Opinion: Steve Donahue is Really on the Hot Seat

With an overall record of 7-21 and a conference record of 3-12, the lingering question throughout the season has been: how has the basketball team been so disappointing? After all, this year’s team is practically a carbon copy of last year’s team, with the addition of a couple of impressive freshmen—notably Garland Owens and Will Magarity.

All of the analysis in the world won’t change the fact that last year’s 16-17 team—that was supposed to be vastly better this season—is now 7-20. Who is to blame? Ultimately, everybody. Who will get the most blame? Steve Donahue.

After ten seasons with Cornell (the last of which ended with a trip to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen), Donahue left Cornell to coach at Boston College. His first season—in which the Eagles went 21-13—seemed promising. After his first season with the Eagles, though, the basketball team has been mediocre at best, with overall records of 9-22, 16-17, and currently 7-20.

An ominously accurate forewarning of this season, BC lost to Toledo, 95-92, in November. Billy Foshay / Gavel Media

In what turned out to be an ominous forewarning of this season's woes, BC lost to Toledo, 95-92, in November. Billy Foshay / Gavel Media

In the incredibly fleeting world of college sports, it seems—at times—that coaches get hired to get fired. And at the end of the day, if a coach fulfilling the bottom-line goal of winning games, he isn’t doing what he has been hired to do.

Donahue’s four-year tenure at Boston College has been far from extraordinary. And though it took him all of seven years to turn Cornell from zero to hero, does Boston College have the patience and the faith to preserve Donahue’s career? And by bringing in a coach who took so long to build a venerable program and gain stature at Cornell, was it unrealistic for BC to expect Donahue to turn around a program in such a short period of time?

Donahue’s Disciples, a well-known Facebook page that has dually supported Steve Donahue and the BC Men’s Basketball team, had this to say:

“We are extremely supportive of the team and the coaches even though it has been a tough season and one that has seemed to fall below where expectations were at the beginning of the year. We appreciate the hard work that both the players and the coaches have put into this season, even though the results on the court may not completely reflect that...We will continue to support the players, coaches, and future Eagles, no matter the circumstances. We wish the boys the best of luck during the remainder of the season”

Though Donahue is undoubtedly in the hot seat, a miraculous 62-59 win over No. 1 Syracuse on February 19, 2014 certainly gives Donahue a little slack. This incredible win was subsequently followed by a 42-69 blowout by Miami, which certainly didn’t help the case to be made for BC keeping Donahue.

Ultimately, only time will tell whether BC will opt to keep or release Steve Donahue.

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