The first question that new Boston College men’s basketball coach Jim Christian received during his introductory press conference on Tuesday was about his staff. It was also one of the first questions during a teleconference last Thursday when he was hired.
Between stops at Kent State, Texas Christian University, and Ohio University, the general assumption is that the Bethpage, N.Y. native is going to need help at the ACC level, especially with recruiting in both New England and beyond.
“I am doing all my due diligence because I do think it is important that I get people that understand the level that we are recruiting,” Christian said. “I have not recruited as an ACC head coach so I’m trying to get guys who have already proven and established that they can do that. I want to do it as quickly as possible, but I am not going to hurry. I want to have as many conversations and talk to a lot of different people, because to me it is the most important decision.”
That staff is starting to take shape. Christian is bringing Ohio assistant Bill Wuczynski with him to BC, according to The Boston Globe. Wuczynski worked closely with the Bobcat guards for the past two seasons, including MAC Player of the Year D.J. Cooper and All-MAC second team senior Nick Kellog. He came to Ohio with Christian after serving on his staff at TCU as an assistant coach during Christian’s tenure. Prior to that, Wuczynski spent three seasons at Florida International and three at Loyola-Chicago, both as an assistant. He started his career as the director of basketball operations for UNLV for four seasons before being promoted to an assistant position in his fifth year with the program.
Christian said he’s looking for three things with his staff.
“Number one, I want a proven recruiter from New England, someone who has gotten high-major talent from this area,” he said. “This is a talent-rich area and I want someone who has strong ties. With that, you have to have great evaluators. If you look over the course of Boston College history, it hasn’t been just recruiting. It has been great evaluating and recruiting. So those two things have to tie together.”
He may have found those qualities in current Maryland assistant Scott Spinelli, who is engaged in “serious talks” with BC, Terrapins head coach Mark Turgeon told The Washington Post. Spinelli, a Boston University graduate, is a New England native and is known for his strength in recruiting the area. Spinelli made $202,000 during the 2012-13 season at Maryland, The Washington Post reported.
Christian is also looking for a strong national recruiter, and one who can help him rebuild a winning culture in Chestnut Hill.
“With another spot, I want a guy who can prove he can get players nationally,” Christian said. “With a name like the ACC and the academic reputation of our school, you have to attack it in both ways. I think if you have too many New England guys they almost get in each other’s way. You have to spread yourself out as much as you can, because the growth of the ACC is incredible. One thing I know is great players want to play against great players, so it is our job to go open up as many doors as we can. If you rush right away, you just get talent, and you don’t cultivate the culture in your program. It is just talent. You have to catch people twice. You aren’t just catching the talent pool. The guys that you are bringing in better be able to fit the culture pool as well.”
Although the recruiting season for 2014 players is closing and the transfer season is well underway, Christian said hiring his staff will not be a rushed process.
“I’m going to do it as quickly as possible, but I’m not going to hurry,” Christian said. “I’m excited about the quality of people interested in this job.”
Contract notes, Anderson, and schedule
When asked about the specifics of Christian’s contract on Tuesday, including its length, Director of Athletics Brad Bates said the terms were undisclosed, citing the University’s ability to withhold the information since it is a private institution. When Steve Addazio was hired as BC’s new football coach, Bates cited the same reasons for not announcing Addazio’s salary, but he did state that Addazio had been signed to a six-year contract.
Bates also said that he and Ryan Anderson, the rising senior who announced this week that he will transfer from BC, had a conversation about the possibility shortly after former head coach Steve Donahue was fired, but that the decision was reached on Monday. Anderson received his release on Tuesday, according to ESPN. He will have shoulder surgery and sit out next year before being able to play again in the 2015-16 season, according to his Twitter account. Anderson is restricted from transferring to a school in the New England area.
Christian also briefly talked about scheduling on Tuesday.
“A lot of it is done already, I’m going through all of that now,” Christian said. “Obviously, you’re playing in one of the elite basketball conferences in the country, and you want to have as much confidence going into that as you can have. When you play in a great conference there’s going to be a lot of hits, so you’ve got to have the built in confidence to get through that.”