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BC Targets Ed Cooley in Coaching Search

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

 

GoLocal has learned from sources close to the BC Athletic Program that there is interest in Providence College Head Coach Ed Cooley.

It was 17 years ago that Boston College swooped into Rhode Island to pluck Al Skinner from URI as men’s basketball coach. With the news of Steve Donahue’s dismissal Tuesday, might BC be inclined to again look just south of the Massachusetts border for a new coach?

Ed Cooley has been a Godsend for the Providence College program, and he’s earned a key to the city this spring after bringing the Friars to the NCAA Tournament (and the top of the Big East) in just his 3rd season.

Cooley has strong ties to PC, but he also has strong ties to the BC program. He was an assistant at BC under Al Skinner for 9 years from 1997-2006.

Cooley left BC to become a Head Coach (at Fairfield University) and moved on to his hometown Friars in 2011. He’s overcome roster limitations and exceeded expectation to this point.

It’s no secret that Cooley loves Providence. It’s also not a secret that he’s been handicapped throughout his tenure with the Friars, a trend that continued this season when his freshman class of Brandon Austin and Rodney Bullock were suspended for the entire year (Austin has since transferred to Oregon).

Would Cooley be inclined to start over at Boston College if he felt it’d be easier to actually field a full team on an annual basis? Would he capitalize on the opportunity to leave PC after a dream season that has his stock at an all-time high?

No one knows except for Cooley himself. 

A source tells GoLocal that Cooley and Harvard coach Tommy Amaker (also Tournament bound this season) are among the names on the shortlist to replace Donahue.  Cooley had been a finalist for the BC job in 2010 before BC hired Donahue instead.

Cooley’s $2 million annual salary means BC would have to be willing to break the bank to out-bid Providence for his services. Donahue made around $1 million annually, but BC could have money to spend with the improved ACC a bigger draw for TV contracts and tournament deals (hello Barclay’s Center.)

It may seem far-fetched that Cooley would leave Providence. But URI fans weren’t exactly expecting Skinner to leave 17 years ago either.

"Ed Cooley has a long term contract to coach at Providence College. He's committed and focused on coaching this team in the upcoming NCAA tournament, and we're looking forward to the game this Friday," PC Athletic Director Bob Driscoll said in a statement to GoLocal.

Current Bryant University Head Coach Tim O’Shea was also an assistant at BC under Skinner. He’s impressed during his time at Bryant, and he’ll be a cheaper (and more feasible) candidate than Cooley if BC chooses to target former assistants from the program’s better years.

But Cooley is the biggest prize in the Northeast right now. At the very least, interest from BC could spark a raise and extension from PC (much like Dan Hurley’s URI extension spurred by interest from Rutgers last offseason.)

If BC wants to make a splash (and they need to) with their next hire, Cooley should be the primary target.

Cooley’s focused on PC and March Madness. The BC opening won’t be a distraction, even if he’s interested.

But if there is mutual interest in bringing Cooley to Chestnut Hill, there’ll be a different kind of madness in Friartown after the Tournament.
 

 

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