Sunday, April 26, 2015

Kennesaw St. hires Al Skinner

Kennesaw State made all speculation official by hiring Al Skinner as its next basketball coach. Many felt it was a done deal from the start due to the relationship between Skinner and KSU Athletic Director Vaugh Williams. Williams worked at BC (and got his masters at BC) during some of Skinner's best seasons.

There are numerous BC alums in athletic departments around the country who had the chance to hire Skinner since he left the Heights. I am glad that Williams finally did.

As I wrote previously, I think Skinner will do well there. He always had a good eye for talent and there are enough second-tier players here in metro Atlanta to compete. Plus the college game has drastically changed with transfers and 5th years. Skinner and KSU seem well positioned to find those guys looking for a second chance or one last shot.

The local media doesn't care about KSU, so that won't bother Al. The Alumni base is not overly demanding and won't expect him at chicken dinner after chicken dinner. All he needs to do is win and coach basketball. This works. Best of luck to him and I hope he goes out on top.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Croke Park won't host BC-Georgia Tech

Earlier this week, Irish media reported the Croke Park will not host a football game between Georgia Tech and Boston College. The report said negotiations had been at "advanced" stages but potential scheduling conflicts with Irish sports, not enough support from the Irish government and the falling value of the euro vs the dollar all undermined the game.

There are other potential venues that could still host a game in Ireland, but if currency and government support issues are problems, they are going to be problems in any stadium. ESPN might up payout in hopes of getting a morning game, but I doubt that will be enough. It looks like this will be held in the U.S. after all.

(Thanks to Morrissey for the link.)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, April 23, 2015

What is Kennesaw State and why would Al Skinner go there?

At this point I should just expect all Eagles to end up in Georgia. There are multiple rumors that the suburban Atlanta school is set to hire the former BC coach. To me this makes perfect sense. For the rest of you, this is probably a head scratcher. 

Even though it is not a well-known outside of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a rising university in the area. They've improved their offerings, their grad programs and are trying to transition from their roots as a commuter school. They've built housing but like other younger universities, they view sports as a way to get more students excited about the school. Think of how much attention Georgia State received during this year's NCAA Tournament. The leaders at Kennesaw want that same exposure. They've already invested in football. Now it is time for basketball. Once they demoted their most recent coach, it only made sense to go after an established coach. Skinner won't sell tickets, but he will win there and that is the end game.

As for why Skinner would take this job...some times it is as simple as it is the only offer to come his way. Skinner has interviewed multiple times over the years and never gotten that second chance. His (unfair) reputation and now his age probably hurt his chances at most major jobs and the mid majors in the northeast. Kennesaw offers one last chance to do what he wants to do: coach. The salary won't be huge, but it will be more than he is making at Bryant. With Al's eye for talent and his easy to install system, he can be one of the top teams in the Atlantic Sun annually. 

I hope the two sides can come to an agreement. It could be a happy ending for both.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Baseball wins Beanpot

Baseball won the school's 11th Baseball Beanpot Wednesday night beating UMass in the Final. This is the team's sixth win in a row and improves the overall record to 22-18.

Next up is a three-game series against UNC in Chapel Hill. Let's hope the current momentum keeps up.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Get Addazio on TV more

Did anyone else see Jim Harbaugh on SportsCenter clips the past few days? He's been featured in ESPN's Draft Academy. It is great exposure for the coach as he returns back to college football. It is also a reminder that BC needs to get Addazio down to ESPN again this offseason. BC probably missed the window on Tebow talk, but there is always something that you could shoehorn him into. Addazio can talk Draft. He can go on about season two of the playoff and what teams have learned. I would even bet Addazio would handle himself well if ESPN needed an active coach to discuss the move to pay players.

Getting on TV is not really about Addazio improving on camera. It remains a good tool to sell the program to recruits and fans. I doubt that ESPN has anything as big as Draft Academy coming up, but Addazio doesn't need that. For this offseason it just about using ESPN to keep momentum going.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Why the "Drop Baseball" debate can't be settled by one series or one season

Baseball is playing well and that's great. Over at BCI Dan Rubin led off his recap of the weekend with a reminder how vocal the "drop baseball" crowd was a year ago and how it might have been shortsighted. I never advocated dropping baseball, but the current success doesn't validate anything and doesn't stop Brad Bates from asking the tough questions about which sports BC should support. Those who questioned BC's baseball future weren't trying to kill a program just to kill it or to make room for lacrosse. They were also looking at the big picture and where BC baseball fits.

The challenges with baseball
Some of BC baseball issues are fixable. Some are not.

The lack of depth among local recruits is probably overstated. You can deliver a consistent winner with players from the northeast.

Any coaching issue is fixable. I am not sold on Gambino being the long-term solution. But the uncertainty over BC's baseball future indirectly led to him getting more time. Hats off if he uses the time to prove he's an ACC-caliber coach. But BC is not a deadend job (see Aoki, see Hughes). If Gambino cannot sustain success, other qualified coaches will gladly take the job if there is a program.

You cannot change the New England weather. It will always make early season games a huge scheduling challenge. It will also make recruiting players from warmer regions a challenge. But BC can address this challenge with a permanent baseball facility that minimizes the impact of many of the weather issues (snow removal, drainage, synthetic fields, etc.).

Playing in a deep baseball conference is a challenge that BC cannot change. But the silver lining of ACC Baseball is that if BC competes in this conference, we can compete with any team in the country.

While many of the obstacles related to the baseball field are due to local objections, BC's support for the program is still critical. Not only are funds needed for the permanent field, but paying the players remains a looming budget issue. Football and Basketball are the sports most associated with paying athletes, but baseball will be part of the second wave (if it is not part of the first).

Lacrosse vs Baseball
Despite the ongoing debate over which is more viable at BC, the more likely outcome is neither as a varsity sport. If BC ever kills baseball over competitive and or financial reasons, I don't see them making Men's Lacrosse a funded, varsity sport.

But I don't think even the most diehard BC Baseball fan would argue that a well-funded BC Lacrosse team would be more likely to have national success than BC Baseball.

What does BC want out of Sports
Even with our grandstanding votes against paying athletes, I don't think BC will walk away from college sports. Football and, to a lessor extent basketball, are too valuable as marketing tools. The women's sports are safe as long as Title IX is law. Hockey is safe. So then it comes down to the non-revenue men's sports. Baseball is not untouchable. Bates and Father Leahy will have to decide what is important and what sports best promote and fulfill the school's mission. One hot streak in April is not going to answer that question.