Can there be any more doubts about who should be on top of Boston College athletic director Brad Bates’ list to be the next basketball coach at BC?
The name is Tommy Amaker and Bates right now should be talking to the powers that be at BC to put together a package that Amaker can not refuse.
It should be a Godfather offer–6 or seven years in the range of $10 million.
Amaker’s Harvard team is now done for the season. The Crimson’s 80-73 loss to Michigan State in the third round of the NCAA East Regionals in Spokane on Saturday night was a a disappointment, but it was also a prime example of what Amaker has done for seven seasons at Harvard–and what he could be capable of doing if he came across the Charles River to BC.
Make no mistake, No. 4 seeded Michigan State–a Final Four favorite on many people’s bracket sheets–was happy to have survived. Michigan State was a more talented team than the Crimson.
For most of the first half and a good deal of the second half, the Spartans played that way. It appeared the Crimson were destined to fade from the NCAA tournament with their win over Cincinnati on Thursday as their NCAA tournament souvenir.
But then Harvard became the team that has played on a level that has become part of their profile under Amaker. They overcame a 16 point Spartan lead. They played with passion and intensity and intelligence. They did not panic. They even grabbed the lead for an instant.
But the Spartans responded with their own gut check, which is one of the reasons the Spartans could wind up in the Final four in Dallas in two weeks.
In an instant the Harvard lead was gone. And a few minutes later Harvard’s season was over.
The Crimson will fly home on Sunday and the euphoria of their second consecutive season of winning a game in the NCAA tournament will linger.
Amaker should take about 24 hours to reflect on the past and then think of the future.
Amaker must decide what is best for him and for his family. He has a great job at Harvard, but the Ivy League is still the Ivy League.
If Bates is smart, he will make it clear to Amaker that as good as the Harvard experience has been, a BC experience, a return to the ACC, can be better, will be better if Amaker is the man in charge.
Bates has said that the next coach at BC must also be the right fit, as well as the right coach.
That person is Amaker. If Bates calls, Amaker will listen. But Bates must have more than lots of money–probably in the $1.5 million a year range, which would double Amaker’s salary at Harvard.
Bates must have a vision for BC to break into a new area in the way it regards basketball. Better practice facilities, upgrades in travel on the road.
The ACC is moving quickly upward in its competitive profile. Virginia Tech added Marquette’s Buzz Williams. Wake Forest might go after VCU’s Shaka Smart.
Next season, Louisville and Rick Pitino will join Duke and Coach K, North Carolina and Roy Williams, Virginia and Tony Bennett, Syracuse and Jim Boeheim, Pittsburgh and Jamie Dixon.
It is a coach’s league.
What are the options for BC?
Former UCLA coach Ben Howland knows how to compete at that level, but Amaker is a better fit and Howland might be headed to Marquette or South Florida, who are days ahead of BC in the coaching process.
Forget finding a young energetic coach from the mid major level. There is no one out there who offers what Amaker can provide right now.
A Duke background, a Big East background, a Big Ten background, an Ivy League appreciation of academics, a record of building a program that was a non-factor in the Ivy League.
The critics who said Amaker failed at Michigan and Seton Hall, should check the records and listen to the words of Michigan State Tom Izzo about the job Amaker did at Michigan, which has a recent history of running good coaches off campus in football and basketball.
These are tough times for BC basketball, which needs a jump start as quickly as possible. It needs a personality, a presence as much as an X’s and O’s guy.
Amaker provides both.
Anyone who has watched Harvard basketball the past few years, the past months and the past few days, knows that the Amaker should be the first and only choice.
There is no need for any vetting process. There is no need to look at a list, talk to other people.
If BC and Bates are really serious about turning the basketball program around, the call needs to be made with an offer that can not be refused.
© 2014, Mark. All rights reserved.