(4-18-97) -- Boston College introduced Al Skinner, former head basketball coach at the University of Rhode Island, as head coach of its men's basketball program at a press conference this afternoon in the Conte Forum Shea Room.
In a statement released yesterday, University President William P. Leahy, SJ, said, "We welcome Al Skinner to the Boston College community. I know that Coach Skinner appreciates the priorities and commitments Boston College has to excel in academics and athletics. I look forward to his coaching our team."
"We are pleased that Al has accepted the challenge of directing a program at Boston College that remains clearly focused on continued excellence at the highest level of the game," said Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk.
At the press conference, Skinner said he was "extremely happy" to be the Eagles' new coach.
"Boston College has presented me with a tremendous opportunity," said Skinner. "I hope I can live up to some of the success others have had here. I am looking forward to the years that lie ahead."
Skinner said that while it was difficult for him to leave URI, he felt the Boston College coaching job offered him the chance to build a competitive, high-profile program in an attractive environment.
"When I talked to Chet and others on campus," he said, "I felt the same sense of community I experienced at Rhode Island. I feel that at BC, they give every young man the support they need."
In nine seasons as head coach, Skinner compiled a record of 138-126, including a 20-10 mark in 1996-97. He directed URI to four post-season appearances, including this year's National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament.
A 1974 graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Skinner went on to play with the New York Nets in the American Basketball Association, and was a member of their 1976 ABA championship team. When the Nets joined the National Basketball Association the next year, Skinner was named team captain and Players' Association representative. After spending a season with the Detroit Pistons, Skinner returned to the Nets in 1978 and then played for the Philadelphia 76ers. Skinner also played in Barcelona, Spain and led his team to the European championship.
Skinner began his coaching career in 1982 as an assistant at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, and joined URI in 1984, where he served under Brendan Malone and Tom Penders. Skinner succeeded Penders in 1988 and by 1993 had led URI to a berth in the NCAA tournament, where the team lost in the second round to eventual champion North Carolina.
Gladchuk described Skinner as "a first-class individual with unquestioned integrity and an accomplished coach who maintained a highly respected relationship with his players."
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