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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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In light of the WSJ article today that finally brings to light the information behind the suspension of the frosh, I have to think that Coach Cooley would consider moving on - though admittedly BC would not really be a softer landing spot when it comes to leniency.

As to the news of BCs interest and the article detailing the police investigation - hope that going out to Texas can allow the team to focus better and come out with a W or two. The kids who worked this hard do not deserve to have their tourney spoiled by a Parcells/Tampa distraction nor should they have to face ?s about the police stuff.

I do think that if the investigation on those charges go anywhere - categorizing the coach as handicapped by the administration will be a charitable way of putting it - but as we saw at FSU - allegations do not always lead to charges (although if you read the details there it wasn't like Winston covered himself in glory) -

Finally kudos on a journalistic front to WSJ for having the resources and the connections to publish a story that nobody in the Ocean State could get confirmed to their journalistic satisfaction (or was that to their editorial interest?) for six months.

Comment #1 by Marty C on 2014 03 19

don't put anything past boston college. its all about $$$$$$ and not much else.

remember what they did when they left the big east.

quite frankly, if I were cooley , bc would be the last school I would go to. look at what they did to skinner.

they are a frustrated bunch when it comes to basketball......

Comment #2 by john paycheck on 2014 03 19

I believe that that the PC Administration thoroughly investigated the allegations against the 2 players, employing former RI State Troopers to assist in the matter. Thought it was over. After a great season in spite of the legal and health matters this is really a kick in the groin. Now BC gets involved like the freeken grim reaper!! Got to be a survivor to live in RI and continually face adversity but we will survive. GO FRIARS!!!!!

Comment #3 by Wally M on 2014 03 19

Have to agree with the observation that BC is all about the Benjamin's.
They proved that most convincingly when they prostituted themselves to join the ACC.
However, as life has a unique way of doing, the payback has been huge. Certainly not in hard currency but in the abysmal results both their basketball and football programs have experienced since joining the Southern league.

Cooley has a good thing going in Providence. He's worked hard and is very well rewarded. Under his guidance, the program shows definite signs of hitting its stride. The fans are returning and there is optimism and excitement once again in Friartown.
Why start all over with a reclamation project when you've laid the foundation for success in your home state?
But then remember another infamous PC Coach who "vowed" he had no interest in any other coaching job! We all know how that turned out.

Comment #4 by Walter Miller on 2014 03 19

Agree Walter! If I were Ed Cooley, I would only take the BC job if they doubled what I were making at PC! BC is NOT a better job than Providence despite being in the ACC. No one in Boston cares about the Eagles as it is a Pro sports town....period! In Rhode Island, PC is the "pro team" of the state. The atmosphere at the Dunk is 10 times better than the atmosphere at Conte Forum because of the avid fan support. I would not blame Ed for taking the job if they offered him a huge pay raise (and I'm not sure how much better they can do than what PC is already doing for Ed). Other than that, I just can't see him leaving Providence.

Comment #5 by Scott Cordischi on 2014 03 20

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