Boston College’s season concluded in a fitting way on Wednesday with a 73-70 overtime loss to Georgia Tech in the first round of the ACC tournament. The loss was the 24th of the season for Steve Donahue’s Eagles, 17 of which came by ten points or less.
Despite another disappointing year, Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel is reporting that BC athletic director Brad Bates informed Donahue that he will return for his fifth season.
The news is a bit puzzling, especially with the postseason expectations the team had this year. BC finished the 2012 campaign with a 16-17 record and returned the majority of its core players, so fans were hopeful the Eagles would continue to improve. Instead, a brutal non-conference slate doomed the Eagles from the start as the team dropped seven of its first ten games. The Eagles suffered a similar fate in ACC play, losing five of its first six before trudging to an eventual 4-14 conference record.
The lone bright spot for the Eagles was a shocking overtime upset on the road of then top-ranked Syracuse on February 19, but even that triumph does not provide much of a silver lining on a dreadful season.
In four years at BC, Donahue has just a 54-76 overall record. He led the Eagles to an NIT bid in his first season, but since then the Eagles have endured three straight losing seasons. He was brought to Boston after ten years at the helm of Cornell’s program, including three straight trips to the NCAA tournament and a Sweet 16 appearance in his final season with the Big Red.
Donahue’s success at Cornell gave him the reputation of an offensive guru, but his Boston College teams have lacked on the defensive end – this season giving up 73.6 points per game defensively.
Donahue inherited a significant rebuilding project in which he had to significantly upgrade the team’s roster to compete in the ACC. Aside from sophomore guard Olivier Hanlan (18.5 ppg), junior forward Ryan Anderson (14.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and sophomore point guard Joe Rahon (9 ppg, 3.2 apg), Donahue has struggled to recruit the high-level athletes needed to needed to succeed against a difficult ACC slate
The majority of the Eagles’ roster will return next season, but there have been whispers about Hanlan bolting for the NBA. If Hanlan leaves, a Boston Globe report from earlier this week indicated that Anderson and Rahon, both California natives, would consider transferring to schools on the west coast.
If those three leave, Donahue’s job will be even tougher and the Eagles could be in store for another rough season.