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BC AD Gene DeFilippo Nukes His Athletic Department…Again

March 30, 2010
By now you’ve surely heard the news that Boston College AD Gene DeFilippo has fired Al Skinner for entertaining the St. John’s basketball job.

This is the second major sport coach DeFilippo has canned in the last year and a half for interviewing for another job. Jeff Jagodzinski, BC’s football coach at the time, was dismissed after entertaining the Jets job back in January of 2009.

You have to wonder about DeFilippo and his management style. I realize that, as AD, he has a responsibility to do his best to promote the school and insist on coaches that win and increase BC’s visibility on a national stage.

However, is DeFilippo cutting his nose off to spite his face? Is the firing of two revenue coaches (and the un-amicable parting of Tom O’Brien from BC in 2006) creating a culture that will stymie their ability to attract top-notch coaching talent in the future?

It’s an interesting balance that an AD must strike. In DeFilippo’s case, having a quick trigger could have an adverse affect on their coaching hires. In the case of State–with an AD extremely adverse to firing, even in justified instances–the culture can sour from the fan side of the equation, also leading to a culture that makes hiring new coaches difficult (see: 2006 basketball coaching search). An AD must balance his wishes with that of the fanbase he ultimately serves.

I think DeFilippo was wrong to let go of Skinner, but I know there were plenty of folks outside of State that felt State’s fanbase was wrong to exert pressure on Sendek that led to his departure. So who knows…perhaps BC will improve their lot in the long run. In the short term, DeFilippo’s actions seem heavy-handed to me, just as they did in 2009 with Jagodzinski.

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