Donahue fired as Boston College basketball coach

Boston College head coach Steve Donahue reacts to play in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Notre Dame in Boston, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. Notre Dame won 73-69. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Boston College head coach Steve Donahue reacts to play in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Notre Dame in Boston, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. Notre Dame won 73-69. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

BOSTON (AP) — Steve Donahue was fired as basketball coach at Boston College on Tuesday after failing to take the Eagles to the NCAA tournament in his four seasons.

Athletic director Brad Bates made the announcement after they went 8-24, their most losses in one season in school history.

Donahue, 51, had one year left on the contract he signed after leading Cornell to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2010, that team’s third straight appearance in the tournament. He succeeded Al Skinner, who went 15-16 in his 13th and final season.

Donahue turned that around the next season, leading the Eagles to a 21-13 record and the National Invitation Tournament, where they lost in the second round. He didn’t have another winning season, going 9-22 and 16-17 before falling further this season.

The Eagles were 54-76 in Donahue’s four seasons.

The biggest win in his four years at BC came when the Eagles beat top-ranked and previously unbeaten Syracuse on the road, 62-59 in overtime on Feb. 19. But they were just 1-5 after that, finishing the season with a 73-70 overtime loss to Georgia Tech in the opening round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

All five starters returned from last season’s team that went 7-11 in the ACC. But the Eagles were 4-14 in the conference this year before the postseason tournament and 4-9 outside it as Donahue played a tougher non-conference schedule to improve the Eagles’ chances of reaching the NCAA tournament.

They didn’t come close.

They started at 1-4, losing to Providence, Massachusetts, Toledo and Connecticut. All are in the NCAA tournament except Toledo, which made the NIT. In their last two games before their conference schedule, the Eagles lost on the road to Purdue and USC, which both finished last in their conferences.

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