Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mistaken mistakes

There are going to be a lot of articles like this in the coming weeks. But using Donahue's struggles to rehash the Skinner firing is not fair to anyone involved. Was it a "mistake" to fire Skinner as Donaldson writes? Probably. But you cannot judge it as a mistake purely based on where BC is now. And connecting the two issues is pointless since the man responsible for firing Skinner and hiring Donahue is no longer in charge of BC Sports.

Attacking Donahue as it relates to Skinner is obvious and pointless. His record will be BC's and our gauge. What another coach did 13 years ago, shouldn't really mean much. Donahue should be judged on what he's done and where the program is going. The mistakes Bates should be focusing on is how Donahue misjudged his roster, schedule and ability to adapt.

Donahue's last chance to save his job begins tomorrow. He not only needs the win. He needs to show potential recruits and BC's leadership that he has has fixed and has learned from his mistakes.


Hoib said...


I usually agree w/ u but not this time. I think it's worth rehashing this thing because I think the best guy to replace Donahue very well may be Al. Did he forget how to caoch over the last 4 years.
I worry about Bates on this one. He was a football player @ Mich. this served him well in finding Daz. His BBall hire at Miami isn't looking so good at this point. 8&22 last year 1&5 this year

Matt Hill said...

Al Skinner after his first three years was 36 and 52 or 36.36%. Steve Donohue is 46 and 52 or 46.94% So why the rush to give Donohue the bum's rush.

Skinner in his 4th year was 27 -5; Donohue after 9 games in his 4th year has already lost more than Skinner did all year. There's a reason to give him a rush.

I don't go for giving a coach 4 years to start winning. Most good coaches do it within a couple of years. You either have it or you don't.

Danny Boy said...

I absolutely love what Al did for the school and the program in his time. But he had clearly hit his ceiling. Between that and his recruiting woes, it was clear that his time at the Heights was up.

The mistake wasn't in firing Al. It is starting to be clear that the mistake was in hiring Donahue.

Only when we are so low do we long for the level that Al had us at his final few years. But that isn't to say that that level was the pinnacle.

DoubleEagle2013 said...

Hopefully the one thing we've learned from this is to have a set list of replacement candidates before the NCAA tournament starts. If Cornell had lost in the first round there is no way Donahue would have gotten the BC job. We shouldn't bet our program on two or three games where nearly anything can happen.

Hoib said...

Pure speculation but I Don't think Al was finished w/ good teams. I think he would have had a big year if he had 1 more. The only decent year Donahue had was his first. That was w/ Al's players minus Sanders, Revenel, and Heslip. Gene wanted Al out and took his chance when he had it to get rid of him.

Bravesbill said...

Just because Donahue sucks as an ACC coach doesn't mean that it was a mistake to fire Al. The mistake was in the hiring, not the firing. It's pretty comical that people believe it was a mistake to get rid of Al and that Al should replace Donahue (Hoib).

ATL_eagle said...

I love Skinner but don't think we should rehire him. The program needs to move on for the long term.

As for hiring someone off of a hot tourney...not always a bad idea. Bruce Pearl used his UWM run to get the Tennessee job.

Hoib said...


I can easily understand someone disareeing w/ me, but commical? How long have u been watching BC Bball? Lets see who the next guy is and see how he does.

eddierock said...

One of my fondest BC sports memories was being live in Landover, MD for the first two rounds of the 1994 Men's NCAA's. This was back when the Big East was still in its hay day and had a reputation nation wide for playing tough, physical hoop.

On Sunday, in the second round, BC beat #1 ranked UNC 75-72. A little known BC Freshman, Danya Abrams, man handled Eric Montross, Rasheed Wallace and anyone else who got in his way.

There is not a single man on the roster today who plays with one tenth of the guts and toughness that Abrams played with every game. Let's get the Ivy experiemnt over with and get back to playing basketball the way BC played it for so long and so well.

Here is a clip which features BC on the cover of SI that week:

Hoib said...


Nice post. To add insult to injury Danya has to try to explain this team on the radio now. I wonder what he really thinks?

Hario said...

I don't really think it matters if it was a mistake to fire Al back then or not at this point. What is done is done. I would bring back Al if he brings back ed cooley and bill coen with him.haha

What matters is moving on from Donahue now. This team is getting smoked every second half, looks uninterested, unprepared (for each individual game and for the hand checking rule changes for the year), and does not have the mix of talent or strategy to compete with this challenging schedule (no size or emphasis on rebounding.)

The head coach is responsible for all of these deficiencies.

I am sure there are other coaches that got hot in the tourney and that led to successful coaching stints elsewhere so I am not sure there is a science to picking the next guy.

I can not wait to move on from Don and this disastrous season

Bando '87 said...

Eddie, That was a nice year for sure. I still have that SI issue (as well as two Flutie SI cover issues.)

Bravesbill said...

Hoib, let me clarify. The idea that firing Al was a mistake simply because Donahue is not cutting it is comical. Donahue's performance is in no way related to Al's firing. The fact that multiple people on this board try to make this correlation is comical.

JBQ said...

Sometimes, it is just time to move on. Al Skinner was fantastic both as a person and as a representative for BC. Donohue is a great individual but he can't do the job. Time to move on and bring in someone with both characteristics of character and the ability to win. Sometimes, you just have to bring in young blood. That is what BC did with Donohue to bridge the generation gap. It didn't work out. He made plenty of money and will move on. Let's bring in someone exciting who can move the ball inside. By the way, Karl Malone (the Mailman), is both controversial and available. Jingle Bells.

Big Jack Krack said...

Once Al Skinner lost his best assistants, it was a downhill slide. For fans like myself, it was obvious that his time had come and gone. It happens to almost everyone.

Yes, we had some great years with Al, for which I am thankful. I was not surprised that he was let go - just surprised at the way Napoleon DeFilldicko did it.

As for Steve Onahue (no D) all I can say is wow! He apparently doesn't believe in hiring talented assistants. What are their names? What do they do? Who is responsible for recruiting? etc.

I am very confuses why we have regressed this year - and his rotations and in-game coaching are just awful.

We got the double down from Napoleon for sure - but what the hey - he put himself into the BC HOF.

eagleboston said...

I agree with Big Jack. Skinner had peaked and was on his way down. Once he lost his assistants, it was a different program. Skinner was a terrible game day coach and used to drive me nuts when he let opponents get on huge runs and never called a timeout to slow momentum. Skinner deserved to be fired. In his second to last season, he did not sign a single recruit, even though he had a scholarship available.

The mistake was the hiring of Donohue, a mistake common among AD's. Hire a hot coach whether he can handle the job or not. Gene was terrible at hiring. He did not have a hiring system and clearly did not hold to a hiring process. He would have been an extreme failure as a business manager as hiring is the most critical function.

Napolean Bonaparte said...

Skinner was great while he had Coen and Cooley. After that he had us going nowhere. Donahue was great while he had Jones. After that he had us going nowhere. Next time lock in on the coach and then hire his assistant instead.

Hoib said...


I like the onahue thing, very clever.
This is the last I'll have to say about Al, because obviously I'm outnumbered here. I know you'll remember John Robinson at USC. They brought him back for a second run and that went ok. Let's see how the next young hot shot does. I bet in another few years we'll have this discussion again.

Bravesbill said...

John Robinson ran the USC program back into the ground during his second tenure. Pete Carroll had to come in years later to clean up all the damage.

Hoib said...


John Robinson @ USC
104–35–4 conference 63–23–3
never 1 losing season. He left in 97, Carroll came in 2001. That's like blaming Al for the mess the next coach at BC will face.

Bravesbill said...

Key words Hoib, "second tenure." In his first three years, Robinson went 8-5, 8-3-1, and 9-2-1 (with a Rose Bowl birth). Once USc consisted mostly of his own players, Robinson basically tanked. In his last two years, Robinson went 6-6 and 6-5. That mediocrity was continued by Paul Hackett until Pete Carroll came around and righted the ship.

Hoib said...


I can agree w/ that. I just didn't think it was fair to say he ran them into the ground. He also had a tremedous record against ND, which automatically puts him high on my list.