BC's DeFilippo seeks coach 'with fire'

Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo has made it clear that the person he hires to take over the school's men's basketball program will be very different from 13-year coach Al Skinner, whose departure was announced Tuesday.

At a news conference Tuesday, DeFilippo said the team's shrinking fan base convinced him to make a move. He said he wants a coach who works hard, promotes an aggressive style of play, and one who relates well to the players, the other students on campus and the alumni.

The implication was that Skinner, who was the winningest basketball coach in BC history, didn't do enough of those things.

The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan, in a column published on Wednesday, called Skinner "the least hard-working guy in show business."

"Al works Al hours, arriving around noon, playing some pickup ball, and going to a practice that, more than likely, had been planned by an assistant," Ryan wrote.

Appearing on WEEI's "The Dennis & Callahan Show" Wednesday morning, DeFilippo said: "I would like to get a coach who is a great teacher, a coach who has a lot of fire -- kind of like a Tom Izzo, that's full of energy and go-go-go.

"I'd like that coach to build us a team that is going to dive for loose balls, that we're going to look to see how many guys can take the most charges in a game, in a year, somebody that's going to play great defense, and, you know what, somebody that's going to go through the dorms and excite the students, or go into the dining hall and eat with the students once every week or two weeks and really get them involved in our program. I think that's very important today. ... We've got to work to get [the students] to come out and really take part and support our teams."

He said he already had spoken with three coaches about the position and is starting the preliminary interview process. When asked about possibly pursuing Tennessee's Bruce Pearl, who is a BC alumnus and a Massachusetts native, he said Pearl isn't a candidate at this point.

However, Tennessee's legendary women's coach, Pat Summit, did come to mind when asked about recruiting a women's coach such as UConn's ultra-successful Geno Auriemma. "There is one women's basketball coach that could coach any men's team in the country, and that's Pat Summit, at the University of Tennessee," he said. He did not indicate that he would pursue Summit.

DeFilippo emphasized that he wants a coach with a lot of time and energy to devote to the BC program, "someone that is really full of vim and vigor, and is going to work 24/7 and whatever it takes."

DeFilippo wouldn't comment on who he has spoken with about the job, but said he would pare the list in the next few days.