Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mt Rushmore: Al Skinner

We continue our profile of Boston College sports greats to arrive at our BC athletics make-believe Mt. Rushmore...

Name: Albert L. Skinner
Born: June 16, 1952 (age 56)
Sport: Men's Basketball
BC Era: 1997-present (head coach)

Standings: Finished the fan voting in 10th place with 8% of the vote, behind nearly everyone, including TOB to our surprise. If we were chiseling a basketball-only Mt. Rushmore, he's in for sure.


Why He's In
  • Coached the Eagles to a 2001 Big East tournament title and the #3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, as well as three Big East regular season titles
  • BC's all-time winningest head doach by a large margin - 229-145, a .612 winning percentage
  • Coaching hardware - awarded the 2000-01 National Coach of the Year award (Chevrolet/CBS Sports, Sports Illustrated, Sporting News, USBWA, and Eastern Basketball) and the 2004-2005 Big East Coach of the Year award
  • Guided the Eagles to 7 postseason berths from 2001-2007, including six NCAA Tournament berths and one NIT bid
  • Coached the 2004-2005 Eagles squad to a 20-0 start, the first Big East team in history to start a season 20-0
  • Skinner has led the Eagles to the winningest two-year (53, 2004-2005), three-year (72, 2003-2006), four-year (98, 2004-2007), five-year (117, 2002-2007), six-year (143, 2000-2006), and seven-year (164, 2000-2007) stretches in program history
  • Started the "diamond in the rough" recruiting method by bringing in Troy Bell from Minnesota and followed that up by recruiting Craig Smith, Jared Dudley, and Sean Williams
  • When I took my tour of the campus before entering BC I was told to buy football and hocket season tickets because they are tough to get. That quickly changed and student basketball tickets became the hottest ticket for students during the 2000-01 school year.
  • Students have not stormed the field for football in a long time but Al Skinner has provided two home victories worthy of storming the court. Syracuse in 2001 and Duke last Sunday.
  • He has always been a New England guy playing at UMass and then professionally in NY and coaching at Marist and URI prior to BC
  • Has shown loyalty to BC
  • Why vote for Skinner over Troy Bell? Troy Bell's team failed to make the postseason his freshman year and only made the NCAA tourney twice, never making it past the second round. Also, without Al, Bell never comes to BC.

Maybe Not?
  • Several close calls for making the NCAA tournament resulted in NIT berths where the team made no noise including most notably in 2002-03 season after the Eagles had won their division of the Big East and got left out of the dance
  • In the NCAA tournament the Eagles never made it past the Sweet 16 including an OT loss to Villanova after leading the entire game
  • More recent critiques of Al have been defensive breakdowns, an inability to break a full-court press, and lack of in-game coaching adjustments

X-Factors
  • Just how successful has Al Skinner been in the ACC? Since the Eagles joined the ACC in 2005-2006, only Duke and North Carolina have a higher winning percentage in ACC play
  • No one rocks a mock turtleneck like Skinner - "Coach Handsome" is always impeccably dressed with the latest offerings from Eastern Clothing of Watertown
  • Plays basketball at the Plex during lunchtime every day and will play with students or staff.

Does the most successful basketball coach in BC history make the mountain?

5 comments:

Winfield Featherston said...

As an outsider to BC there are two things I think about when I think of BC Athletics...Doug Flutie's Hail Mary, and Al Skinner coaching basketball.

Raj said...

al skinner and coffee black....get the funk out of my face

BlockParty said...

the best part of al skinner: his outfit at the plex when he is ballin'

short-shorts over the grey sweat pants. he screams at everyone to play tougher d... why cant he do that during games?

eaglefbfan said...

The team that started 20-0 finished 25-5. The 2006 Sweet Sixteen team was the one that won 28 games as they went 28-8.

Brian said...

Fixed. Thanks.