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Micheletto To UMass; Reports and FTT Opinion

So here are the different reports of Vermont Associate Head Coach John Micheletto heading to Amherst as the next UMass coach.

Matt Vautour of the Gazette was the first to report the news.

It was later confirmed by others including Section U’s own Jim Clark who confirmed the news in the Boston Herald.

The news was also reported by College Hockey News as well as the Collegian’s Nick Canelas.

Edit: Micheletto will be introduced at a 4pm Press Conference later today. -MC

I wasn’t planning on registering my opinion until the it became official. However, I have also been able to confirm the news through my own sources, so I might as well weigh in on the news myself.

I’ll admit that when Toot Cahoon stepped down nearly four weeks ago, Micheletto was not on the top of my list. Well, he wasn’t on my radar. OK, he wasn’t really even a recognizable name to me at the time. But I did know there were three things I wanted out of a candidate. Hockey East experience in some capacity. Experience as an assistant recruiting to a school of similar prestige as UMass (i.e. not a Boston College where you’re picking recruits instead of them picking you). And head coaching experience at some level, likely junior. Those three things led me to three top candidates; Merrimack’s Mark Dennehy who I think we all knew was a longshot at best, former UMass Graduate Assistant and Merrimack Assistant Darren Yopyk, and Dubuque Head Coach Jim Montgomery. For various reasons, those three were not destined to become the UMass head coach. Along the way in the search we found the job offered (yes, offered) to current DI head coaches like Holy Cross’ Paul Peal and Quinnpiac’s Rand Pecknold. These were well respected guys who had have problems breaking through in their own leagues and I thought would could struggle in Hockey East. Cedar Rapids coach Mark Carlson was also a top candidate for the position and he possessed those three qualifications I was hoping for. In the end it ended up being John Micheletto

Micheletto has two of the the things I was looking for. He has been an assistant in Hockey East as long as Vermont has been in the league. As Associate Head Coach at Vermont he has experience recruiting to a school of similar prestige to UMass. And frankly, I’ve thought Vermont’s recruiting has been better than UMass’ in recent years, which makes me optimistic. Whether you’re talking about past stars like Viktor Stalberg or even guys like Zemgus Girgensons, who recently spurred the Catamounts this week to sign with the Sabres, the fact is that Vermont has been getting some very good recruits. Guys like Nick Luuko are players who Micheletto persuaded to chose Vermont directly over UMass. Minuteman fans will be careful not to be jaded by this hire by only looking at UVM’s last place finish this past year. Though the past two years have been abysmal, Vermont has made the NCAA tournament twice in the past five years, including the Frozen Four in 2009. In fact in some kind of irony I realized when I sat down to write this piece that I’d been wearing the t-shirt I bought at the Frozen Four in Washington featuring the Vermont logo. What UMass fans do have to be concerned about is that Micheletto’s last experience as a head coach came in prep school. He does bring to Amherst a lot of time working in USA Hockey however which lends to the hope that he can develop players at this level.

This is not the flashy hire that most of us hoped for. However, as the search went on and UMass fans grew ever more frustrated, it became clear that a flashy hire was never in the cards due to the limitations of the administration in charge of the search. But, in the end this still seems like someone who can potentially do well at UMass. There are a lot of positives to Micheletto and I’m willing to see how he’s able to do at UMass before completely passing judgment. We should get a pretty good feel from him early. While his strength may be recruiting he’ll walk into a solid core of players who leg UMass to some upset wins last year and seemed on the verge of something big this coming season. It’s up to Micheletto to step in and get the most out of those players. I think UMass fans were expecting to seem a successful season this year no matter who was coach given everything coming back. I don’t think, despite all that has transpired so far this offseason, we’ve seen anything to abandon that hope as of yet.

A bunch of T.J. Syner related news to pass along.

First, you can watch video of him at Capitals Development Camp here.

Capitals Outsider had this nice feature on him. Hershey Bear coach said he’s one of the quickest players he’s ever seen. UMass fans already know that.

The Patriot-News had this story on Syner and cousin and BC Eagle Barry Almeida at camp together.

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24 Comments

  1. George

     /  July 15, 2012

    As long as the person who has been the real headline (John McCutcheon) doesn’t pull a Kevin Morris and give Micheletto the farm, I, too, will keep an open mind. Let us not forget the last month and what McCutcheon did, or didn’t do. Even if we got a guy that makes half the splash Norm Bazin did last season, McCutcheon , did irreversible damage to the reputation of this program.
    Now dimwit, go out and find us an outlet we can listen to these games on if you haven’t already.
    Sorry Rocks, but I cannot erase a month’s worth of frustration with this hiring, even if he is HALFWAY good. I hate to see my team get publicly shredded the way it did over the past 4 weeks.

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    • George, I agree with everything you say. Even if McCutcheon stubmles into a good hire, I think he’s pretty much shown us hockey fans just how much we can believe in him to bring the program to the level we’d like to see it at. Bungled even before Toot stepped down.

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  2. big shot

     /  July 16, 2012

    what a bunch of babies,always squaking. If Toot got run last year most would be saying how unfair it was.Players play and coaches coach,Umass gives them much more than Merrimack, Ulowell to name a few,unfortunately the players and the coaches got wiped out by them,I guess you will blame the AD for that. All the while these other scools had little or zero radio coverage-get over the fact that WEEI did not want hockey,umass will find another home,give them time or god forbid a little dough to help the program out. Good luck to the new coach, you have my full support.

    Like

    • I’ve noticed you’re very quick to criticize other posters. Tell me, just how much do you give to the program Bob since everyone else gives so little?

      Like

  3. Anonymous

     /  July 16, 2012

    wonder how many of these comments are from pond club members…or even donate any yearly funds to the athletic department specifically for hockey….

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    • what does that have to do with anything? Only those who have the ability to donate money are worthy of comment? Give me a break. If we’re all here in July reading and commenting about hockey then we’re all fans who care about the school and team.

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      • Tony

         /  July 16, 2012

        Well, yeah, this is true … but the bottom line is that money talks and everything else walks. Going to games and paying at the door is one thing, but putting a few bocks in the kitty, be it as a member of UMassAthletics or as a season ticket holder is a whole different thing.

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  4. phil

     /  July 16, 2012

    one of the keys to Toot’s early success was his assistant coaches Bill Gilligan and Mark Dennehy. Will be interesting to see who he brings in.

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  5. Anonymous

     /  July 16, 2012

    Micheletto did not recruit Stalberg. And the team made it to the Frozen four for the same reason that UMass made it to the NCAA…they had a goalie! Top end players use Vermont the way JOhn Carlson used UMass — commit to the program to get more dollars out of your major junior team – and the schools are not comparable —- at UVM hockey is king – if you really want a look at what is happening up at Vermont these days then read this clip from the Burlington Free Press…

    The Micheletto decision is the latest in a series of situations to arise during a busy off-season for the Catamount hockey program. Highly touted recruit Anthony DeLuca of Quebec reneged on his commitment to sign with a Canadian major junior team. Former UVM forward Justin Milo has brought a law suit against Sneddon and the university over his dismissal from the team two years ago. Leading scorer Sebastian Stalberg decided to forego his senior season to sign with the San Jose Sharks. Friday, the team’s top recruit for the upcoming season, NHL first-round draft pick Zemgus Girgensons, accepted a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks.

    Couldn’t been too hard to lure this guy out of Burlington….

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    • “Anyway, after Sneddon did a little more research on Stålberg, he decided to send associate head coach John Micheletto to scout Stålberg for about a week in December 2005.”

      http://insidecollegehockey.com/inch/2009/02/19/coming-to-america-how-stalberg-rose-from-the-unknown/

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      • Anonymous

         /  July 16, 2012

        rocks – he saw him play and verified that he was a good player – he didn’t “recruit” Stalberg – Just as it says in that piece no one wanted him and he reached out to vermont first. when they gave him an offer he accepted right away. give the kid credit for sticking to his commitment after everyone else came calling . Vermont returns 53 goals next season. the offensively challenged minutemen return 83. So how good is the recruiting at Vermont?

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  6. As with all coaching moves, it all comes down to one thing. Winning. If he wins, then all is good. If we continue to struggle and be first round exits then once again our AD made a bad decision.

    I wish Micheletto and the players the best of luck and look forward to the upcoming season.

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  7. Tony

     /  July 16, 2012

    OK – AT LEAST WE HAVE A COACH – NOW WHEN WILL SEASON TIX BE PUT UP FOR SALE? AFTER 40+ YEARS OF SEASON FOOTBALL TIX, I HAVE TO ADMIT I DON’T KNOW DIRECTIONS TO ANYWHERE BUT AMHERST!

    Like

    • My guess is they were not going to release the schedule (and thus sell season tix) while they were going through the coaching search. Look for the schedule to be released soon.

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      • Tony

         /  July 16, 2012

        As I figured — sometimes the UMASS tix ofice is as lame as the AD!

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  8. Anonymous

     /  July 16, 2012

    Ok – right off the bat with these two – they webcast a press conference – but the Q&A session is not audible since the two Mr. M’s decide not to use the microphone during the process. Unbelievable.

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  9. Anonymous

     /  July 16, 2012

    So it starts with the camera showing dozens of empty seats – need any further proof that the administration could care less about the team – how do you not send out a memo in the athletic dept. saying “all hands on deck” – then Sinnett mispronounces his name. Then they don’t mic the Q&A – why has the hockey program suddenly reverted to amateur hour? and coach – “get out your map and circle Amherst” – that is a little insulting to the group of guys (including your new asst. coach and a goalie that just won the STANLEY CUP) who have been spreading the word about this hockey program since inception –

    Like

    • ICEWEST

       /  July 16, 2012

      I actually like the “circle Amherst” line. I’m sure it was meant more as a confident salvo than a geography lesson. This is his team now and he started off with confident words. What more do you want in a new coach?The press conference was a little amateurish, but given the late date they decided to remove Cahoon, and the rudderless process of the search itself, what were you expecting? How many more media do you think would have shown up with more notice? This isn’t Notre Dame football.

      There are some very good players on this team, who, given the confidence and proper coaching, can compete with anyone. Give them and the new coach a chance.

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      • Agreed. I like the circle Amherst line. Obviously players present and past helped get UMass in the national discussion before but lack of consistency has made it tough to keep them “on the map” of big time college hockey. I think that’s what Micheletto was getting at.

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  10. Anonymous

     /  July 16, 2012

    No one is questioning the fact that there are good players on this team – not sure where in the hell you have been the last three months. To your question “What more do we want in a new coach” – to be able to hear what he has to say the very first time he speaks on campus. Goddamn I can’t stand ignorance.

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    • ICEWEST

       /  July 16, 2012

      Anonymous – You obviously either didn’t get my points or just disagreed with them, which is fine. My point about the presence of “very good players” was simply identifying that as one of the positive building blocks moving forward; I didn’t think anyone was “questioning” that there are good players. I thought Micheletto presented himself well. You didn’t. Obviously the press conference wasn’t perfect but it’s over. Move forward. No one wants to continue to hear rambling negative nonsense. It’s time to support the new coach and the program.

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      • Anonymous

         /  July 17, 2012

        lets move forward ! Now , who do you think is going to be the 2nd assistant now ? Any ideas who the captains are going to be ?

        Like

  1. John Micheletto Introduced As Head Coach « Fear The Triangle – UMass Hockey Blog
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