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BC close to a decision

Posted by Mark Blaudschun, Globe Staff  April 5, 2010 04:56 PM

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Boston College should know in the next 24 hours who its next men's basketball coach will be.
And all signs seem to indicate that Cornell coach Steve Donahue is the front runner.
BC officials met with Northeastern coach Bill Coen Monday morning for approximately three hours at an off-campus site.

According to sources familiar with the process, the interview went well. Coen spent nine years on former BC coach Al Skinner's staff before moving to Northeastern four years ago, and there was a feeling of familiarity during the interview.

BC officials may still contact a few more coaches. Over the weekend they had asked permission to talk to Dayton coach Brian Gregory, but Gregory, whose team won the NIT last week, told them that he was not interested in coming east.

Donahue, Fairfield coach Ed Cooley and Richmond coach Chris Mooney were previously interviewed. Mooney chose to stay at Richmond, agreeing to a contract extension over the weekend. As of late Monday afternoon, Cooley, who also spent nine years on Skinner's staff before taking the head coaching job a Fairfield four years ago, had not heard back from BC.

Donahue, who would take the job if offered, remained the X-factor, someone who did not have connections to Skinner, but who had taken a Cornell team from near the bottom of the Ivy League to a team which won two games in the NCAA tournament this season before losing to Kentucky in the round of 16.

Donahue has been a hot candidate the last few weeks. He was Hofstra's first choice as a replacement after Tom Pecora left to take the job at Fordham. According to sources familiar with the situation, Hofstra offered Donahue a five-year contract at $700,000 per season.
But Donahue turned it down. Seton Hall also expressed an interest in Donahue. Siena, which is looking for a replacement for Fran McCaffery, who took the job at Iowa, was regarded as a possible next stop for Donahue.

BC officials will probably take one final look at Butler coach Brad Stevens. While he would be a good fit for BC, it seems unlikely that Stevens will leave Butler, which made it to the NCAA title game against Duke on Monday night, at this time.

BC could also take a look at Davidson coach Bob McKillop. He was interviewed for the job 13 years ago when Jim O''Brien left.

If none of those options are viable, BC officials must then decide whether to hire either Cooley or Coen, both who have their established their own identity and style as head coaches, or switch to Donahue.

All three will say yes if the call comes and all three would be good fits at BC. Donahue would be the safest pick in the terms of avoiding any controversy regarding a former Skinner assistant coach, as well as having to make a choice between Coen and Cooley.

Whether BC does that remains to be seen. But with no real negatives against him Donahue would appear to be the front-runner, so much so that sources familiar with the situation, Donahue was already talking to possible assistants..

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