Sports, Basketball, Men's Basketball

Who Might BC Hire to Replace Christian?

Seven seems to be an unlucky number of seasons for Boston College head coaches. BC fired Steve Addazio in December of 2019 at the conclusion of his seventh season, and on Monday, Jim Christian got the boot midway into his seventh year as the head coach of BC men’s basketball. 

The fact that Christian has been around for nearly a decade leaves BC with a significant hole to fill. After just one winning season in his seven years on the Heights and no appearances in the NCAA Tournament, Christian left BC fans with much to be desired, but his seven-year tenure will undoubtedly leave a mark—for better or worse—on the program. The question remains: where will BC turn for the positive change it’s been missing for nearly a decade?

BC Athletics is immediately beginning a national search for Christian’s replacement who will be “a new leader of our young men on the Heights,” according to a press release. The last time BC went through a coaching change, the Eagles were in a strikingly similar position, having gone 8-24 overall and 4-14 in the ACC under Steve Donahue. 

Regardless of who takes over, BC needs a coach focused on recruiting. In the Christian era, the Eagles’ recruiting classes have averaged in the cellar of the ACC. Plus, what the transition in football from Addazio to Jeff Hafley brought that was so beneficial for the program was Hafley’s increased focus on student engagement, and a coach who could pack the stands at Conte Forum—once it’s safe to do so—couldn’t hurt either. 

With those things in mind, here are a few potential picks to lead the Eagles. This list is not exhaustive, nor is it based on any official releases from Athletics Director Pat Kraft or BC Athletics. 

Porter Moser, Loyola Chicago Head Coach

Interim head coach Scott Spinelli is familiar with a lot of Moser’s former stops. Although the two never overlapped, each has spent time at Texas A&M and Loyola Chicago. He’s been the head coach at Loyola Chicago since 2011, taking the Ramblers on their Cinderella-story-esque Final Four run in 2018. In his time with Loyola Chicago, Moser’s Ramblers went from 7-23 in 2011-12 to 20-14 seven years later. The same sort of 180-degree turnaround is all BC fans can hope for. 

Tommy Amaker, Harvard Head Coach

Amaker, though he’s been in the Ivy League since 2007, has ACC experience, first as a player himself and then serving as an assistant coach under Mike Krzyzewski at Duke. His connection to BC also runs back more than a decade, as Harvard’s 2009 win over then-No. 17 BC marked Harvard’s first win over a ranked team. Another win over BC in 2016-17 earned Amaker his 179th win, making him the winningest coach in program history. He also oversaw the development of Jeremy Lin while the future NBA star played for Harvard. 

John Beilein, Former Michigan Head Coach

Beilien, though he’s pushing 70 years old, has a track record of success. He’s not the young, bold choice that Hafley was for BC football, but Beilien has proven he’s willing to put in the work. Beilein began as a high school coach at Newfane High School in New York before working his way through Erie Community College and a handful of Division III schools. Beilein got his big break at Michigan in 2007, where he worked for 12 years before spending a year as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s best known for fully rebuilding the Michigan program after Amaker’s departure, and he inherited a team finishing out a period of scholarship reduction due to a scandal, but within three years, his team made its way to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. 

Jared Dudley, 2020 NBA Champion and BC ’07

Dudley plays for the Los Angeles Lakers and has been in the league since he was drafted No. 22 overall in the 2007 NBA Draft. He graduated from BC after being named the 2006-07 ACC Player of the Year and averaging 15.9 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in his college career. BC’s switch from the Big East to the ACC in 2005 fell in the middle of his time at BC, and the 2021 season with the Lakers marks just the second team Dudley has played with for more than one season. Dudley is familiar with how major transitions affect players and teams, making him an ideal candidate to oversee a shift in leadership at BC.

The problem is, he’s still under contract with the Lakers. If BC could’ve ridden the Christian wave through November of 2021, Dudley would be a great candidate to take the reins, making a dramatic jump from playing to coaching. But BC’s 2021-22 season will be well underway at that point, and Dudley has made no indication, even at 35 years old, that he has any intent to leave the pros. 

Featured Image by Kait Devir / Heights Senior Staff

February 15, 2021