Bryant hires former URI coach Skinner
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Back where he belongs. Al Skinner will return to coaching in 2013-14.
Bryant University and head basketball coach Tim O'Shea announced today that former URI and Boston College head coach Al Skinner will join the staff for the upcoming season, replacing assistant coach Mike Kelly, who is leaving for a position at IMG Academy in Florida.
"It's a bittersweet time for us," O'Shea said via the athletic department website. "We are losing a coach in Mike Kelly who has been with us since the beginning of our Division I transition, and his commitment to our program is a major reason we enjoyed such success last season.
"Mike is one of the finest assistant coaches I have had the privilege of working with in my 13 years as a head coach, so it is with sadness that we say goodbye to him," O'Shea added. "At the same time, it is exciting to have someone of Al Skinner's stature joining us at Bryant."
Skinner brings more than 20 years of head coaching experience to the Bryant sideline and will share the title of Associate Head Coach alongside third-year coach Happy Dobbs. He is a current member of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Ethics Coalition, and Skinner spent 22 seasons as a head coach at the Division I level, building a 385-291 career record while guiding his teams to nine NCAA tournament appearances and four conference titles.
Skinner was named the 2001 National Coach of the Year by Chevrolet/CBS, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, the Sporting News and the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), he has won conference coach of the year honors three times, including twice during Boston College's Big East tenure.
The winningest coach in BC history, Skinner spent 13 seasons at The Heights as the Eagles' bench boss, compiling a 247-165 (.560) record from 1997-2010. He took Boston College to six NCAA tournaments in a seven-year stretch, driving his 2005-06 team all the way to the Sweet Sixteen. At URI, during nine seasons he led the Rams to two NCAA and two NIT berths, plus three 20-win seasons and an A-10 Coach of the Year honor. Skinner was inducted into the URI Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.
"I'm excited to work with Tim again and to work with these great student-athletes at Bryant University," said Skinner. "It's exciting how much progress Bryant has already made and the success it has experienced, and I'm glad to be associated with this program."
With the addition of Skinner to the Bryant bench, the Bulldogs are now one of the most experienced coaching staffs in the nation, with a combined 43 years of Division I head coaching experience from three of its coaches. More than half of those years have been spent at DI programs within Rhode Island borders, as O'Shea enters his 13th season as a head coach and sixth in Smithfield (seven years at Ohio University from 2001-08) while Dobbs spent eight seasons leading Brown from 1991-99.