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BC basketball coaching search: Mike Hopkins, Mark Schmidt, Jim Christian reportedly on list of candidates

04.01.14 at 12:11 pm ET
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While other jobs get filled, Boston College continues its basketball coaching search.

The latest reports are that longtime Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski will be the next coach at Marquette, and former Oregon coach Ernie Kent is taking the Washington State job. That leaves BC and Wake Forest (said be pursuing Tulsa’s Danny Manning) with the two most high-profile openings.

National reports have BC kicking the tires on Saint Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt (a BC alumnus) and Ohio head coach Jim Christian (played at Boston University and then Rhode Island in the 1980s). Towson head coach Pat Skerry (from Medford and Tufts, and a former assistant at Northeastern, Rhode Island and Providence) also has attracted attention, along with Quinnipiac head coach Tom Moore (BU alum who was a longtime assistant at UConn).

The Eagles also are said be interested in longtime Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins, which would indicate a willingness to consider someone without head coaching experience. Hopkins, who played for the Orange from 1989-93, has served on Jim Boeheim‘s staff since 1995. He reportedly was on campus Saturday for an interview.

On that note, here are some other highly regarded assistants who might be worth a look from BC.

Chris Caputo, Miami – A New York native, Caputo is a 2002 graduate of Westfield State, where he was a reserve guard who captained the team his senior season. Caputo worked his way up from an unpaid administrative assistant to a valuable member of Jim Larranaga‘s staff first at George Mason and now at Miami (12 years in total). The 32-year-old has never been a head coach, but he has a reputation as a strong recruiter, especially in the Washington area.

Raphael Chillious, Washington – Chillious was an assistant to Jay Wright at Villanova in 2012-13 before rejoining Lorenzo Romar at Washington, where he had been an assistant from 2009-12. He was head coach at South Kent School in Connecticut from 2003-08 and is known for his ability to recruit New England prep schools. A native of Olney, Md., Chillious played at Lafayette, serving as captain as a senior in 1995-96.

Martin Ingelsby, Notre Dame So you want a coach with experience at an institution with academics similar to BC? How about Ingelsby, who has spent 11 seasons on Mike Brey‘s staff (the last five as an assistant coach after six as coordinator of basketball operations). Ingelsby, a point guard at Notre Dame from 1997-2001, works with the Irish guards and helps with national recruiting. A native of Berwyn, Pa., Ingelsby is the son of Tom Ingelsby, a guard on the Villanova team that lost to UCLA in the 1971 NCAA title game who went on to play briefly in the NBA and ABA.

Michael Lewis, Butler – Hired by current Celtics coach Brad Stevens in 2011, Lewis previously spent six seasons as an assistant at Eastern Illinois and one at Loyola (Ill.). A point guard for Bobby Knight at Indiana from 1997-2000, Lewis started his coaching career as a graduate assistant for Knight at Texas Tech after a couple of years playing minor league and European professional basketball. A native of Jasper, Ind., Lewis might be better suited for a position in the Midwest.

Read More: Jim Christian, Mark Schmidt, Mike Hopkins, Pat Skerry

BC earns thrilling win over UMass-Lowell to advance to 7th Frozen Four in 11 years

03.30.14 at 7:41 pm ET
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WORCESTER — The Boston College hockey team is full of stars, and Teddy Doherty is not one of them. Yet it was the sophomore defenseman from Hopkinton who made the play that sent the Eagles to their seventh Frozen Four in the last 11 years.

With under nine minutes to go in a tied game, Doherty, who has been a healthy scratch at times this season, pinched from the right point and walked toward the net before making a beautiful pass over to defensive partner Ian McCoshen at the top of the left circle. McCoshen then snapped a shot past UMass-Lowell goalie Connor Hellebuyck to give the Eagles a 4-3 lead, one they held onto for the remainder of the game, despite a flurry of chances from the River Hawks in the final minute.

“I’ve been trying to help the team win all year long, whatever my role was on the team,” Doherty said. “That’s something coach [Jerry] York talks about — ‘Whatever your role is, excel at it.’ Earlier in the year, my role was to cheer on teammates and push them in practice. Now that I’ve gotten in, it’s to help the team on the ice.”

The teams entered the third tied 2-2, and then all heck broke loose. The River Hawks took the lead just 43 seconds into the period when Evan Campbell threw a backhander to the front that went in off defenseman Scott Savage‘€™s skate. But the Eagles answered just 21 seconds later when freshman forward (and Bruins prospect) Ryan Fitzgerald split the defense and beat Hellebuyck with a nifty forehand-backhand move. Read the rest of this entry »

Connor Hellebuyck stays hot, UMass-Lowell advances to regional final with win over Minnesota State

03.29.14 at 10:06 pm ET
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WORCESTER — The Connor Hellebuyck show keeps on rolling. After winning his second straight Hockey East tournament MVP award following back-to-back shutouts at TD Garden, the sophomore netminder stopped 35 of the 36 shots he faced Saturday to lead UMass-Lowell to a 2-1 win over Minnesota State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Unlike last weekend, the River Hawks needed Hellebuyck to be perfect — or very close to it — Saturday. That’€™s not to say they didn’€™t appreciate his performance at the Garden (they did), or that he wasn’€™t the best player there (he was), but when the offense scores eight goals in two games, it’€™s probably safe to assume the team would’€™ve been just fine if Hellebuyck had made a mistake or two.

But against Minnesota State, there was no margin for error. For most of the game, the lone goal on the scoreboard was a shorthanded breakaway tally from Joe Pendenza midway through the first period, but this wasn’€™t one of those boring low-scoring games that features a ton of neutral-zone play.

The teams went up and down the ice quite a bit, and there were plenty of great chances at both ends, especially in the second period. But both goalies were outstanding (Minnesota State’s Cole Huggins made 33 saves), as fans witnessed a thrilling goaltending duel.

“The fans definitely didn’t get cheated tonight,” said Lowell coach Norm Bazin. “They were treated to an exceptional hockey game. Chances for both sides. I thought both goalies were very, very strong from the onset.” Read the rest of this entry »

Tommy Amaker to remain at Harvard

03.29.14 at 8:07 pm ET
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Tommy Amaker will remain at Harvard, the school announced Saturday. His name had been mentioned as a possible replacement for Steve Donahue at Boston College, but Saturday’s announcement closes that door.

“After thoughtful deliberation, I continue to realize my heart is at Harvard,” Amaker said in a statement. “To teach, lead and serve at this amazing institution, and in this special community, is truly meaningful to me.”

Amaker has led Harvard to three straight NCAA tournaments and back-to-back trips to the round of 32. This year, the 12th-seeded Crimson upset Cincinnati in the round of 64 before falling to Michigan State.

“Tommy is a great leader, a great coach and a great educator,” said Harvard athletic director Bob Scalise. “He is an inspiration to many in the Harvard community. We are excited he will continue to lead our men’s basketball program.”

Johnny Gaudreau, Kevin Hayes lead BC to blowout win over Denver in NCAA opener

03.29.14 at 6:34 pm ET
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WORCESTER — Call it a showcase. Call it a statement. Whatever it was, it was incredible to watch. Boston College‘€™s top line of Johnny Gaudreau, Bill Arnold and Kevin Hayes has been the best line in college hockey ever since Jerry York put them together on Dec. 6, but what they did in Saturday’€™s 6-2 win over Denver in the first round of the NCAA tournament may have been their best performance yet.

It seemed like a pretty safe bet that the Eagles would come out flying considering the way their Hockey East season ended — with a disappointing quarterfinal loss to Notre Dame that snapped their streak of nine straight trips to the conference semifinals. They’€™d be hungry, and because their coach is Jerry York, they’€™d obviously be prepared.

But BC, led by its top line, took ‘€œgetting off to a good start’€ to another level. It took just 25 seconds for that trio to get the Eagles on the board. Hayes won a 1-on-1 battle in the corner before sending a nifty behind-the-back pass to Gaudreau for the finish.

Five minutes later, it was Hayes taking over again. He carried the puck slowly toward the point before cutting hard to the net, charging down the slot and beating Denver goalie Sam Brittain with a quick move to the forehand.

(As an aside, if you haven’€™t watched much of BC this year, you might be inclined to think Hayes’€™ stats — he ranks second in the country in points — are a product of playing with Gaudreau. But Hayes is just as capable of taking over a shift or game, something that was pretty evident Saturday. Hayes, a Blackhawks first-round pick, also projects as the better pro thanks to his power-forward frame.)

Four minutes after Hayes’€™ goal, it was Gaudreau’€™s turn to wow the crowd with a great individual effort. The Hobey Baker favorite (and let’€™s be honest, it’€™s pretty safe to just start calling him the winner) took a pass from Arnold at center ice, blew by Denver defenseman David Makowski down the left wing and beat Brittain on a wraparound. Read the rest of this entry »

Providence advances to regional final with blowout win over Quinnipiac

03.28.14 at 8:59 pm ET
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Providence reached the NCAA tournament for the first since 2001 this season, and now the Friars are heading to the national quarterfinals for the first time since 1989 after beating Quinnipiac, 4-0, Friday in a first-round game in Bridgeport, Conn.

Flames draft pick Jon Gillies made 37 saves to pick up his fourth shutout of the season, while fellow Calgary prospect Mark Jankowski opened the scoring 3:37 into the game. Anthony Florentino, Shane Luke and Trevor Mingoia all added goals in the second period to put the game well out of reach.

The win sets up a regional final against Union (Saturday, 3 p.m. ET), one full of interesting storylines. Friars coach Nate Leaman was Union’s head coach for eight years before leaving for Providence in 2011, and he helped lead the Dutchmen to their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance in his final season there.

His replacement at Union was Rick Bennett, who had been on Leaman’s staff for his last six years there. Bennett has led the Dutchmen to NCAAs in each of his three seasons at the helm and now has a chance to take them to their second Frozen Four in the last three years.

Perhaps even more interesting for the purposes of  Saturday’s game is that Bennett played at Providence and is a member of the PC Athletics Hall of Fame. He later spent five years as an assistant with the Friars.

With a win over Union, Providence would reach its first Frozen Four since 1985, when it fell to Rensselaer in the national championship game.

Vermont falls to Union in first round of NCAA tournament

03.28.14 at 5:03 pm ET
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Vermont’s first NCAA tournament game since 2010 didn’t go well at all. The Catamounts took eight penalties and got outshot, 39-25, as they fell to Union, 5-2, Friday afternoon at the East Regional in Bridgeport, Conn.

Union, the ECAC champion and No. 1 seed in the region, opened the scoring 4:15 into the first on a shorthanded goal by Matt Hatch. Vermont captain Chris McCarthy tied the game with 6:42 left in the first, but Max Novak reclaimed the lead for the Dutchmen just 1:09 later on a power-play tally.

Novak struck again on the power play late in the second to make it 3-1, and then Mat Bodie scored midway through the third to make it a three-goal lead. McCarthy cut the lead to 4-2 with his second goal of the game (and 18th of the season) before Hatch sealed the win for Union with an empty-netter.

The Catamounts never really gave themselves a chance in the first two periods, as they took four penalties in each frame and found themselves trailing in shots, 31-12, heading into the third.

Despite the disappointing finish, Vermont fans have to be encouraged by the team’s turnaround this year. After back-to-back NCAA appearances in 2009 and 2010 (including a Frozen Four appearance in ’09), the Catamounts won eight games in 2010-11, six in 2011-12 and 11 in 2012-13 before jumping up to 20 this season.

They will have some retooling to do for next year, as they graduate their leading scorer in McCarthy, as well as mainstays Connor Brickley, H.T. Lenz and Nick Bruneteau. There’s also a chance that junior defenseman Michael Paliotta, a Blackhawks draft pick, could turn pro, although it doesn’t sound like that’s expected.

Freshman sensation Mario Puskarich – the Hockey East Rookie of the Year — will be back, though, as will goalie Brody Hoffman.

UMass football to leave MAC after 2015 season

03.26.14 at 3:17 pm ET
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UMass’ football team will leave the Mid-American Conference after the 2015 season, the school announced Wednesday.

Athletic director John McCutcheon said the decision was made after the MAC exercised a contract clause that offered UMass full-time membership in the conference for all sports. If UMass declined the offer, it would be able to remain a football-only member for just two more years. The school declined and will now leave the league after the 2015 season.

“While the report is not complete,” McCutcheon said, “we believe full membership for all sports in the MAC is not a good fit for us. Because most of the MAC schools are in the Midwest, the additional travel would strain our athletic budget and pose considerable time management challenges for our student athletes. We are confident that, within the next two years, we will find a more suitable conference for our FBS football program.”

“We remain committed to FBS football,” McCutcheon added. “Many institutions have successfully navigated this challenging period of conference realignment and we will do the same.”

In its first two seasons in the MAC (and FBS), UMass went 2-14 in conference play and 2-22 overall. The school changed coaches after this past season when it fired Charley Molnar and brought back Mark Whipple, who led the team to a Division I-AA national championship in 1998.

Celtics assistant Walter McCarty expresses interest in BC job

03.25.14 at 1:27 pm ET
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Celtics assistant coach Walter McCarty is not hiding his interest in the Boston College coaching vacancy.

McCarty, a University of Kentucky product who played 7 1/2 of his 11 NBA seasons in Boston, joined the Celtics this season after serving as an assistant to Rick Pitino at Louisville for three years (2007-10) and then working one year as a Pacers assistant under Jim O’Brien in 2010-11.

“I’m very interested,” McCarty told the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett. “I want to be highly considered. I love the city. I have great ties in the city. I have a great foundation here, especially with recruiting.

“If you look at Louisville’s 2013 national championship team, four of those five starters were my guys. So I’m very confident in my ability to coach and lead a program. I think that I’m ready.”

Added McCarty: “This city loves basketball, and that’€™s a great university. I think the people in the area and the students can be re-engaged with the basketball program. There’€™s a good fan base. It just needs to be revived and be resurrected with the right person in place who can re-engage the community, who can engage the fan base and bring them back together.

“And it also has to be a person who can bring players to campus who will be a part of not just the program, but the community. I think if you bring the right type of players here and put a good product on the floor, you can do that.”

Read More: Walter McCarty,

Harvard’s tourney run ends vs. Michigan State

03.22.14 at 11:29 pm ET
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Harvard rallied from a 16-point second-half deficit to take a two-point lead with just over seven minutes to play, but fourth-seeded Michigan State recovered and ended the Crimson’s season with a 80-73 decision Saturday night in an NCAA tournament game in Spokane, Wash.

Branden Dawson scored 26 points on 12-of-15 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds for the Spartans (28-8), who advance to play the winner of Sunday’s Virginia-Memphis game in next week’s East Regional semifinals. Gary Harris added 18 points and five assists, and he hit a pair of big 3-pointers down the stretch.

Wesley Saunders scored 22 points for 12th-seeded Harvard (27-5). Brandyn Curry came off the bench to score 12 points, Steve Moundou-Missi had 11 points and 11 rebounds, and Siyani Chambers contributed 10 points and four assists.

The Crimson trailed by 12 at the half and then 16 at 49-33 after a Dawson dunk 2 1/2 minutes into the second period, and it appeared they would not be able to keep up with the talented Spartans, a popular pick to win the tournament. It was again a 16-point margin at 52-36 with under 16 minutes remaining when Harvard started its comeback with a pair of Curry 3-pointers. That began a 19-3 run that was capped by a Saunders steal and dunk that tied the game at 55 with nine minutes to play.

Harris hit a trey to put the Spartans back up by three, but Harvard kept up the pressure and grabbed the lead at 62-60 on a 3-pointer from the corner by Laurent Rivard with just over seven minutes left.

Travis Trice had the answer for Michigan State on its ensuing possession, hitting a 3-pointer that put his team ahead to stay. Harris hit a trey with 5:37 left to cap an 8-0 run, and Michigan State was back in control with a 68-62 lead. Harvard could get no closer than four the rest of the way, and Michigan State hit 7-of-8 free throws in the final minute to put the game out of reach.

After surviving the scare, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo was highly complimentary of his counterpart and good friend, Tommy Amaker.

“He did a heck of a job with that team,” Izzo said in a TNT on-court interview after the game. “I told my guys in four huddles, ‘They are not going to quit, man. I know this guy.’ Give him a lot of credit. We did some goofy things, but boy, the way they came back, they played so hard, they got their hands in passing lanes. I give a lot of credit to Harvard.”

Harvard was coming of an upset of fifth-seeded Cincinnati on Thursday, its second-ever NCAA tournament victory — and second in two years. Michigan State, meanwhile, is making its 12th Sweet 16 appearance in the last 17 years.

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