Coaching Candidates And Other News

I’ll start with a look around the internet for the up to date news on Coach Toot Cahoon’s departure from UMass and the subsequent coaching search.

Joe Meloni of College Hockey News put together his list of potential coaching candidates for the UMass job which matches what he contributed to my post last night.

The Boston Herald had an interesting article on yesterday’s events.  First, it sounds like Toot plans on retiring from hockey and will likely be staying in the area.  The quotes from McCutcheon are strange because he basically makes it sound like the decision was based on wins and losses, but last I checked Toot had the same record in the middle of March when the season ended as he had at the beginning of this week.  Lastly, John Connolly mentions some potential candidates, some we heard yesterday but some we haven’t yet such as former UMass assistant Bill Gilligan, former UMass assistant Red Gendron, former Boston University assistant Dave Quinn, former Northeastern coach Greg Cronin, and Paul Pearl of Holy Cross.  Some of these are likely legitimate options but others seem like Connolly just throwing names against the wall.

NESN interviewed Jon Quick on the eve of tonight’s NHL Awards in Las Vegas.  Quick talks about his time at UMass, Cahoon’s influence and departure from UMass, former goaltending coach Jim Stewart, and what he plans to do with the Stanley Cup.  One thing is for certain, whatever chance there was of Quick bringing the Cup to Amherst decreased significantly with this week’s events.

Henrik Lundqvist beat out Quick for the Vezina Trophy.

Chris Hall, who has spent the last two years as the team’s Graduate Assistant/Director of Hockey Operations and recent received a Masters degree from UMass, wrote this heartfelt tribute to Toot on his blog.  Again, just another young man whom Toot helped prepare for bigger and better things away from Amherst.  From the sounds of it it appears those bigger and better things for Hall may come in the form of an assistant coaching position with Blaise MacDonald at Colby.  Though he’s been with the program for a couple years I hadn’t had a chance to meet and talk with Hall until recent weeks.  I must say I was very impressed by him and foresee a successful coaching career in his future.  Who knows, maybe that future will bring him back to the Mullins Center.  Darren Yopyk, considered by many to be the early leading candidate to replace Toot, got his start as a Grad Assistant at UMass.  Chris, good luck in the next step of your career and thanks for your all your hard work for UMass hockey.

Not all of today’s UMass hockey news had to do with outgoing or incoming coaches.

Conor Allen, Emerson Auvenshine, Kevin Czepiel, Peter DeAngelo, Branden Gracel, Joel Hanley, Steve Mastalerz, Mike Pereira, Jeff Teglia, and Oleg Yevenko were all named to the Hockey East All-Academic Team today.  Teglia had the highest GPA among all Hockey East goaltenders.  Congrats to all!

Also on the academic front APR scores, used by the NCAA to measure academic progress among schools, were released today for the 2010-11 season.  UMass hockey received a score of 988, its highest since the APR came into existence.  Their score was good for 4th among Hockey East schools with only UNH, BU, and Maine scoring higher.  It also put the hockey team 9th best out of the 21 teams on the UMass campus.  Again an excellent example of the type of legacy Toot Cahoon leaves here at UMass.

In non-UMass news, UConn is one step closer to joining Hockey East for the 2013-14 season.

Now, to answer some questions I’ve gotten through the blog and the rest of the FTT social media empire.

Do you think UMass will lose any current players or committed recruits as a result of this transition?

Yes.  That’s not based on any real information I’ve gotten, but these type of things always result in some kind of turnover.  I was already thinking there would be names missing from the roster this fall just because of the size of the roster and depth at some of the positions.  Now which players/recruits could the team lose?  I have no idea.  The handful of players that tweeted their reactions yesterday were very much about the team, hard work, and doing what it takes to win.  I didn’t see any complaints or anything remotely negative.

Who would you like to see chosen for the position?

It’s still early in the process and there could be candidates out there that I’m not yet aware of who when they come into play will top my list.  But of the names rumored so far, and with it appearing that contractual obstacles will prevent Mark Dennehy from being considered, I would say Yopyk is my early pick.  He has a degree from UMass and spent two years here as a Grad Assistant.  He was an assistant at Merrimack for four years and helped recruit and develop many of the players that led that program to new heights.  From there he was a successful head coach in one of the better junior leagues on the continent.  Last year it’s rumored he had the head coaching job at his alma mater, Princeton, wrapped up until he ran into immigration issues (since resolved).  On top of all that he has the support of Stoney from the Hangar which, in my eyes, puts him over the top.

So what REALLY happened behind the scenes that resulted in this change?

Pretty much all I know I’ve either relayed already, wrote about in my post last week about the radio deal, or linked to stories that covered a lot of what I’ve heard behind the scenes.  Honestly, this whole thing happened so fast I’m not sure the whole story will ever totally make it out to the public.

That’s all I have for now.  I’m going to be putting together a list and brief profile of all rumored coaching candidates and link to it at the top of the page where the schedule and recruiting pages are.  Look for that hopefully by the end of the night.

The Coaching Candidate page is now up and running.  Find the link at the top of the page. -FTT