Monday, March 29, 2010
BC to announce decision Tuesday
By Andy Katz ESPN.com
Boston College will make a decision on the future of men's basketball coach Al Skinner Tuesday, according to two high-ranking officials at the school.
Multiple sources have told ESPN.com that members of the BC staff are worried about their job statuses. The Boston Globe reported earlier Monday on their Web site that Skinner could be out. A possible buyout of the remaining three years of Skinner's contract, estimated at $3 million, may be forthcoming.
"You'll hear what's going on [Tuesday]," said Leo Sullivan, BC's vice president of human resources. "I do have a sense of what's going on obviously. I can't comment on anything until everything unfolds."
Neither Sullivan nor BC athletics director Gene DeFilippo would answer a question if Skinner would still be the head coach of the Eagles for the 2010-11 season. DeFilippo refused to answer whether Skinner would be allowed to finish his contract.
When asked if there was an NCAA violation, Sullivan said, "No."
DeFilippo allowed Skinner to interview for the vacant St. John's opening last Friday after Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt turned down the Red Storm. DeFilippo told ESPN.com over the weekend that Skinner had earned the right after 13 years to interview for another job. DeFilippo said Skinner's situation was different than when he fired football coach Jeff Jagodzinski a year ago after Jagodzinski interviewed for the New York Jets job following two seasons as head coach. DeFilippo said he told Jagodzinski that they had an agreement that he wouldn't leave BC for at least three seasons and yet he still went ahead and interviewed for the Jets job.
"That's exactly what I said," DeFilippo reaffirmed Monday night. "[Tuesday] you'll know a lot of things. Let's let [Monday night] play out. I will be much more forthcoming [Tuesday morning]."
DeFilippo spent much of the weekend reaching out to athletic directors and asking permission to speak with their current head coaches. Multiple sources said he did contact Richmond and Cornell and could also look at Harvard among others. But DeFilippo said he hasn't spoken to any head coaches.
"I called a couple of athletic directors in case," DeFilippo said. "I'm not going to sit on my fanny and not be ready if this comes up. I reached out to a couple of athletic directors and asked a few questions so I'm ready to go."
Sullivan said DeFilippo is not somebody who acts on his own behalf but rather in the "[institution's] interests." Sullivan is second in command at the university behind university president Father William P. Leahy.
DeFilippo was at the center of the controversy when Big East schools accused him of lying to them about staying in the league when the ACC recruited the Eagles to join the conference as a 12th member. DeFilippo and BC among others were sued by four Big East schools in 2003. BC joined the ACC in 2005.
DeFilippo said he hasn't met with Skinner since he went to interview with the Red Storm.
As of Monday night, Skinner was unlikely to get the St. John's job with ESPN analyst and former UCLA coach Steve Lavin the frontrunner. Lavin met with St. John's athletic director Chris Monasch Monday night at a restaurant in Tribeca. Lavin and Monasch had productive and positive dialogue and will continue to discuss the job Tuesday, according to sources. Rhode Island's Jim Baron has also emerged as a viable candidate.
Skinner is BC's all-time winningest coach with 247 wins. He has taken the Eagles to seven of the last 10 NCAA tournaments, four more than any other previous coach at the school.
A number of ACC coaches contacted by ESPN.com Monday night were stunned to learn that Skinner could be out. Skinner is one of the most respected coaches in the game. Skinner's tight flex offense has produced plenty of success stories as the Eagles' Troy Bell, Sean Williams and Jared Dudley went in the first round of the NBA draft and Craig Smith in the second round. BC won 11 and 10 games respectively in the first two seasons in the ACC, just four in its third year and rebounded to win nine in the fourth year to make it back to the NCAA tournament. The Eagles won six this past season and missed the postseason as they struggled to replace all-ACC guard Tyrese Rice.
Skinner took over the program from Jim O'Brien after he left for Ohio State over academic concerns, leaving Skinner with only six scholarship players. Four seasons later, the Eagles won the Big East. He was named Big East and national coach of the year in 2001, and Big East coach of the year in 2005.
The Eagles have a senior-loaded roster next season with Rakim Sanders, Joe Trapani, Corey Raji, Biko Paris and Josh Southern. The Eagles' top player is Reggie Jackson, who will be a junior and would have more wiggle room to transfer if there is a coaching change.
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.