The process of finding a new athletic director at Boston College is speeding up. According to sources familiar with the process, the Parker Search firm, which has been hired by BC to vet a list of candidates, has put together a list of finalists, which is no longer than four names.
BC is expected to announce its choice within the next few days.
Those finalists will then have their names presented to Boston College President Father William Leahy, who will make the final decision. Pairing that list down to three or four people who could be interviewed this week has been made more difficult since BC must also gauge whether there is a mutual interest from their names.
According to sources familiar with the process, the list of candidates includes VCU's Ed McLaughlin, who is also a Boston College graduate, Villanova's Mark Jackson, Army's Boo Corrigan, who was a finalist five years ago before BC hired Brad Bates from Miami of Ohio and one candidate who may be outside the college administrative loop.
Sources at BC also said that a clear cut favorite had been determined, but there has been no definitive word on who is No. 1. Nor is there a clear consensus if the candidates listed are interested in BC, although sources familiar with the process say that BC officials have a clear cut No. 1 choice who could meet Father Leahy as early as Monday.
McLaughlin,a BC graduate, who has spent the past five years at VCU, has the most ties to the area and the highest comfort level with the BC administration. And there seems little doubt that McLaughlin would accept an offer to return to The Heights.
Another candidate with even stronger BC connections is Chris Iacoi, who graduated from BC in 2001, graduated from the Carroll School of Management in 2005 and was an assistant AD of Business Operations at The Heights before taking a job as Senior Associate AD and Chief Financial Officer at UCLA in 2014.
Whether Iaoki chooses to come back to BC or feels he is in a position to replace current athletic director Dan Guerrero, who will be 66 in November, when he retires, remains uncertain. On Saturday, sources said that it was unlikely that Iaoki would leave UCLA at this time.
One source said a likely scenario would be to have the new AD start his tenure at BC no later than June 1. One issue in putting together a list of candidates is the uncertainty of the length of Father Leahy's remaining tenure with BC, but that obstacle has apparently been over come.
If there is snag in the procedure, there is also a possibility that BC could stray from a traditional AD/Administrator and pick someone who has ties to Boston College, but is not currently involved in college athletics, although that seems less likely.
Some sources familiar with the process are suggesting that BC could follow the path followed by the University of Connecticut when it hired David Benedict from Auburn, which was to hire an associate AD from a Power 5 conference school looking to climb to the next job level of running their own program.
With that in mind, BC would most likely focus on ACC schools or schools with stronger academic reputations such as Northwestern, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt or Stanford outside of the ACC.
There could also be a wild card entry of people with a strong BC connection, such as former football coach Tom O'Brien, who would provide a visible profile for the head of the athletic department, which has diminished considerably over the past few years.
One name that was on the finalist list five years ago before Bates was hired, was Quentin Williams, a former BC football player whose resume includes stops in the NFL, the Justice Department and the NFL. Adding to Williams credentials was the backing of former BC and NFL coach Tom Coughlin. Whether Williams is ready to leave a lucrative career in a New York City law firm seems unlikely, but BC officials are said to be open to going in a different direction to revive an athletic program which has been fading rapidly in the last five years.
Another "outside the box'' name that has been circulated is Mike Dee, whose background is all in professional sports, with stops with the Red Sox, San Diego Padres and Miami Dolphins in executive positions. Dee was also President of the Fenway Sports Group, which has an ongoing relationship with BC.
One name who sources, said, did not make the finalist list was former BC administrator Jim Paquette, who announced last week that he was resigning in June as the Loyola, MD AD.
Although there has been no final decision made on which direction Father Leahy will follow, there are more and more indications that BC will follow the path which presents the least obstacles and someone who is familiar to Leahy, which would seem to give a slight edge to someone like Iacoi.
The one constant factor throughout the process has been that BC has targeted its three top candidates and will go in sequential order, which could mean a quick end of the process if a deal with the No. 1 pick can be made.
But until an agreement has been reached-perhaps by es early as Tuesday--the uncertainty of the future direction of the leadership in the BC athletic department will remain.
And unless there is a radical change in the focus on athletics at BC and in the leadership of the school in terms of commitment and the way things are done, it seems unlikey that things will get better any time soon at The Heights.