Requiem for a Coach: Eagles, Donahue Finish Worst Season in Program History


It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

He was a sharp, (relatively) young, energetic, go-getter. He was active on the recruiting trail. He was a darling with the media. He was one of College Basketball’s new “it” coaches. He was supposed to be everything Al Skinner was not.

Well, we actually got that last part right. Al Skinner won basketball games.

Last night, Donahue’s Eagles fell to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 73-70 in the first round of the ACC tournament, ending the forgettable 2013-2014 season with a record of 8-24.

Those 24 losses are the most in program history. It has been recorded here and many other places how historically awful Donahue’s tenure has been on paper. This Junior class has averaged 21 losses a season. Players like Joe Rahon and Ryan Anderson who were supposed to make the “leap” this season never have seemed to get off the ground. We couldn’t rebound, we couldn’t defend, we couldn’t consistently shoot the basketball.

It’s been four years into the Donahue era and we have regressed from a fringe tournament team to the one of the worst teams in Division I basketball. It’s because of that,  we will likely be saying goodbye to Coach Donahue sometime in the near future.

I think we all had high hopes for this season. After last year’s strong finish, BC was returning almost every important player including All-ACC Third Team Ryan Anderson and ACC Freshman of the Year Olivier Hanlan.

These are good basketball players. Anderson lacks some size and Hanlan can get lost when the game is on his shoulders, but these are legitimate ACC basketball players. And regardless of what the Globe might tell you, they aren’t going anywhere. That article was silly and irresponsible. Hanlan might test the NBA waters but he quickly see that nobody is going to bite. And Ryan Anderson is going to transfer to the West Coast, sit out a year, and only have one year left of eligibility? Not happening. I don’t know who Michael Vega’s “sources” are, but my “sources” say they are wrong.

And if he isn’t wrong, shame on BC. Shame on Brad Bates, shame on the alumni, shame on the fans. If you can’t convince a group of good kids and good basketball players that they can play winning basketball with a new system and a new coach, then we haven’t done our job. We haven’t sold our school well enough. This is a special place, so we think. A coaching change shouldn’t cause a mass exodus. It just shouldn’t.

If this was in fact Coach Donahue’s last game, it will be truly a shame. He has conducted himself like a gentleman and has shown more grace and patience than almost anyone could imagine. But, unfortunately, he is not paid to be a nice guy. He is paid to win basketball games. And he hasn’t done that.

The first article I wrote for this website was titled “What Coach Donahue Can Learn From His Predecessor.” I laid out some advice and some expectations for this season and for Coach Donahue. Most importantly, I was just happy to be excited about BC basketball again. I was convinced that the Donahue Way would finally come into fruition. We’d have a hard working, well disciplined, competitive basketball team with a bright future ahead.

Silly me.