Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Getting the Cooley and Coen talk out of the way

BC should have hired Bill Coen or Ed Cooley when they fired Al Skinner. BC also should have hired Bill Coen or Ed Cooley when they fired Steve Donahue. Now for the third time in just over a decade, BC has a chance to hire either of the former Skinner assistants. While there are numerous reasons why it won't happen again, I still need to address both and advocate why I think both are better than 90% of the names being floated this time around.

The case for either

While much has changed and the future looks more promising than the last decade, BC remains a unique job. A coach who is familiar with the institutional challenges and strengths has a huge head start on most candidates. Due to their previous time at BC, both coaches know what can work at BC and understand how to recruit and coach at BC.

Both have accomplished enough since they've left to prove that they are their own men and not just two guys who were in the right place at the right time with Skinner. Now the fact a decade later neither are at some basketball power would lead some skeptics to say "BC didn't miss out on anything with those two." I would argue the opposite. Both have improved their respective programs and done it through multiple recruiting cycles to show that it wasn't a fluke. The fact that both stayed in the region is a bonus as they wouldn't have to rebuild recruiting connections nor even make difficult decisions about uprooting families.

Some fans will argue that both are limited and neither would take BC to the next level. While I am optimistic about both, I understand this concern. But my belief is that even if neither ever win the ACC or get us to a Final Four, they both would provide stability and credibility and leave BC in a better place than we are now.

The case against 

As soon as I post this, Providence fans will immediately start saying that BC can't afford Cooley and he will never leave. I know that BC can afford him because we have much more money than Providence athletics. In fact any school that didn't play football this fall is seeing their athletic revenue in freefall. Cooley makes more than Christian did, so BC would have to pay him more than we've ever paid a basketball coach. It can be done. Will it? I don't know. BC is talking big about budgets. Would Ed leave? I don't know. Villanova showed that you can win a National Championship from the Big East. Would the chance to go to the ACC make a difference? It doesn't hurt to ask.

Aside from the Cooley will never leave crowd, there are those Cooley critics who think he is all about recruiting and will never get the most out of his rosters. I understand that, but still think his track record and fit will be better than most of our candidates.

With Bill Coen, the question is not whether he would take the job. He would. The question is can he win at BC. His Northeastern record is pretty good, but not dominant. He also works the transfer market hard for his talent. That sort of strategy is harder to pull off in the ACC. But my belief remains that he is better than most of the names floated and better than nearly all of the guys who only have mid-major experience.

Will it matter?
BC didn't hire these guys before, so odds are not great they get hired this time. But if I am Pat Kraft, after I talk to the big names, I don't go further down the list than these two. BC needs to get to respectability first and both Cooley and Coen can provide that type of basketball.

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