Let’s Speculate! Potential Boston College head basketball coach candidates

Welcome to Let’s Speculate! on Coaches Database, where we go through programs that are or may soon be looking for a new head coach and speculate who they may hire next.

Today’s program is Boston College, previously coached by Jim Christian before he was fired in February.

  • Dennis Gates – Cleveland State head coach
    • Gates might be the lead candidate a couple of reasons: he has already turned around CSU in just his second year at the helm and his wife, Jocelyn Gates, is currently the senior associate athletic director at BC. Gates has decades of experience as a Division I assistant – most notably at Florida State – and now that he has gotten the call up to the head coaching ranks it won’t be long before he gets the call from a bigger program. The Vikings are NCAA Tournament bound, so nothing will change with Gates for at least another week.
  • Mark Schmidt – St. Bonaventure head coach
    • Originally from North Attleboro, MA, Schmidt played for Gary Williams at BC back in the 1980s. After 12 seasons assisting at Xavier, Loyola (MD), Penn State and D-II Saint Michael’s (VT), Schmidt was hired to be the head coach at Robert Morris in 2001. Six years later, he arrived at St. Bonaventure where he has over 225 wins in the last thirteen-plus seasons. Schmidt led the Bonnies to the NCAAs in 2018 and 2012 and the NIT in 2016.
  • Bill Coen – Northeastern head coach
    • A former assistant at Boston College, Coen has been successful coaching across town at Northeastern for the last 13+ years. Coen has taken the Huskies to two NCAA Tournaments (2015 and 2019), two NITs and one CBI and has won three of the last eight CAA regular titles. As an assistant, Coen coached under Al Skinner for 17 seasons – eight at Rhode Island and nine at Boston College.
  • Joe Jones – Boston University head coach
    • We’re not just trying to name every other head coach in town, but Jones has had success at BU since he took over in 2011 and is poised to take a step up. The Terriers won the Patriot League back in 2014 and would have played in the NCAA Tournament last season after claiming the Patriot League Tournament crown. He spent one year as an assistant at BC under Steve Donahue (2010-11) and was also the head coach at Columbia for seven seasons, going 86-108 overall.
  • Pat Skerry – Towson head coach
    • A Mass-native who played at Tufts and spent his early coaching career at D-III schools around the state, Skerry has found success at Towson. Since arriving in 2011, he has six 18+ win seasons and has been to the postseason twice (no NCAAs, though). That is a major turnaround for a program that was dealing with APR issues and won just one game in his first season. In addition to two seasons at Northeastern, Skerry has coached under the likes of Tom Herrion, Jim Baron, Keno Davis and Jamie Dixon.
  • Howard Eisley – Michigan assistant coach
    • The only name on the list without any head coaching experience, Eisley could still be a fantastic fit at his alma mater. Playing for Jim O’Brien, Eisley helped lead the Eagles to the Elite Eight in 1994 before getting drafted 30th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Played in the NBA for 12 seasons and then coached in the league for 9 more, spending time as an assistant with the Clippers, Wizards and Knicks. He has been on Juwan Howard‘s staff at Michigan since 2019, so he has some college recruiting experience to go along with his coaching resume and ties to the school.
  • John Thompson III – former Georgetown head coach
    • JT3 has been out of coaching for the last few years, but the former Georgetown head coach went to eight NCAA Tournaments (including a trip to the 2007 Final Four) and three NITs 13 seasons with the Hoyas. Before that, he won three Ivy League titles in four years as head coach at alma mater Princeton. Thompson was raised in DC but was actually born in Boston, where his father – John, Jr. – was playing for the Celtics.
  • Rick Pitino – Iona head coach
    • Hear us out: the 68-year-old just took the job at Iona after spending a couple years coaching in Greece and has stated that he wants to keep coaching for the foreseeable future. How long he actually coaches is anyone’s guess, but what seems more unlikely than him coaching another 10 years is him actually staying at Iona (despite saying he will end his career there). If Pitino has even a shred of success this year, a major East Coast program like BC could decide to take a flyer on him to bring some interest back to the Eagles and maybe win some games before finding a more long-term solution. Pitino is a NY guy but he played at UMass and coached at Boston University (1978-1983) and the Boston Celtics (1997-2001).