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Steve Donahue will return as coach of BC next season

Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Donahue is 54-76 in four seasons at Boston College. The Eagles finished the season 8-24, with a 4-14 ACC record.

Boston College head coach Steve Donahue will return to the Eagles next season. Donahue was informed Thursday by BC Athletic Director Brad Bates, according to a source with knowledge of the conversation.

The Eagles finished the season 8-24, losing in overtime in its first-round ACC Tournament game against Georgia Tech on Wednesday. Donahue is 54-76 in four seasons at Boston College.

Donahue reached the NIT in his first year as BC's coach in 2010-11. Since that season, the Eagles have undergone a complete rebuild and struggled.

After finishing 16-17 last season and a returning core of seven scholarship juniors, BC entered this season with expectations to again become a postseason team. But the Eagles overscheduled, lost starting center Dennis Clifford to injury and never recovered from losing four of their first five games.

Donahue's team showed its potential with an overtime upset of then-No. 1 Syracuse in the Carrier Dome on Feb. 19, but that game proved to be an anomaly, as the Eagles consistently found ways to lose close games.

The Eagles are slated to return every significant player on their roster next season. Sophomore Olivier Hanlan, who averaged 18.5 points per game this year, has said publicly that he'd consider declaring for the NBA Draft, but his departure is unlikely as scouts do not consider him a lock to be selected in the first round. With all of their contributors returning -- only reserve guard Danny Rubin departs -- the Eagles will need to overhaul their defense and toughness in order to improve. BC is No. 296 in KenPom.com's adjusted defensive efficiency ratings. They finished No. 33 on offense.

Donahue developed a reputation as one of the country's top offensive minds by leading Cornell to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments from 2008 to 2010. That culminated with a Sweet 16 run in 2010, where Cornell eventually lost to Kentucky.

The scope of Donahue's rebuilding job at Boston College was a likely factor in the decision to bring him back. After his first year, the Eagles had just one scholarship player on campus, meaning that Donahue had to completely stock a roster with young players.

BC will have seven seniors next season and can improve if Clifford, their only consistent post defensive presence, is healthy. Meanwhile, injured freshman guard Darryl Hicks missed last season with injury, and his return should help the Eagles move forward.

Boston College is expected to have a much easier schedule next season, as the Eagles had only two pure home "buy games" against inferior opponents to start the year. BC is also in line to receive return games from Providence, Harvard and Southern California.

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