Friday, March 26, 2010

Skinner-St. John's talking

Multiple media sources are reporting that Skinner will interview with St. John's. At this point I am still betting that Al stays at BC. I just don't see it as a great fit. But who knows? I've been wrong many times before.


eagle1331 said...

I'm actually hoping he goes. I liked Al a lot, and he's done great things for the team and school. I also think he deserves the shot to get a little more recognition. That being said, I think the program needs a fresh face and someone young and energetic to try to excite the fan base, recruit a new way, and just change the program around. It's an ACC job and based on the article a couple weeks ago, we are willing to pay well..

Bottyeagle said...

completely agree. Nothing against Al, he has done a tremendous job with consistent tournament appearances. I just think that the basketball program could use some new life, and this might be that opportunity.

Bravesbill said...
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Erik said...

Who will be the new top dog for Eastern Clothing of Watertown? Back to Remy (and his broadcaster's cut!) or a newbie?

They could get York if they sell sweater vests.

corey_reynolds said...
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Harry Collins said...

I am immensely appreciative of Skinner, as you all know, but I too would be excited to see a change, I think the program has gotten a little stale. I also would be really interested to see who BC targets as the next coach. But I am likewise pessimistic Skinner would even be really interested, and vice versa...the last go around at St John's, the biggest criterion was getting a coach who was connected to all the Tri-State area AAU and HS coaches (why they ostensibly went with Norm Hill). Al does not fit that description, at least to my knowledge, despite him being a native of Mt. Vernon I believe. Now maybe SJU is re-thinking that requirement, and just want to go with a proven winner. After all, SJU hasn't even been to the tourney since 2002, so I'm sure they look at BC's success under Skinner with envy. But I don't see it happening. The St. John's coaching position is a big deal in Manhattan, despite all the other sports and distractions down there. With the job comes a lot of media scrutiny, so I can't see Skinner going for it even if there is genuine interest from the St. John's side. The BC gig is perfect for Skinner's personality...laid back, media leaves him alone, etc., plus he gets a hefty paycheck every year.

Dports1 said...

I hope Al goes to St. John's, only because it will spark a round of debate over whether BC should have stayed in the Big East. And THAT is a fresh topic which deserves attention.

In all seriousness, Al's courtship with St. John's will give GDF the opportunity to redeem himself from the Jags fiasco last year, i.e. fight to keep the guy who has resurrected men's hoops from the ashes or wish him well in his new endeavor and find a coach who has Al's strengths and improves upon his weaknesses. Whichever way it goes, just... handle with class. Please.

Courtney said...

I sadly agree with all the above statements. I'm ready to see Al go. Throughout the many years I've had season tickets, I am constantly frustrated by watcing BC play. I am very appreciative of Al and what he's done, he has had some great wins, but also, some of the losses have been inexcusable. The flex offense is boring, and I know many of the in state recruits do not want to go to BC because the way BCplays isnt a fast tempo, high schoring offense. If it was Al's decision, I think he would stay because he is very comfortable and his job is cushiony, but I have a feeling the athletic dept is hoping he takes this job. They can part on amicable terms, no firing involved, but also give the program more life. I'm hoping this works out the best for everyone involved

Lally said...
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Michael said...

Bring in Donahue from Cornell. Perfect fit for BC.

mod34b said...

Harry --

"The St. John's coaching position is a big deal in Manhattan, despite all the other sports and distractions down there."

I agree that NYC loves it's Johnnies, but you do know that SJU is not in Manhattan?

Here's a pithy summary of how SJU trumps even the Knicks in NYC (bit over the top if you ask me). SJU job can be a very hot job.

"When The Red Storm takes a bad hit, New York feels it. This is because, more than those dim-bulbed Knick mercenaries over there at Dolan U., St. John’s is the true New York home team. It sits at the pinnacle of the sprawling, endlessly interconnected city-hoops universe. It is a food chain that starts on a million courts and spreads to include who knows how many players and coaches, a whole array of JV, high-school, CYO, and AAU teams, plus scouts, freelance college recruiters, would-be agents, playground touts, summer-camp organizers, and every other variety of warm-up-suit-wearing character in the city.

Says Mark Jackson, who went through it all, from the peewee leagues in St. Albans, to Bishop Laughlin High School in Fort Greene, to CYO, AAU, to St. John’s, and finally the Knicks: “When you play CYO, you’re thinking about St. John’s. Same in high school. When St. John’s is doing good, it gives everyone in the city a lift, because if you’re a player it says something about you, because you’re part of it. When St. John’s is going bad, everyone’s depressed.”

Read more: How St. John's University Basketball Lost its Way

mod34b said...

Harry -- SJU is actually a much bigger deal in parts of NYC outside of Manhattan than it is in Manhattan. Manhattan ain't the home of the true New Yorker -- really just a bunch of carpet bagger effetes in Manhattan.

Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, that's Johnnies territory.

Ed DeSalvio said...

2 words: Bruce Pearl

Dan said...

Poppa Tranqs on Shinskie in today's Globe:
“I believe in competition. I don’t really care who plays, we’ll play the guy we feel can do it the best. But compared to the other guys, he’s way ahead of them.’’

Not sure if this is good or bad.

VinnyBostonCollegeEagle said...

I think Skinner has grown stale at BC. I would like to see a change. It's about time.

Thomas said...

Re: Tranq on Shinskie

I really hope that Dave Shinskie circa 2009 was part of "the other guys" comment.

Harry Collins said...

Wow Mod you pounce on every perceived misstep apparently. When I said Manhattan I was talking about the media, not the location of the school (for the record, flagship in Queens and satellite campuses in Manhattan and Staten Island). Next time I'll say Tri-State area, OK? In any event, my point being that it is a hot seat coaching job, very different from the BC job, and a bad fit for Skinner in my view.

CT said...

Can't wait for Skinner to turn down the job and come back to BC. It's the best of both worlds...a restless fanbase and a coach whose mind is quite obviously elsewhere. In any event, I hope GDF has that list of 3 guys he would talk to--whether it's next week or next March.

ObserverCollege said...

Being serious for a moment, I would think Al goes if he gets an offer. This season was terribly disappointing, and there seemed to be real chemistry issues going on. I do suspect Al lost the team, as the traditionally mediocre defense was not compensated for by teamwork on the offensive end.

St. John's would actually be a good spot for Al. If he's smart enough to hire an assistant plugged into the NYC scene, then he could reap some serious talent just by osmosis. Unlike the case at BC, the local AAU coaches will be fine with sending kids to St. John's.

Erik said...

I don't believe anything can be read into GDF's opinion of Skinner based on allowing the interview. After Jags, Gene can't show the same restrictions because that will prove to be a policy, and no coach would feel any freedom at BC. Allowing an interview displays that Jags was based on that single scenario.

So GDF could still be content with Al.

Sidenote: wouldn't Al to the Nets be a better decision for him?

mod34b said...

Harry -- Remember the episode on Seinfeld, where Elaine meets up with the bad breaker-upper. I am channeling that now.

given how thin your skin is and how able you are with your words, I knew you were going to make some comment up reading any sort of suggestion that you are less than 100% correct. (dealing with real or perceived criticism ain't your thing)

so I am laughing now. I feel like a very mild version of CT -- denounced (albeit mildly) by the great Denouncer Harry Collins. at least the insult was not your normal reference to teenage boys. ha!

ps Nobody who knows SJU would ever view them as having a Manhattan connection or SI connection, (even if there is some tiny satellite campuses there). For SJU, it's all happening at the intersection of Utopia Parkway and Union Turnpike -- hard core Queens!

Also, you overstate (badly) the local media scrutiny. the media did not get on Norm. More of an alumni outcry. Media only loves SJU when they are good.

mod34b said...

One big point not discussed: this interview is gonna be a big negative for recruiting kids to bc. Who want to come to such obvious coaching instability. I think gdf and skinner know the end is upon us. And who is leaking this? Gdf?

Ry said...

i don't see your point mod. this incoming class is already signed....and there is still plenty of time before next year's class will be. coaches interview all the doesn't always mean they have one foot out the door as much as you might want it to.

CT said...

Mod feels like me? Lucky you. B/c you were denounced mildly by the Great Denouncer? Ha. Consider it a compliment. There's still hope for you Mod.

Seriously, let me know if there's a press conference. We can do better.

Otherwise, go hockey.

Harry Collins said...

Hey Mod, you're blowing me away with your concrete jungle street cred, man you are cool. Yuppie Manhattan transient, you are not. No sleep till Brooklyn, dude.

blist said...

Mod, I know a few born and raised Manhattanites who would flick their cosmopolitans in your face in a huff for that comment...

In NY, the feeling is St. Johns has no idea what it is doing. It literally seems they have made a list of every decent D-I coach who grew up on Long Island and are trying to get them to take the job. billy donovan turned them down, Ga Tech's Hewitt turned them down, etc. A lot of downside, to SJU

mod34b said...

Harry! Better, but No teenage boy insults. Geez.

"chinless!" as George grabs his chin. Now I am channeling George.

BC Lova said...

al skinner is a brutal in game coach and the laziest recruiter in the history of the world. he's also dumb enough to suspend his best players and not just let them slide like a normal d-1 program. good riddance I say, I'd rather have lou holtz coach the basketball team, at least he's got some friggin enthusiasm.

Claver2010 said...

"One big point not discussed: this interview is gonna be a big negative for recruiting kids to bc"

ahhahaah Skinner recruiting

Nick P. said...

FYI, for those of you in New Wngland, the hockey game will be broadcast on Comcast Sportsnet this afternoon at 1:30.

Anne said...

for those with comcast in boston, that's channel 48

mod34b said...

Ry -- future recruits will now be concened that the coach that recruited them won't be around very long...

Openly allowing Skinner to interview injects unneeded uncertainty into the BC hoops program.

Rival coaches will certainly point that out to the recruits. Skinner's recruiting is anemic to begin with, and this makes it worse.

What I am saying is that both Skinner and GDf know that Skinner's flirting with other schools is bad for BC, and this strongly suggests that Skinner's days are coming to an end.

blist said...

Nice feature on Shinskie in the Globe. He appears to actually have a very reasonable self-image of his season last year, which I think bodes well for '10

NG21 said...

Please leave for St. John's Al....really I am thankful for your service but I am begging you to go...I will donate to the Flynn Fund the minute we have a chance to get an enthusiastic coach for our program.

Bruce Pearl in the Elite 8 this year plus 2 other Sweet 16s in five years....warrants mentioning.

Ry said...

bruce pearl made $2.3 million per season before a contract extension a year or two ago and is likely making more than that.

al makes $1.1 million.

while i think Gene would spend more than what he spends now, i don't see him more than doubling the salary.

if al goes, i am a big fan of coen

Bravesbill said...

Going back as an alumn to coach your school is always a big factor. That said, Pearl makes too much money and Tennessee is a much better program than BC currently. BC would need to do something miraculous in order to pry Pearl from Tenn.

G.A. said...

Let's be real about Bruce Pearl. He has no academic or moral norms. He is in the Calapari/Pitino mold of college coach. BC wants nothing to do with that.
It's unclear that Pearl has the slightest interest in coaching BC. What would he gain from that?

I love the way his teams play, but BC wants nothing to do with that kind of coach. They want somebody like Skinner: classy, low-stated, intelligent, content with where he is.

Tennessee is a lot like BC: bball is second fiddle, in a good conference but a traditional lower-tier team (before Skinner). Not a lot of expectations. The difference is the academic standards and the role of college sports in the town. The only coach in New England who has transformed the culture of sports is Calhoun. And you could argue that Calhoun is the only coach in the last thirty years to make a non-power into a powerhouse, and to stay there.

If Skinner leaves, BC needs a coach who can generate enthusiasm, play within the rules, recruit a bit better, and coach players up.

If Al leaves there's a 70% chance that the team has a decade more like the 90s (3x dancing) than like the last decade (7x dancing, one 3 seed, two 4 seeds)

Bravesbill said...

Pearl has no academic or moral norms? A lot of unsubstantiated claims sir.

CT said...

Pearl strikes me as the guy who just never left college. After his divorce a couple of yrs back, his ex-wife opened a salon and named it "Alimony." Nice touch. Makes you wonder about all those rumors about his extracurricular activities. Think Bruce has garnered a reputation for being quite the ladies man.

Nice job, Coach Pearl! Ever to excel!

He had the one problem with four players this year, but I'm not aware of anything else...just innuendo on message boards. BC has had it's fair share of problems with bball players, too, so it's hardly a Pearl thing. I'm not aware of Skinner getting his guys to graduate at a high level, but we never talk about that--only about others who don't. I don't know where you get your 70% "feeling" about regressing for a decade, but the program is completely different now than it was. There are other coaches who can get us to the tourney 7 out of 13 yrs. Pearl has 3 Sweet 16s in 5 yrs at UT and yet there is no way he will ever coach at BC. The backstory on the guy is too shady.

Michael said...

Billy Donovan is not leaving the SEC for St Johns and Pearl is not leaving the SEC for BC. The SEC is printing money left and right these days. I heard a rumor that Billy D may get a monster offer from Oregon with Nike Money attached. I doubt that he will leave Florida but people here have to be realistic.

mod34b said...

Skinner really seems to want to leave BC -- bolt BC!.

I wonder what the back story is? Another similar story -- Skinner is the #1 SJU candidate at SJU and the talks btw Skinner and SJU are just about $$$ -- appeared this evening at (Providence Journal).

Looks like Al's Rhode Island lawyer/agent is letting someone (GDF?) know he is prepared to bolt BC

Is this for real?, or is it a contract renewal and raise gambit ala Seth Greenberg or Paul Hewitt??

Here's the article from Newsday, 2 hours ago, below


The search to find a new basketball coach at St. John's appears to have taken a break for the weekend slate of NCAA Tournament games. Boston College coach Al Skinner remains high in contention for the job, with financial matters said to be the main issue after discussions on Friday.

Skinner isn't talking, but from their Massachusetts home, his wife, Donna, said, "Stay tuned."

Someone familiar with the situation said Skinner would not have engaged in the interview process with St. John's if he did not think he was the Red Storm's top candidate.

For example, Tom Pecora, who was hired by Fordham this past week, effectively became the Fordham coach the moment athletic director Frank McLaughlin called Hofstra to seek permission for an interview. Pecora set those parameters. In turn, Fordham wanted to make sure Pecora would accept the job before inviting him to tour the campus.

That desired scenario took a detour for St. John's in the pursuit of Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt. Permission was granted to speak with Hewitt before St. John's learned of the coach's desire to remain at his school. Hewitt did not stay in the conversation long enough to get a contract offer.

An official request also was made to speak with Skinner. If the sides cannot agree financially, expect Skinner to withdraw his name. St. John's will not put him in the position of being rejected.

"Athletic directors usually want to know [if a coach] is interested so that they don't get, quote, 'turned down,' " an athletic official in the ACC said, adding tongue-in-cheek: "I have been taught you never offer the job to anybody until you have them standing next to you before the press conference is to begin. That way you've never gotten turned down. Any time you have a coach in a high-powered program or high-powered league where the recruiting is always impacted, if they [the school] are going to make the call, they [the coach] want to know they have it before they get there."

St. John's continues not to comment on its search process, which could include more interviews in case a deal with Skinner cannot be reached.

mod34b said...

The projo article:

Skinner mum on St. John’s, but it’s clear he wants job

09:57 PM EDT on Saturday, March 27, 2010
By Kevin McNamara

Journal Sports Writer

Amid various reports on just what St. John’s is looking for in its next head basketball coach, one fact is clear: Al Skinner apparently wants the job.

Skinner, the former University of Rhode Island head coach who’s gone on to become the all-time winningest coach in Boston College’s history, interviewed for the St. John’s job on Friday. He and his staff have reverted to lock-down mode ever since and were not available for comment on Saturday.

Skinner just completed his 13th year at BC where he’s led the Eagles to seven NCAA Tournaments and one trip to the NIT while playing in both the Big East and the ACC. That would normally be a resumé deserving of plenty of security and respect but that apparently is not the case. BC signed Skinner to a contract extension in 2007 that lasts through the 2012-13 season, according to a BC athletic Web site. He earns a reported $1.1 million per season.

Yet after a 15-16 season where some disciplinary off-court issues cost the Eagles some key players (including Pawtucket native Rakim Sanders), Skinner has decided to explore other jobs. A native of Malverne, N.Y., the 57-year-old was a star player with the ABA’s New Jersey Nets and owns the New York City roots that St. John’s covets. A change of scenery, a return home and a chance to bag a five- or six-year contract that could pay in excess of $1.25 million a year is certainly attractive.

It would be a major surprise if Skinner met with St. John’s officials (along with his attorney, Rhode Island resident Dennis Coleman) without some assurance that he was the leading candidate to get the job. However, various press reports Saturday claimed that St. John’s was set to talk with Siena’s Fran McCaffery. McCaffery has also interviewed with Seton Hall and could be in the enviable position of weighing one Big East job against the other.

On paper, Skinner is the most accomplished coach St. John’s has contacted. The Red Storm has already been rebuffed by Georgia Tech’s Paul Hewitt and coaches like McCaffery, Robert Morris’ Mike Rice and Cornell’s Steve Donahue lack Skinner’s experience and long record of winning at the highest level. If Storm athletic director Chris Monasch ultimately decides to interview more candidates, don’t rule out URI’s Jim Baron and former UCLA coach Steve Lavin entering the search.

BCDoubleEagle said...

BC hockey beat Alaska; will play Yale Sunday at 5:30 for a shot at the Frozen Four.

Let's go Eagles!

mod34b said...

Now NY Post says its not Skinner in the lead, but SJU is very close to hiring former UCLA coach Steve Lavin.

Darn it!!!

bcmurph said...
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bcmurph said...

Sounds like it's going to be pretty awkward if he returns...With a full boat of scholies to offer after next year, might be best if he moved on either way...From the Globe today...

"...because Skinner’s support at BC has been eroding steadily. According to sources familiar with the situation, Skinner understood that. He also knew that BC was not willing to talk about an extension of his contract, which has three years remaining, and that an NCAA Tournament appearance next year was essential."

BCguy said...

he is gone, SJU or not

CT said...

The Globe article said that he would be back if St. John's doesn't work out. Uh, gee, sounds great. If he gets paid for all the fans dressed as seats, next season promises new depths if he returns after courting this job.

St. John's with bargaining power? Puhleeze. They'd be lucky to get Skinner. It just so happens we'd be lucky if they got Skinner, too.

mod34b said...

Darn, Darn, double Darn! We're stuck with Skinner!

Looks like Al Skinner F----ed up his interview at SJU by being a very rigid guy. Ironic that the master of the flex is inflexible. Actually, it's no surprise that he is completely unimaginative and inflexiblee, and clings to his own fixed notions b/c that's what he is all about. He is the embodiment of Emerson's "foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds"

Basically, he appears (see below) to have insisted in bringing his NE staff and not hiring local NYC AAU connections. What a dope!! Now we are stuck with a lame duck who will be on the look out for a new job. TOB all over again, played out for 3 more agonizing years!

Here is the Globe story of this evening


Boston College coach Al Skinner has dropped behind former UCLA coach Steve Lavin in the St. John's coaching derby to find a replacement for Norm Roberts who was fired two weeks ago. Lavin will meet with St. John's officials Monday morning. If there are no snags, Lavin could be the announced as the next St. John's coach by Tuesday..
According to sources familiar with the search, one of the topics that St. John's athletic director Chris Monasch focused on in his interview with Skinner on Friday was who would be on his staff. Monasch felt that any new coach needed a strong link to the powerful AAU presence in New York City and wanted Skinner to hire someone with strong connections in that area. Skinner said that he wanted to bring his current coaching staff which included Pat Duquette, Mo Cassera and Bonzie Colson, all who have more New England ties than New York connections.
On Saturday, Monasch interviewed Siena coach Fran McCaffery, but McCaffery was in the process of finalizing a deal which sent him to the University of Iowa as its new head coach.
Monasch then decided to go for a victory in the "press conference'' and made contact with Lavin, who last coached at UCLA eight years ago. Monasch had the same question for Lavin, who according to sources familiar with the situation, told Monasch he had no problems in making those hires. All of it seemed to work and yesterday sources familiar with the situation said that St. John's was preparing a deal which will include Lavin as well as Dave Leitao, who had experience as not only an assistant on Jim Calhoun's staff at Connecticut as well as head coaching stops at Northeastern, DePaul and Virginia as well as Manhattan head coach Barry Rohrssen, who has strong recruiting ties in the city. An announcement could come as soon as today if details could be worked out.
Barring any last minute snags Lavin will be the next coach. If things can't be worked out, Skinner would then become St. John's next option.