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Field narrows for BC basketball job

After Harvard coach Tommy Amaker removed himself from consideration last Saturday, the field of candidates for Boston College’s men’s basketball coaching job was narrowed further Tuesday when Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins and St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt were taken out of the running, according to sources familiar with the search.

Hopkins, 44, a native of Laguna Hills, Calif., and a former Syracuse player who has served the last 19 seasons at his alma mater as an assistant/coach-in-waiting to Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, interviewed in Boston over the weekend but returned home without an offer, according to the sources.

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Schmidt, 51, a 1985 BC alumnus and native of North Attleboro, was the first to be interviewed last week. Schmidt has gone 106-110 the last seven seasons at St. Bonaventure, where he was awarded a seven-year contract extension in 2012 after guiding the Bonnies to a 20-12 record, an Atlantic 10 championship, and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

With Hopkins and Schmidt out of the mix, BC is focused on Ohio coach Jim Christian, 49, who played two seasons (1983-85) at Boston University for Rick Pitino before transferring to Rhode Island, where he played two seasons (1986-88) under Tom Penders.

It remained unclear whether Christian, who is 49-42 in two seasons at Ohio with postseason bids to the NIT and the CIT this season after going 25-12, had emerged as solid frontrunner after BC’s search expanded to include another potential candidate: First-year Florida Gulf Coast University coach Joe Dooley, 48, who spent the 10 previous seasons as an assistant on Bill Self’s staff at Kansas, where Dooley was regarded as a strong recruiter.

Dooley, who previously served as a head coach at East Carolina where he was 57-52 in four seasons (1995-96 to 1998-99), went 22-13 in his first season at Florida Gulf Coast, guiding the Eagles to a 14-4 record in the Atlantic Sun and an NIT bid.

Michael Vega can be reached at
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