Thursday, March 20, 2014

Why I don't want Tommy Amaker at BC

Even before the media started speculating, I knew Tommy Amaker was a leading candidate to replace Steve Donahue. That always gave me pause. Amaker may come to BC and do very well, but he's not who I want. I feel we know enough about Amaker to question if he would ever lead BC to an ACC Championship or Final Four.

Poison Ivy
The transition from the Ivy League to a major conference is very difficult. BC just learned that with Steve Donahue. Do we really want to replace him with another coach from the Ivy League? Everyone knows about the difference in recruiting at the two levels, but I also think the intensity of the league competition is much different, as is the expectation level. Aside from Donahue, other Ivy coaches who made the jump have either struggled or plateaued as perennial NIT teams (Carmody at Northwestern and Robinson at Oregon State).  The biggest Ivy successes are Fran Dunphy at Temple and John Thompson III at Georgetown. And neither of those situations are comparable to Amaker taking over BC (given Dunphy and Thompson's prior connection to their respective programs).

I keep reading that Amaker had to rebuild Michigan. That's not really the case. He had a full scholarship allotment while with the Wolverines. The postseason bans he inherited didn't impact his first team (which was under .500) and probably kept his second team out of the NIT. That's it. The rest of the time, he had no sanctions or obstacles. Yet in his final four seasons in Ann Arbor, he never made the Tournament and never finished over .500 in Big Ten play. I know he's a different coach now and supposedly learned, but he couldn't win big at Michigan. That should be a big red flag. Michigan has so many things that BC does not (national following, highly appealing to recruits, the ability to recruit anyone) and the best Amaker could do was 8-8 in conference and NIT bids.

Amaker is a good recruiter and recruiting is how he is winning at Harvard. He just has better players than most of his competition. We need a good recruiter and we need an infusion of talent. But we also need someone who can develop the talent and out scheme the other teams. You can't just out recruit your opponents in the ACC. There is too much parity and elite talent throughout the conference.

I've been wrong about plenty of coaches before. (I was the one who thought Donahue had a tournament team this year.) Amaker may be great once he leaves Harvard. And I do think he will recruit well wherever he goes. But I think this time around BC can find a great recruiter who is also a great coach.


Dports1 said...

How about Steve Masiello from Manhattan for head coach? He's a Pitino disciple, known as a strong recruiter and focuses on defense.

Joseph said...

I would not my life on it being Amaker or not Amaker, but until proven otherwise I trust BB to get the right person. Speculation can be lots of fun. Look at the Globe today and look at Sports Illustrated last week.

blist said...

I think there are a lot of good coaches out there with good pedigrees. I'm not so sure BC wants to grab a Harvard coach. Just because it's a nice fit for Amaker (because his wife wouldn't have to leave her gig at Harvard) doesn't mean BB sees it as a good fit for us. I think you're right that hiring a successful Ivy coach is not a lam dunk -- we just fired one.
You say BB plays it close to the vest, so this is wishful thinking by the Globe. Based not he football hire, I bet he wants someone with more experience in a big time league as both a HC and asst on a successful program. It'll be an A-10 or Big east coach.

mod10aeagle said...

On the other hand ... Amaker's team sure looked well coached and prepared today, and, perhaps more impressive, they did not flinch when Cincinnati came back and appeared to be on the verge of taking over late in the game. I don't think he whistled once.

Bravesbill said...

You also forget Amaker's pretty bad record at Seton Hall as well Atl. He led a .500 team three of the four years there and parlayed his one 20 win season (although it was in the third of his four seasons there) into the Michigan job. Masiello actually would be an intriguing option with a good pedigree. However, BC should try to find someone with a more established coaching record a big time conference. Another low-tier conference coach probably wouldn't excite the faithful.

Hoib said...

Since he's been here Brad Bates has made the right decision the 2 times he's had to. So I'm w/ him till I have a reason not to. After having watched college hoops for so long I think success or failure is determined by recruiting. Even the Whistler won 21 games when he had good players.

Anonymous said...


Tommy Amaker make $700,000 per year (google it, so maybe yes, maybe no) at Harvard University, and it sounds like he has a perfect family situation over in Cambridge.

There is almost no way that he can get fired at this point.

Why in the world would he leave for a third tier ACC basketball school? Yes, ball at BC is #3.

Next let's talk at about Cooley's reported $2.0 mm contract at Providence ! Seriously, he is laughing when BC blogs talk about him on a "list".

Sure I am disappointed in our defense this year, but what is our "hook" to recruit at BC basketball.

I know what it is, but I want $2.01 mm per year to reveal it to Brad Bates!

Knucklehead said...

Just saw Harvard beat Cincy in the tournament.

We will be lucky to get Amaker.

He was my candidate three months ago. Hurley would be a good person to interview as well.

3xEagle said...

You heard it here first, you can look it up! Steve Masiello, Manhattan.

Hoib said...

Va Tech and now Wake will be in the market for new coaches. Bad news is we have to compete w/ them for a coach. Good news we will have excellent yardsticks to compare BB against in how he and BC do. I'm confident he'll do well. Go Eagles!

GP11 said...

Options 1-5 still need to be Howland. You don't get a guy who's been to 3 Final Fours to drop in your lap like this. If Bates can't get him, only then should he be looking at candidates with some warts or the up and comers from smaller schools. If he can't get Howland and he goes on to Wake or VT, it will be very disappointing.

Bravesbill said...

I still have no idea why some people want Amaker. He failed at Seton Hall and failed at Michigan. Most of the reason why Harvard wins is because it is so much more talented than the rest of the conference (kind of like Gonzaga). Amaker will not be able to out-talent the rest of the ACC.

ccw said...

Try Google again. Amaker makes upwards of $1.1M.

We'd have to kick him up to $1.5M or $1.6M to have a shot. Would we do that for Mens BB?

Not sure.

We flat out can't afford Ed Cooley. Hell we can't even match his $2M+ much less beat it.

Hoib said...

The points ATL and Bravesbill make are good ones, but I still think BB should talk to him. If Brad is thorough he will press him on all these points. In doing so he will need to determine if Tommy is really hungry to succeed in the best league in the nation and in so doing prove his critics wrong, Or would he sense that he is just looking to cash in on his success at H and coast from here on.

I think if BB comes to the former conclusion we stand the chance of a longer tenure w/ Tommy than a young gun like Hurley, who could be gone quick if he succeeds. Tommy might be a late bloomer like Laranaga.

As to how much we spend it'll have to be @ least 1.5mm and probably more like 2. We spent 1 for Onahue 4 years ago, and the people we are speculating about have better credentials than he did. We joined the ACC for the $, now we have to pony up.