Al Skinner

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For the 19th-century baseball player, see Al Skinner (baseball).
Al Skinner
Sport(s) Basketball
Current position
Title Assistant coach
Team Bryant
Biographical details
Born (1952-06-16) June 16, 1952 (age 62)
Mount Vernon, New York
Playing career
1971–1974
1974–1977
1977–1978
1978–1979
1979–1980
1980–1981
UMass
New York/New Jersey Nets
Detroit Pistons
New Jersey Nets
Philadelphia 76ers
Joventut Badalona (Spain)
Position(s) Guard
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1982–1984
1984–1988
1988–1997
1997–2010
2013–present
Marist (asst.)
Rhode Island (asst.)
Rhode Island
Boston College
Bryant (asst.)
Head coaching record
Overall 385–291 (22 seasons)
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
Big East Tournament Championship (2001)
Big East Regular Season Championship (2001, 2005)
Awards
National Coach of the Year (2001)
Big East Coach of the Year (2001, 2005)
Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year (1992)

Albert L. "Al" Skinner, Jr. (born June 16, 1952) is an American men's college basketball head coach and a former collegiate and professional basketball player. He was formerly the head coach of the Boston College men's basketball team and is currently an assistant at Bryant University.

Playing career[edit]

College[edit]

Skinner played at the University of Massachusetts. While on the freshman team in the 1970–71 season, the varsity team was led by Julius Erving, in what would be Erving's final season in college. (Skinner and Erving would later play together professionally.) Skinner was also a teammate of Rick Pitino.

Left to right: Al Skinner, Jack Leaman, and Julius Erving at the ceremony to retire Skinner's UMass jersey.

Skinner scored 1,235 points in his three years on the varsity squad. He led the team in rebounding each of those three years, and in scoring in his junior and senior seasons. As a senior, he averaged a double-double with 18.8 points and 11.0 rebounds. That scoring average also led the Yankee Conference. He recorded the first triple-double in UMass history, with 28 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists against St. Peter's on Dec. 28, 1973 in Springfield MA.[1]

Skinner was a three-time Yankee Conference First Team selection. He led UMass to two straight YC titles in the 1972–73 and 1973–74 seasons. As a senior in 1973–74, he was the team captain and an All-America honorable mention selection.

His jersey number 30 was retired in a ceremony at UMass on Feb. 18, 2004.[2]

Professional[edit]

Skinner was drafted by the Boston Celtics in the 1974 NBA Draft (16th pick of the 9th round, or 160th overall pick).[3] He never ended up playing with Boston. Instead, he joined the New York Nets in the ABA, where he reunited with Julius Erving. The pair helped the Nets win the ABA title in 1975–76.

In his total ABA/NBA career, he spent time with the Nets (1974–77, 1978–79), Pistons (1977–78) and 76ers (1979–80).[4]

Coaching career[edit]

Marist and Rhode Island[edit]

After retiring from his playing career, Skinner entered the college coaching ranks. He served as an assistant coach at Marist from 1982–84, and then at the University of Rhode Island from 1984–88.

He was named head coach at URI beginning with the 1988–1989 season, replacing Tom Penders. Skinner coached the Rams for nine seasons, during which he won the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year award for the 1991–92 season. He is also credited for recruiting many of the players of the Rams' 1997–98 team – Cuttino Mobley, Tyson Wheeler, and Lamar Odom – which reached the Elite Eight of the 1998 NCAA Tournament.

During Skinner's tenure, the Rams were selected to two NITs and two NCAA Tournaments. He was inducted into URI's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.[5]

Boston College[edit]

On April 17, 1997, Skinner was hired to lead the Boston College Eagles men's basketball team after Jim O'Brien left for Ohio State. Nearly all of the Eagles' prominent players followed O'Brien to Ohio State, leaving Skinner with a depleted roster. As a result, the Eagles struggled for Skinner's first three seasons in Chestnut Hill, winning only 12 games in Big East play and 32 overall.

After the Eagles struggled in Skinner's first three seasons in Chestnut Hill, he guided the 2000–01 team to the Big East regular season title with a 13–3 record—their first regular season title in 18 years. The Eagles went on to win the Big East Tournament, and earned a #3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. He was named the season's Coach of the Year both Nationally and in the Big East.

In the 2004–05 season, the Eagles became the first Big East team in history to start a season 20–0. The Eagles were ranked #4 in the AP Poll at the time, and even reached as high as #3 later in the season. Though they won the conference regular season title, the Eagles fell in the Quarter-Finals of the Big East Tournament. As a #4 seed in the 2005 NCAA Tournament, they were upset by #12 seed Milwaukee. Skinner was named Big East Coach of the Year in 2004–05.

The 2005–06 Eagles finished with a 28–8 record, which stands as the most wins in a single season in BC history. They also advanced to the Sweet 16, tying the second-deepest NCAA run for an Eagle team. During the season, Skinner also became the all-time winningest coach in BC history, surpassing O'Brien's 168 wins.

Through the 2009–10 season, Skinner led Boston College to seven NCAA Tournaments, and one NIT.

On March 30, 2010, Skinner was fired as head coach at Boston College.[6]

Almost a year to the day after his firing, Skinner took part in a phone interview with Boston Globe sportswriter Mark Blaudschun. Ending a year of self-imposed silence about what transpired at Boston College, Skinner defended his record, stating, "I ran a good program, I graduated my kids. Everybody has problems, but we addressed them and handled them in a matter that satisfied every one." Skinner continued the interview by noting that he felt had he been at BC during the 2010–11 season, the Eagles would have been more of a factor in the national picture. "I know the potential we had," he said. “We would have had a dog in this fight, and that we don’t bothers me." His remarks, and the fact that his interview ran on the front page of the Sports section of The Boston Globe, demonstrated the ongoing controversy regarding his firing in March 2010.[7]

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Rhode Island (Atlantic 10 Conference) (1988–1997)
1988–89 Rhode Island 13–15 9–9 5th
1989–90 Rhode Island 15–13 11–7 4th
1990–91 Rhode Island 11–17 6–12 9th
1991–92 Rhode Island 22–10 9–7 4th NIT Quarterfinals
1992–93 Rhode Island 19–11 8–6 5th NCAA Second Round
1993–94 Rhode Island 11–16 7–9 6th
1994–95 Rhode Island 7–20 2–14 9th
1995–96 Rhode Island 20–14 8–8 4th East NIT Quarterfinals
1996–97 Rhode Island 20–10 12–4 2nd East NCAA First Round
Rhode Island: 138–126 (.523) 72–76 (.486)
Boston College (Big East Conference / Atlantic Coast Conference) (1997–2010)
1997–98 Boston College 15–16 6–12 6th "BE 6" Div.
1998–99 Boston College 6–21 3–15 13th (BE)
1999-00 Boston College 11–19 3–13 13th (BE)
2000–01 Boston College 27–5 13–3 1st East (BE) NCAA Second Round
2001–02 Boston College 20–12 8–8 4th East (BE) NCAA First Round
2002–03 Boston College 19–12 10–6 1st East (BE) NIT First Round
2003–04 Boston College 24–10 10–6 5th (BE) NCAA Second Round
2004–05 Boston College 25–5 13–3 1st (BE) NCAA Second Round
2005–06 Boston College 28–8 11–5 3rd (ACC) NCAA Sweet Sixteen
2006–07 Boston College 21–12 10–6 4th (ACC) NCAA Second Round
2007–08 Boston College 14–17 4–12 11th (ACC)
2008–09 Boston College 22–12 9–7 6th (ACC) NCAA First Round
2009–10 Boston College 15–16 6–10 8th (ACC)
Boston college: 247–165 (.600) 106–106 (.500)
Total: 385–291 (.570)

      National champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

Trivia[edit]

  • In 1978, Al Skinner was one of four players to play for both teams in a single game. After a protest, a game played earlier in the year was replayed and Skinner, who started the game with the New Jersey Nets, ended the game as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers.
  • Skinner was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2004.
  • When Skinner coached Boston College, WEEI radio would broadcast the Al Skinner Show. The half hour program was hosted by Ted Sarandis and was taped before a live audience at the Metropolitan Club in Chestnut Hill and aired each Thursday.[8]
  • Coach Skinner was known for his impeccable dress habits among Boston College fans, which earned him the nickname "Coach Handsome". Those who watch closely notice that Skinner only wears a tie for home games, electing to wear either a polo or mock turtleneck on the road. It is rumored that Skinner does not wear the same suit twice in a given season.
  • Skinner was a spokesperson for Eastern Clothing of Watertown, a prominent men's clothing store near Boston College.

External links[edit]

References[edit]