Exclusive: DeFilippo discusses the firing of Skinner

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Exclusive: DeFilippo discusses the firing of Skinner

Some highlights of the press conference at Boston College, in which athletic director Gene DeFilippo announced the dismissal of basketball coach Al Skinner:

ON NAMING AN INTERIM COACH
"Pat Duquette has been named interim coach. All assistants are still on staff as of now, but they can go out and look for jobs at the Final Four."

ON THE DISMISSAL OF SKINNER:
This job has "a lot of good days and days not quite as good. This is one of the days that has been difficult for me. I am here to announce Coach Skinner and I met twice and last Wednesday, March 24 felt it was best to part ways."

ON THE SUBSTANCE OF THOSE MEETINGS:
"In these two meetings we addressed philosophical differences and future of program."

ON THE TIMING OF THE ANNOUNCEMENT:
"Out of respect for Coach Skinner he asked for 48 hours before we announced his firing, and with many job opportunities strung out, we gave him six days."
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ON SKINNER:
"We have great great respect for Al. He had a lot of great seasons at BC . . . Skinner stands for all that's good in college athletics . . . A lot of thing you look at . . . interactions betweens fans and players, how many people are in stands. How many people have been at the same institution for 13 years?"

ON THE NEXT COACH:
"Our goal now is to find a coach who shares a vision with BC basketball . . . We want to be very competetive, we want a coach that's going to play very competitive basketball, we want a team that's going to give everything while out on that floor, and we want a coach to recruit outstanding young men in the classroom."

IF THE LOSS TO VIRGINIA IN THE ACC TOURNAMENT WAS THE LAST STRAW:
"No . . . You look at whole body of work . . . I needed the time to think what's the best way I can get the basketball prgram to where it needs to be. These decisions are never easy because of all involved."

ON SKINNER'S INTERVIEW AT ST. JOHN'S:
"I said both parties very forthcoming with information. St. John's knew he had been fired by BC; Al told them, and so did I. We have to be truthful and we kept Al in that position because it had not gone public."
ON KEEPING IT A SECRET:
"It would have been a whole lot easier for me to say we were going to have a press conference on Thursday. As AD, you have to take the beating. Would I do it again the same way? Yes, I would."

IF RECRUITING WILL BE A PROBLEM:
"No, not really. We have had some terrific assistants that went off and got great jobs. It was nothing new at BC because we have had great players before."

ON TALKING TO THE TEAM:
"I have not yet. Skinner will address the team and then I will talk to them. Similar to football. I ask them to be patient."

IF THERE'S A TIMETABLE TO HIRE A NEW COACH:
"No timetable. Most of our students are taking off tomorrow, that gives us some time. I don't think there are other comperable jobs out there. If it takes us a while, so be it. We take as much time as we need to get right person."

ON THE FANS:
"I certainly don't expect everyone to agree with every decision we make. Decision we make are institutional. I don't just go out and do anything I want, but any decision we make has my recommendations."

Brady throws well in return to practice; Sheard back for warm-up period

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Brady throws well in return to practice; Sheard back for warm-up period

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady spent part of Tuesday's practice, his first since Wednesday of last week, showing Patriots football reseach director Ernie Adams exactly how he pierced his thumb with a pair of scissors leading up to the Patriots-Bears preseason game. 

After that, during the media availability portion of the team's practice, Brady appeared to throw accurately and with good velocity without any sort of bandage or wrap on his injured thumb. 

Brady was excused from Sunday and Monday's practices for non injury-related reasons. When asked about his absences during a press conference before Tuesday's practice, Brady replied, "I just had to take care of something. It's good to be back with the team. I missed everybody."

Another notable returnee to the practice field was defensive end Jabaal Sheard, who according to the Boston Herald is dealing with a sprained MCL. Sheard warmed up with the Patriots but then headed to a lower field -- along with Tre' Jackson (on the physically unable to perform list), Danny Amendola (also on PUP), Rob Ninkovich (torn triceps), Malcolm Mitchell (dislocated elbow) and Shea McClellin -- in order to do some conditioning. 

Sheard was injured during New England's preseason opener against the Saints and had not been seen on the practice field until Tuesday. Sheard has been present in the Patriots locker room recently and moving without any apparent limp. 

Patriots safety Patrick Chung was also on the field and participating after missing the start of Monday's practice. 

Shaq Mason, Jonathan Cooper, Rob Gronkowski, Alan Branch, Sebastian Vollmer and Dion Lewis were not spotted Tuesday: Lewis and Vollmer are still on PUP and will not be ready for the start of the regular season; Branch has been suspended by the Patriots since before the Bears preseason game; Mason (hand) and Cooper (foot) are dealing with injuries; Gronkowski has not practiced since suffering an injury against the Bears in a practice last week, but he was spotted walking through the locker room on Tuesday trying to catch his breath and sweating. 

Tuesday, Aug. 23: What about NHLers in Olympics?

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Tuesday, Aug. 23: What about NHLers in Olympics?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while appreciating all the birthday wishes I got yesterday while turning 42 years old.

*With the World Cup of Hockey around the corner, there is still a decision pending on NHL players participating in the Olympics.

*With the Winnipeg Jets and Jacob Trouba still unable to agree on a contract extension, some are wondering about comparable contracts for the young D-man.

*In the strict interest of self-promotion, here’s my radio hit with Pete Sheppard and Jimmy Murphy on the Bruins from Monday afternoon.

*Marek Zidlicky is still a free agent option for teams seeking a cheap solution on their back end.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has the Ottawa Senators and Cody Ceci agreeing on a two-year contract extension after a summer without a deal.

*The Minnesota Wild do the right thing and officially change their goal song to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” for next season.

*For something completely different: there will be a "Hamilton" documentary and the question will be whether I see that before I see the actual play.