Men's Basketball, Sports, Basketball

Meet Interim Head Coach Scott Spinelli

In the midst of another underwhelming season, Boston College Athletics fired BC men’s basketball head coach Jim Christian mid-season, effective immediately. 

Scott Spinelli, the current assistant coach of the Eagles (3-13, 1-9 Atlantic Coast), is set to replace Christian as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season, according to a statement from BC Athletics earlier today. Spinelli has been an assistant coach with the Eagles since 2014.

Spinelli has earned his reputation as an excellent recruiter over his 31-year career, having most notably helped to send recruits such as DeAndre Jordan, Khris Middleton, Alex Len, Jerome Robinson, and Ky Bowman to the NBA.  

A Massachusetts native, Spinelli was born in Leominster and graduated from Boston University in 1989. Spinelli walked on to the basketball team at BU and eventually earned a scholarship as a point guard for the Terriers. 

Immediately after graduating from BU, Spinelli began his coaching career at the prep level for Milford Academy, where he coached for three seasons.

In 1993, Spinelli founded the basketball program at the Winchendon School in Winchendon, Mass., where he produced several Division I players including Randell Jackson. The school remains one of the top prep school programs in the Northeast today. 

Spinelli split the years between 1996 and 1999 as an assistant coach at the University of Wyoming and American University, where he helped to recruit two nationally ranked classes. Spinelli then worked as a scout for the Philadelphia 76ers, evaluating Big East and Atlantic 10 talent for one year, before returning to college basketball in 2001.

After serving as an assistant coach for Loyola Chicago for two years, followed by a stint at the University of Nebraska from 2003 to 2006, Spinelli got his first job as an associate head coach at Wichita State in 2006 under head coach Mark Turgeon.

Turgeon took Spinelli with him to Texas A&M, where the two accrued a handful of talented recruits for the 2007-2008 season, including five-star recruit Jordan. From 2007 to 2011, A&M won 102 games and advanced to the NCAA Tournament all four years. 

In 2011, Turgeon once again took Spinelli with him to his new school to hold the same position, this time at the University of Maryland. While with the Terrapins, Spinelli helped the program land three top-25 recruiting classes, including a top-10 class in 2014. 

In 2014, Spinelli left Turgeon to become the associate head coach at BC under Christian. At BC, Spinelli was the lead recruiter in helping the Eagles land current NBA players Robinson and Bowman, once again showing why he is widely regarded as one of the elite recruiters in the country.   

Since 2014, the Eagles have posted just one winning record: the 2017-2018 season when the Eagles went 19-16 but just 7-11 in ACC play. While Spinelli’s career under Christian thus far has not been remarkable, Christian’s firing gives Spinelli the temporary chance to lead his own team.

The situation Spinelli is stepping into is not ideal, as the Eagles have been battling COVID-19 and injuries all season. In a hard-fought loss to Syracuse last Saturday, BC had only seven scholarship players active for the game. 

Spinelli has seen success at every level of basketball during his career, but stepping into the driver’s seat of a program that has struggled to find relevance since departing the Big East is the newest challenge for the interim head coach. Sitting at 3-13 with five games left in the regular season, Spinelli and BC will be looking to turn their season around heading into the ACC Tournament.

This article previously stated that Spinelli formerly served as BC’s associate head coach. It has since been updated to reflect his true former position of assistant coach.

Featured Image by Leo Wang / Heights Staff

February 16, 2021