Al Skinner out as Boston College basketball coach
BOSTON -- Al Skinner, who led Boston College to seven NCAA tournament berths in nine years and more wins than anyone else in school history, is out as basketball coach in what the school said Tuesday was a mutual agreement.
"Coach Al Skinner and I met last Wednesday and agreed it would be mutually beneficial for us to part ways," athletic director Gene DeFilippo said in a statement. "In our meeting, we discussed our philosophical differences and our concern for the future of our basketball program."
DeFilippo's statement said that the announcement was kept secret for almost a week at Skinner's request so he could interview for other jobs, including the vacancy at St. John's. Skinner was not fired for seeking other employment, according to two BC officials who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the discussions were private.
DeFilippo fired football coach Jeff Jagodzinski last year for seeking an NFL job without permission. Skinner had permission to interview for the St. John's vacancy -- or anywhere else, for that matter -- that opened when Norm Roberts was fired.
"Coach Skinner then asked if we could delay the announcement so that he could pursue other opportunities. Out of respect for Coach Skinner, Boston College agreed," DeFilippo said. "Other institutions were made aware we would be parting ways from the beginning of the process."
Skinner's departure was first reported by The Boston Globe.
In 13 seasons leading the Eagles, Skinner compiled a 247-165 record with seven NCAA berths since 2001. But BC has finished below .500 in two of the last three seasons, with a 15-16 in 2009-10 that included a 6-10 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference and a first-round loss in the league tournament.
One of the BC officials cited a poor recruiting class, along with the team's losing records and attendance that has declined for four consecutive years, as reasons for the decision. Skinner has never been known as a top-notch recruiter, though he did excel at taking lightly recruited players like Troy Bell, Craig Smith and Jared Dudley and turning them into NBA prospects.
Before coming to BC, Skinner spent nine years at Rhode Island. In all, he has a 385-291 record that includes 10 seasons of 20 wins or more.
A standout player at Massachusetts and a teammate of Julius Erving's on the 1976 ABA champion New York Nets, Skinner came to Boston College after a gambling scandal that cost the school its football coach and athletic director. His predecessor, Jim O'Brien, went to Ohio State after a power struggle with the BC admissions department and left just seven scholarship players behind.
The Eagles won 32 games in his first three years and finished last in the Big East in 2000. But the next season they became the first school in conference history to go from worst-to-first and Skinner was a contender for national coach of the year.
BC reached the NCAA tournament seven times in the next nine years despite an uncomfortable move to the ACC that was made with football in mind.