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Decision on Skinner will be made today

Posted by Mark Blaudschun, Globe Staff  March 30, 2010 01:28 AM

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The future of Boston College basketball coach Al Skinner will be decided today as BC officials make the final decision on whether to fire Skinner, who has been the Eagles head coach for 13 years and is the winningest coach (in terms of victories) in Boston College history.
According to sources at BC, Skinner, Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo and BC Vice President of Human Resources Leo Sullivan met ove the weekend to discuss Skinner's future, with a strong indication that Skinner would be fired.
)ver the past few days DeFilippo had begun contacting athletic directors from a select group of schools who DeFilippo thought had coaches who would fit at BC if Skinner were no longer the coach. Included in that list was Cornell coach Steve Donahue and Richmond Coach Chris Mooney. Sources at BC emphasized that DeFilippo was merely getting a list ready in the event that Skinner was chosen as the next coach at St. John's a position that Skinner--with DeFilippo's knowledge and approval-had interviewed for last Friday in New York.
But when former UCLA coach Steve Lavin emerged as the leading candidate--he met with St. John's athletic director Chris Monasch on Monday night and an announcement naming Lavin as the Red Storm's next coach could come as soon as tomorrow--Skinner's future became more uncertain.
DeFilippo, in evaluating Skinner's overall performance over the past few years, which included a 15-16 record this season, was unwilling to grant an extension on the three years remaining on Skinner's contract, which pays him in excess of $1.1 million per year. He also had questions about the support of a program, which has always been sporadic with waning fan interest at a school which has never been known to have overwhelming support even in the best of seasons.
When the Eagles finished their season with a loss to Virginia in a first round Atlantic Coast Conference tournament game, Skinner was under the impression that he had survived this season but knew that success next season --on a team which had all of its starters returning,--would be crucial.
In the past few weeks, however, that time frame sped up. BC officials felt that a change might indeed take place sooner, rather than later. When the St. John's job opened following the firing of Norm Roberts and St. John's officials contacted BC for permission to talk to Skinner, DeFilippo quickly gave permission, feeling it would be a "win win'' situation for both sides is Skinner could get the job at St. John's.
When St. John's chose to move in the direction of Lavin and set up a tentative interview with Rhode Island coach Jim Baron in case there was a snag in the negotiations with Lavin, the decision to either keep Skinner for another year or fire him, became the main topic of discussion.
And right now, all indications seem to be pointing to Skinner's dismissal. If that happens, Mooney and Donahue appear to be obvious candidates with former BC assistant coach and current Northeastern Coach Billy Coen and Harvard coach Tommy Amaker also on DeFilippo's ready list.

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