Sports, Winter, Basketball

Donahue Will Return

UPDATE: Steve Donahue has been fired as the head coach of the men’s basketball team.

The Boston College men’s basketball program will enter its fifth year under the reign of head coach Steve Donahue, according to Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel.

Donahue learned of the decision on Thursday from BC Athletics Director Brad Bates, according to the report.

This season’s team finished with an 8-24 record, which carries the largest single-season loss total in program history.

Next season, the Eagles are set to return the core of the team, although sophomore guard Olivier Hanlan could be headed for the NBA Draft.

BC was supposed to go under the knife and emerge as a contender in the ACC via Donahue, who was hired in April 2010. Donahue was coming off a historic season at Cornell when BC landed his services. He led his team to the Sweet 16 that year. His No. 12 seed was able to knock off Temple and Wisconsin in its first two games, before losing to the region’s No. 1 seed, Kentucky.

Coming into Chestnut Hill, Donahue was charged with the rejuvenation of a program that had begun to flounder under the reign of the team’s previous head coach, Al Skinner. Change was not only supposed to come in the form of more wins, but also through a transformation in the way the team played. Skinner’s flex offense was labeled as a boring way to attack due to its patterns and grind-it-out mentality. Donahue runs a spread, which encourages ball movement and exciting 3-point shooting. While the offense was a success at times, Donahue failed to shore up his team’s defense.

Donahue took a team left by Skinner to the NIT in 2011, and his first major recruiting class came in the next season. While the team of Donahue’s recruits won just nine games in its first season together, a 16-17 record in 2012-13 set up hopes for a promising 2013 campaign.

Picked to finish eighth in the ACC, everything looked to be on the upside entering the season. Donahue would bring back the core of his team, including 2013 ACC Rookie of the Year Hanlan, sophomore guard Joe Rahon, and junior forward Ryan Anderson. The successful vision never materialized, though—Donahue’s squad finished the season on March 13 with a 73-70 loss to Georgia Tech in the first round of the ACC Tournament, with a final record of 8-24.

The Eagles failed to recover from a tough start. Donahue’s team lost to Providence, Massachusetts, and Toledo, before pulling off a victory against Florida Atlantic. Despite a solid showing in the 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden, the team could not pull together defensively. Between topping Sacred Heart in overtime in November and upsetting No. 1 Syracuse on the road in mid-February, the only Division I team BC defeated was Virginia Tech, who finished last in the ACC.

Donahue has gone 54-76 in his four-year tenure at BC, breaking .500 only in his first season.

March 14, 2014