The harsh reality facing Boston College athletic director Pat Kraft in his search for a coach to resuscitate the Eagles' men's basketball program is that it is, at best, a stepping stone job.
Jim Christian didn't do the job at BC in his seven seasons, which is the prime reason he is no longer the Eagles' coach.
But with stringent admission policies, below grade facilities, a luke warm fan base , along with the lowest salary base of any Atlantic Coast Conference head coach, Christian was swimming against the tide during his entire stay at The Heights.
That is not say it couldn't done.
Previous Eagle coaches such as Jim O'Brien and Al Skinner found ways to win during their stints, although neither will dispute that it was not an easy task.
The attitude that BC has taken in the past has been termed arrogant by critics and appropriate by its backers.
BC is a world class university, with strong academics, located in a great city, playing in a strong athletic conference.
Ergo, you should be flattered that we are interested in you.--which is one of the reasons why BC has seldom overpaid its coaches.
Christian. for example. was paid approximately $1.3 million a year in a conference where the AVERAGE salary for the head coach is almost $2.9 million.
If you contend those numbers are skewered by the high salaries of the ACC's two Hall of Fame coaches, Mike Krzyzewski of Duke ($7..2 million) and Roy Williams of North Carolina ($4.1), the average salary only drops to $2.3, which is still way above what Christian was paid.
That however, is now part of BC's past and BC and Kraft need to recognize that.
If they want to compete in the strictest sense of the word, the only way they will entice quality major college head coaches will be by paying salary packages in the $2.5 million to $3.5 million a year range.
BC seems ready to do that, but is also dealing with another issue involving lack of staff diversity and an under current of racism on campus.
If anything is obvious to BC it should be the next head coach needs to be a minority hire, which won't eliminate all of the problems, but will be a good directional finder.
Amazingly, the pool of Major College conference black head coaches is surprisingly shallow. which makes the task even harder for BC. which has hired a Texas based search firm to vet candidates as well gauge interest.
In the past that interest level would be minimal, which leads to a "Show Me The Money'' reaction BC might receive.
Many names have been floated in the past several days.
BC must find out who is really interested, as well as whether they fit into the unique footprint that is BC basketball.
Using all of the criteria available, Harvard coach Tommy Amaker is in our opinion,, the most qualified, but BC's interest for inexplicable reasons has appeared to be minimal at this time.
Someone like UCF's Johnny Dawkins, who was Amaker's backcourt partner at Duke would fit into that mold as well, as would former Georgetown coach John Thompson III.
According to several sources all three coaches would certainly listen to inquires from BC.
Kraft's task is monumental and the consequences both good and bad are equally significant. He has to get this hire right.
BC basketball is at a cross roads with two divergent paths.
Former Boston College assistant Tim O'Shea, who was on Skinner's staff at Rhode Island and Boston College, and is a former All American BC basketball player knows the culture at BC as well as anyone.
"To succeed anywhere, you have to be able to recruit players who have pro potential,'' said O'Shea, who has downsized his coaching career to a status as the head coach at the Naval Academy Prep school in Newport, R.I. ""Al was able to do that BC because he had connections with the NBA and ABA.
""If you can do that, you have a chance, which is why the "'you can't win at BC is just a crock''. You just have to get the right players, as well as have some amount of luck.''
For much of the past decade since Skinner was fired, BC has had neither the players, nor the luck, as well as pair of coaches --Steve Donahue and Christian--who couldn't put the pieces together.
What BC does over the next few weeks will determine whether that trend changes.