DeFilippo on BC hoops: It's a 'terrific job'

Mike Petraglia
March 30, 2010 - 10:29 am

CHESTNUT HILL -- For the second time in 14 months, Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo went before the Boston media to defend the school's handling of dismissing a prominent head coach. The tone of Tuesday's press conference in the media room between Alumni Stadium and Conte Forum was much more hospitable than the news conference to announce the firing of football coach Jeff Jagodzinski in Jan. 2009 as DeFilippo said Al Skinner did a 'very good' job over his 13 seasons as men's basketball coach at The Heights. "Change is good sometimes," DeFilippo said. "How many basketball coaches have been at the same job for 13 years? Very, very few. There are a lot of good days in this job and there are days are not quite as good. And this is one of those days that has been very difficult for me." DeFilippo said the school will begin a national search for a successor immediately. Skinner's tenure began after Jim O'Brien left for Ohio State following the 1996-97 season. Boston College was - at that time - still in the Big East Conference, competing against regional rivals such as Providence and Connecticut. DeFilippo said he had two meetings with Skinner last week. It was at 4 p.m. last Wednesday, according to DeFilippo, that the two parties decided to split. "Coach Al Skinner and I met twice last week and on Wednesday, the 24th of March, it was agreed that it was mutually beneficial to part ways," DeFilippo said. DeFilippo was ready to make the announcement last Thursday but held off because of a job opening at a Big East school. Reports had surfaced over the last week that St. John's was interested in speaking with Skinner for their job opening and that Skinner had interest there. "St. John's knew," DeFilippo said of the decision to relieve Skinner at BC. "Al had told them about it and so had I. We felt that we kept Al in position for that job because it hadn't become public yet. That didn't really phase them. "I think it's very important that you understand we have great, great respect for Al. He has done a terrific job here in 13 years. We thought it was least we could to for him is [give him] those six days." Assistant Pat Duquette will take over as interim basketball coach and DeFilippo said the school will support the trip of all assistants to the Final Four this weekend in Indianapolis so they can search for other jobs in college basketball.