Boston College Parts Ways With Head Coach Al Skinner

March 30th, 2010- By Daniel James

Boston College fired men’s basketball coach Al Skinner on Tuesday, but there is some controversy over how it went down.

At a press conference announcing Skinner’s dismissal, athletic director Gene DeFilippo said it was a mutual decision by he and Skinner but the move has all the earmarks of an outright firing. Skinner interviewed Friday for the St. John’s coaching job, but no offer was tendered.

“We agreed to separate before he interviewed, for the best interests of both parties,” DeFilippo told reporters. “We agreed to part ways before he talked to St. John’s. And we kept it out of the public so that he could gain employment.”

DeFilippo said he met with Skinner last week and ironed out the terms of their mutually agreeable separation. However, Skinner reportedly is set to receive his full salary (reportedly $3 million) for the three years remaining on his contract and DeFilippo consistently referred to the change as “my decision.”

It is possible that Skinner was bought out by Boston College and as part of the contract agreed not to talk about the details of how the decision came about. That would leave Boston College free to spin it any way it wishes.

“Change is good sometimes,” DeFilippo said told reporters. “How many basketball coaches have been in the same position for 13 years? Very, very few.”

Skinner had been at Boston College for 13 years and is the winningest coach in school history. He compiled a 247-165 record and made the NCAA Tournament seven times. He inherited the program in 1997 after a gambling scandal had rocked the athletic department. This season was a down year for the Eagles. They finished 15-16 overall and 6-10 in the ACC in what was a relatively weak year in the conference.

When asked why this decision was made, DeFilippo said simply, “There were a lot of reasons.”

DeFilippo made it clear it was not a case of Skinner being fired for seeking other employment, as was the case with BC football coach Jeff Jagodzinski last year. He said Skinner only began looking for a new position after they agreed to part ways.

Boston College is expected to reach out to Cornell’s Steve Donohue and Harvard’s Tommy Amaker as it begins the process of hiring a new coach.

The 2010 NCAA Basketball Tournament is down to the Final Four, with USA Online Sportsbooks favoring the Duke Blue Devils to claim the title.

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