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John Micheletto Introduced As Head Coach

So UMass made it official as Vermont assistant John Micheletto, or Coach Mick, became UMass third coach since the rebirth of the program and the 13th overall.  Micheletto was given a five year contract to lead the Minutemen for $221,000 per year.  It was a long and at times painful process to watch as a UMass fan but it feels good to finally have the chance to look ahead to next season and beyond with Micheletto at the helm of the program.  As I wrote last night, given the new coach’s extensive experience in Hockey East and beyond, his excellent reputation as someone who can recruit top notch players to programs not necessarily considered elite, and his ability to develop players in college and at USA Hockey, this has the potential to be a very good hire for UMass.

I did not attend today’s press conference, though I wish I had been able to, however here’s a recap of the coverage from those who were there.

First up is the official release from UMass, including quotes from Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon and the UVM President.  In today’s press conference AD John McCutcheon revealed that there were over 50 candidates for the position, 15 of which were interviewed.  Coach Micheletto did say he plans to keep current assistant coach Len Quesnelle on staff and will begin the search for the second assistant soon, but hasn’t spoken to anyone yet.

Secondly here is the video of today’s press conference.  It does include an edited portion of the Q&A period, which was inaudible during the live stream this afternoon.

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Here are various quotes from the coach in today’s proceedings:

“Let me first say how humbled I am to be as the 13th head coach at the University of Massachusetts.”

“When I started coaching in 1991, I could have never fathomed that my opportunity (to be a head coach) would come with such a highly-regarded institution and hockey program as Massachusetts.”

“I’m eager to build on the many positives that are in place with our program right now;  great young men with a desire to succeed and make UMass fans proud, a first-rate facility in the Mullins Center, a rabid fanbase, and a supportive administration”

“Culture, coaching, and recruiting are always keys to building a successful program.  We have strong veteran leadership on this year’s club, that will go a long way in developing our culture.”

“We will play hard.  We will play fast.  We will create on offense because we commit to defense.  We will be fun to watch.  And we will be tough to play against.”

“To our many fans, you’ve proven to be among the best in Hockey East.  We need you, your support, and your involvement to continue more strongly now than ever.”

“To hockey players in North America and around the world, find Amherst Massachusetts on your map and put a circle around it.  This is the place to be.  Go Minutemen.”

Here’s the blog post from UMass alum Jim Clark of the Boston Herald who covered the press conference.  I’ll post Clark’s actual story in a subsequent post after it becomes available.  I’m told the Globe did not have anyone in attendance.  Shocking.

Here’s Matt Vautour’s story from today in the Gazette.

Masslive’s Harry Plumer has an extensive article up from the press conference.

Nick Canelas covered the press conference for the Collegian.

Current UMass players on Twitter were overwhelming positive and seemed relived to be able to focus on hockey again.

I’m sure there will be more coverage from Micheletto’s appointment and as always I’ll pass it along when I can.  Overall I think this is a good day for UMass fans.  We finally have the chance to look ahead to hockey with the hope that comes from something completely unknown.  I’m sure no more than a few fans can say Coach Mick was their first choice when this process began, but that doesn’t mean we can’t all support him, and thus the team.  Since it is mid-July we can actually look forward to the start of next season, ask “Is it October yet?”, and have that time be relatively close.  Just 88 days away.

Now that the coaching search is over and we can turn to a new chapter of Minuteman hockey, I would like to address one more issue before we turn away from this page forever.  Through the last four weeks, starting when Toot Cahoon stepped down among reports of lack of support, I have done my best to provide FTT readers with timely and accurate information regarding their UMass hockey team.  I do not claim to be a journalist, but I can assure you that I relied heavily on news reported by legitimate and respect media sources.  When I reported original news relating to the recent events, I only did so when I was able to confirm that information through other channels or was relayed information through very trusted sources.  Despite this I have been accused by friends and strangers alike, publicly and in private, of spreading false information.  This is untrue.  I’ve worked extremely hard over the last few weeks to make sure that UMass hockey fans were as informed as possible to what was going on with their team.  I believe I did that and stand by everything I reported.

It has also been suggested that the very existence of Fear The Triangle exacerbated the the public relations nightmare that UMass hockey went through during this process.  That’s not the case.  The most damaging events, reports of offers to coaches and their subsequent refusals, were never first reported by FTT.  Though I may have known of such events, I never reported them on FTT until they were reported by true media organizations.  The only news ever revealed on FTT was that of interviews and prospective candidates.  Maybe I did relay a lot of bad news coming from the search that did not paint UMass or those involved in the search in a good light, but FTT was created to be a central source for all news relating to the program, not just the good stuff.  Damaging coverage was not of my making.

Lastly, I’ve been accused, again by friends and strangers alike, of having some kind of agenda against John McCutcheon or the athletic department.  This is false.  My agenda is for UMass hockey to be successful.  That’s it.   Athletic directors will come and go, as will coaches.  But UMass hockey will still be here and I’ll be here as well, fiercely supporting it.  I did my best to further my pro-UMass hockey agenda and will continue to do what I can to make sure the program has what it needs to succeed at the highest levels, even if that means calling for better leadership at the cost of some of my existing relationships with people around the program.  Go UMass.

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27 Comments

  1. MassAttack

     /  July 16, 2012

    Rocks, you do a great job. Don’t let the naysayers get you down. I’m sure I speak for a lot of people when I say I appreciate everything you do for UMass hockey (and UMass in general). Keep calling them like you see them. This blog is a haven for all UMass fans. Keep up the good work!

    Like

    • Thanks. That’s exactly what I want this place to be.

      Like

    • Daniel

       /  July 16, 2012

      I second everything MassAttack had to say don’t let the naysayers get to you. Sometimes the truth hurts, but thank you for reporting it.

      Like

  2. Anonymous

     /  July 16, 2012

    Thank You Rocks for everything you do , keep up the good work in keeping fans and parents up to date .. I wonder who went to who first ?

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  3. Mark – everything I saw you do was totally above board and I loved being able to follow the saga on FTT. As for complaints that FTT exacerbated the search PR fiasco, give me a break. As a former daily newspaper reporter, I appreciate what blogging brings to the mix. Good blogs help keep people honest and shine a spotlight on issues that need to be exposed. You might have been a little hard on the AD, but he is paid the big bucks and I am sure he can take it.

    Like

  4. Thanks everyone. Really appreciate the support. But I didn’t mean for this post to be about FTT. What’s everyone’s thoughts on Coach Micheletto?

    Like

  5. Expos

     /  July 16, 2012

    Critics? Who cares? They are always chirping. Stay focused on your mission, be honest, and continue to deliver a quality blog. Keep up the pretty good work 🙂

    Like

  6. ICEWEST

     /  July 16, 2012

    Your honest reporting has been great. It is clear to me that you’re dedicated to straight forward reporting and UMASS Hockey. I’ve enjoyed the back and forth. Hopefully now with the decision, you can start talking about Ass’t Coaches, Team Captains, preseason reports etc.

    Like

  7. Will

     /  July 16, 2012

    There are plenty of us who stay silent while reading every one of your posts, Rocks, but we read this blog for a reason– it is the best source for umass hockey news/updates/thoughts by a true umass fan. Keep up the good work.

    I wish I could give my insight on the new hire, but I know nothing about the new coach. I will say, however, that without over-analyzing qualifications, history, and other factors, hiring an assistant coach from a program many of us think we are better than does not seem like an immediate improvement. Despite this simple analysis, I think we needed a change and am more than willing to take a risk to try to rise from mediocrity.

    Like

  8. Chris

     /  July 16, 2012

    I like what I see in credentials from Coach Mick. Now its time to find out on the ice and in the recruiting wars.

    Like

  9. transrapide

     /  July 16, 2012

    Rocks, you do a great job. I always checked in with your blog to follow the soap opera that became the search. You do nothing but great work keeping the interest of UMass hockey alive. Thank you!

    Like

  10. Anonymous

     /  July 17, 2012

    rocks – tremendous job- your dedication to your school should be applauded…
    umass will be at the fleetcenter march 2013 and you will be in your glory

    Like

  11. I wish the AD and administration cared as much about UMass Hockey as you do. Keep up the good work and dont let anyone derail you from providing info, good and bad, about our team.

    Like

  12. Anonymous

     /  July 17, 2012

    I know this has already been said, but love how this team is coming together.

    Unreal junior class and the four seniors all seem like quality leaders.

    BIG THINGS THIS YEAR!

    or please just be consistent.

    Like

  13. Tony

     /  July 17, 2012

    Not surprising that The Globe didn’t attend the press conference – I like to think they’re right behing the Hartford Courant in worshiping at the UCon altar!

    Like

  14. Anonymous

     /  July 17, 2012

    screw the globe
    go umass

    Like

  15. Stan

     /  July 17, 2012

    Just to put a little bit of realistic perspective on this hire. The 2011 UVM Hockey Senior Class was the last class that was not recruited by John Micheletto. The UVM power play and PK were in the bottom 10 two years in a row. UVM had a multitude of character issues with its recruits. Lets support him but take a little “buyer beware” here too. He is a nice guy but nice guys don’t win in this league. I am very very skeptical but will do my best to be open minded.

    Like

  16. Anonymous

     /  July 17, 2012

    We have 25 guys returning from last year. All of our current players have played big minutes for the last 2 or 3 years. The biggest thing for Coach Michelleto is to motivate this team. The talent is there. Maine, providence, northeastern, merrimack and UNH have lost a lot. We have most of our team back. Lets slug it out with BC and BU. We beat them last year and we will do it again. I cant tell you how excited i am for October 12. This group is very close they are like a family. I see big things this year. Go Umass.

    Like

  17. Anonymous

     /  July 17, 2012

    Lets move forward ,, who’s going to be the 2nd assistant , who’s going to be the team captains ? Maybe this team this year will have a few things to show HE , lets hope so

    Like

    • Starting to hear some rumors about prospective assistants. I’ll share them when I can find out more. The captains thing is totally up in the air now that we have a new coach who has only seen these guys three times a season. I’m sticking with my guess that it’ll be some combination of Rocco Carzo, Joel Hanley, and Mike Pereira.

      Like

  18. Mark you do an excellent job reporting the news and only the facts. I commend you for work, honesty and integrity. Mark I hope you do not pay attention to the people who are criticizing you. Mark do not deserve it and everything you report and write are above board. Mark you are a great and tremendous advocate, supporter, and fan of UMass Hockey. Mark please keep up the good work. Go UMass Minutemen!

    Like

  19. Kieron

     /  July 18, 2012

    Mark, Great job as always. People that know you (and share information with you) know that you’ve been fair and if some take you to task, then perhaps you’re doing something right by neither pandering to the program or pulling an “Ainsworth”.

    Like

    • Thanks everyone. Again, this is meant to be a blog for the fans, by a fan. So I’m glad everyone enjoys the coverage.

      Like

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