Al Skinner, the winningest coach of the Boston College men's basketball team, has been fired.
While not official until the press conference scheduled for noon today, Skinner was apparently informed last Wednesday that he "would not be retained," with the decision to be held in private to allow Skinner to find other employment.
Today's version, and the version being pedaled around by ESPN's Andy Katz, is the always classic horse hockey "mutually agreed to part ways."
Either way, today should be a sad day for BC hoops fans.
Skinner had a 247-165 record in his 13 years at BC, with NCAA tourney appearances in seven of the last 10 years. The National Coach of the Year in 2001, and Big East Coach of the Year in 2005, Skinner successfully and cleanly rebuilt a program that was near ruins after the tenure of Jim O'Brien.
What apparently soured the administration on Skinner was BC's difficulties since joining the ACC. BC has had a losing season in two of the last three years.
Boston College's first season in the ACC (2005-2006) was certainly successful at 28-8, but the decline from there was significant. BC won 21 games the next year, followed by seasons of 14, 22, and 15 wins.
The reasons are clear.
Al Skinner is an outstanding basketball coach, but you're only as good as your players. Skinner had a knack for getting the most out of his players, but there has to be something there to start with.
Boston College is located in Boston. Not South Boston, Va., mind you, but Boston, Mass. The ACC stretches from Maryland to Florida. You recruit for your conference as much as you recruit for your school, so Skinner was in the unenviable position of having to get kids to attend a northern university to compete in a southern conference.
Good luck with that.
As we all know, BC left the Big East for football reasons. The administration had to have known what the move would do to its basketball team. Why do you think coaches like Jamie Dixon and Jim Boeheim are so adamantly opposed to their respective schools entertaining thoughts of moving to the Big 10?
As a result, one of the most respected coaches in the game was left out to dry. Today, Al Skinner, a northeastern sports legend, is out of a job—all because of BC's football greed.
We're already hearing that BC is targeting Richmond's Chris Mooney, Cornell's Steve Donahue, and possibly Harvard's Tommy Amaker as possible replacements for Skinner. I hope these coaches know what they'd be getting themselves into—a job with a school that does not value its basketball program.