Regardless of what Gene says in his press conference today, I think this search will be fairly quick. I think Gene knows who he wants to speak with and will move quickly to hire Al's replacement. Still, plenty of names will be bandied about. Here is my rundown.
Skinner's Coaching Tree
Given that style of play and recruiting are issues in Gene's mind, going to one of Skinner's former assistants might not provide the change Gene is looking for. On the flipside though, Gene has worked with all of these guys and knows what he is getting. Two years ago, one of these guys would have gotten the job. Now, I am not sure.
Bill Coen: Head Coach, Northeastern
Pros: Long-time BC assistant. Knows how to recruit at the school. Runs the same offense as Al. Credited with recruiting many of the big names of the Skinner era. Would be relatively seamless. Would be willing to be the face of the program in ways Skinner wasn't.
Cons: Decent but not spectacular record at Northeastern. Too similar to Skinner.
Bottom Line: He would be my pick and he was the one I thought would get the job. Talking to others the past few days it seems like Gene wants more of a clean break from Skinner. He will have to wow in the interview and explain how things will be different with him in charge.
Ed Cooley: Head Coach, Fairfield
Pros: Like Coen, Cooley was a long-time BC assistant. Knows how to recruit at the school and also runs the same offense as Al. He is much more passionate than the other assistants and might provide the emotional spark Gene is looking for.
Bottom Line: The same issues that face Coen, face Cooley -- he would be viewed as a Skinner clone. I like Ed and think he would do a good job. I don't think he will get the job though.
Tim O'Shea: Head Coach, Bryant
Pros: Former Skinner assistant. Boston College grad. Well regarded within BC and in the basketball community. Established head coach. BC would be his dream job.
Cons: The disasterus rebuilding job at Bryant has probably killed any chance of O'Shea getting the job now.
Bottom Line: Timing is everything. If O'Shea had stayed in Ohio, he would be the front runner right now. There is no way Gene can hire him after what happened this season at Bryant.
Pat Duquette: Associate Head Coach
Pros: Well regarded. Was considered a rising talent. Working relationship with Gene. Would be a seamless transition.
Cons: No head coaching experience. No experience outside of working for Skinner. Too closely tied to Al.
Bottom Line: Pat would have benefited from a lower level head coaching job. He may get interviewed but he is not getting this job right now.
People will want the following guys, but I don't see them coming to BC under any circumstance.
Bruce Pearl: Head Coach, Tennessee
Pros: Boston College grad. Massachusetts native. Huge personality. Willing to be the face of the program and face of the school. Would sell BC high and low. Great results at every coaching stop.
Cons: Probably too much of a wild card for Leahy and Gene's taste.
Bottom Line: Bruce Pearl is not coming to BC. Tennessee could match any offer. His son is on the team there. He is king of Knoxville and can recruit whomever he wants.
Jamie Dixon: Head Coach, Pitt
Pros: Established coach. Good recruiter. Good developer of talent. Likable and willing to sell the program.
Cons: No ties to BC. No ties to the ACC.
Bottom Line: If Gene were smart he would play up Pitt's uncertain future with the pending Big Ten-Big East split. But Dixon has options. If he wants to leave Pitt, he can get another good job somewhere else.
The rising mid-major stars
This group seems to be where Gene is headed. I don't love the idea. Plenty of midmajor coaches have not transitioned to the next level. But, who knows, we may find the next super star.
Steve Donahue: Head Coach, Cornell
Pros: Mature, successful head coach. Has recruited at school with academic restrictions. Good teacher of basketball.
Cons: No ties to BC. No ties to the ACC. Has only coached in the Ivy League. Has never had to recruit elite players.
Bottom Line: I like Donahue, but we have no idea if or how he will make the transition to the next level. His mentor, Fran Dunphy, was able to do it, but going from Penn to Temple is very different than going from Cornell to BC.
Tommy Amaker: Head Coach, Harvard
Pros: Already in Boston. Knows the ACC. Aggressive recruiter.
Cons: Couldn't build a consistent winner at Michigan. Never did much at Seton Hall.
Bottom Line: I can't believe his name is being floated. How can you fire a guy like Al and replace him with Tommy Amaker? Amaker has accomplished very little and has gotten by on his Duke pedigree. He's had two shots at the big time and doesn't deserve a third. In my opinion he would be a disaster at BC.
Chris Mooney: Head Coach, Richmond
Pros: Young aggressive head coach. Considered a rising star. Has recruited with restriction at Air Force.
Cons: Although it is trending up, only one great season at Richmond. We would be exchanging the flex for the Princeton offense. No ties to BC.
Bottom Line: Mooney is intriguing in part because he is such a blank slate. He has the biggest upside but also could fall flat on his face.