coming off a 22-7 record and three Final Fours, wear out his welcome? UCLA AD Dan Guerrero said that UCLA needed “a fresh start.”
What happened? Bates needs to vet that information completely.
Howland reportedly wants to get back into coaching. Does he want to come back East? There could be better jobs, paying more money opening which Howland might want.
3. Ed Cooley, Providence–Former BC assistant under Al Skinner. Applied for the job after Skinner was fired by former AD Gene DeFilippo. Didn’t get it. Went to Fairfield and won and then PC where he has brought the Friars to the NCAA tournament.
Would re-energize enthusiasm at The Heights. But he is a perfect fit for Providence. Why would be walk away from a place where he has a much deeper pool of talent to choose from and where he is in a league where he can win on a consistent basis.
4. Mike Lonegran, George Washington. New England background. Solid coach. Won at Vermont, has GW in its first NCAA tournament since 2007, has worked his way through the system. Solid, few negatives.
5. Tim O’Shea–Bryant University. BC grad. Assistant coach at BC under Skinner and was one of his chief recruiters–Cooley, Northeastern coach Billy Coen were the others–First head job at Ohio where he took the Bobcats to an NCAA tournament. Came back to New England to help Bryant make the move to the Division 1 level. Has done a great job guiding Bryant from a 2 win team into a consistent winner and a contender in the NEC.
Not sexy enough of a hire for the fan base? Please. How about winning games, which O’Shea can do and has done.
There are other names out there and Bates will look at all of them, but he is using the John Wooden mantra: be quick, but don’t hurry.
The search should be over in a week.