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St. John's is pursuing BC's Skinner

Boston College head coach Al Skinner reacts to

Boston College head coach Al Skinner reacts to play against Virginia. (March 11, 2010) Credit: AP

Yet another ACC coach with Long Island ties has emerged as a candidate for the vacant basketball job at St. John's.

Is Boston College's Al Skinner finally the one?

Skinner, formerly of Malverne, took center stage Friday as possibly the leading candidate to coach the Red Storm. Boston College confirmed early Friday that St. John's has requested permission to speak with Skinner, who just finished his 13th season as the Eagles' coach.

Virginia Tech's Seth Greenberg, who grew up in Plainview, was believed to be on St. John's list but dropped off when he was given a contract extension. That followed by two days the withdrawal of Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt, a Westbury High grad and former assistant at C.W. Post.

Apparently, to St. John's, ACC stands for Another Coaching Candidate.

Skinner, 57, has coached Boston College to seven NCAA Tournament appearances. He is the winningest basketball coach (247-165) in school history but finished 15-16 and in eighth place in the ACC this season. Skinner also coached nine seasons at Rhode Island, where he had two NCAA appearances.

He played at Massachusetts and professionally with Julius Erving, where both were members of the 1975-76 ABA champion Nets.

Skinner was not available, but his wife, Donna, said nothing was imminent. She could not confirm reports that her husband was being interviewed Friday. "They might have gotten in touch with him,'' she said from Massachusetts. "We have no idea what is going to happen now.''

Does her husband want the St. John's job? "Both my children are graduating from high school, so there's going to be big changes in our family anyway,'' she said early in the day. "But I like where we are. I like BC. I don't know. This is where I'm from. My family's here, my friends. For him, it would be nice because that's where he grew up.''

Reports throughout the day had Skinner involved in negotiations in Manhattan, but his wife said he was working in his office at school. St. John's had no comment.

Meanwhile, Virginia Tech athletic director Jim Weaver ended any chance of St. John's making a run at Greenberg.

"We have negotiated the financial terms for coach Greenberg's last four years of his current contract and we've added two years to that contract," Weaver told Newsday. "He's going to be at Virginia Tech. I think everything is moot from this point forward.''

So Skinner is the focal point. His bio says he has been called Coach Handsome because he is a snazzy dresser, purportedly never wearing the same suit more than once a season.

Perhaps St. John's believes he is the perfect fit.


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