UMaine Releases the Search Party

Roughly one week ago, the University of Maine fired their long-time head coach, Tim Whitehead.  The decision came after a dramatic downfall in performance from the previous year, as Maine went from making the NCAA tourney to only managing to win 11 games this year.
"This is about the future of our marquee program," UMaine Athletic Director Steve Abbott said.  "Since 2008, UMaine has experienced declining Hockey East success, season ticket sales and overall ticket revenues, and waning student engagement in men's ice hockey. The President and I are committed to ensuring that our Men's Hockey Program is financially sustainable, continues to focus on developing the student-athlete and is known nationally for excellence."

 But those two years were not the deciding factor alone.  Maine has seen sub-par results from Whitehead during his resent years.  In the six seasons, Whitehead has only managed to get his team to the NCAA tournament once, falling in the first round to Minnesota-Duluth.

Whitehead had a large amount of success early, but failed to carry with him through the duration of his career.  Taking a look at his track record, it looks as though the interest was lost as time progressed.  As difficult as the decision was for Whitehead, he still managed to thank the University for the years  they've given him.
"The Maine hockey fans are the best in the country, and they have a lot to look forward to for next season and beyond," Whitehead said. "I love our returning core of players and our incoming recruits. I'm confident this team will build on our strong second half this season, and that they will compete among the top programs in the nation next year."
Maine announced that they are currently putting together a search committee in attempt to replace Whitehead.  A couple of canidates come to to mind when pondering the subject, but I thought that the new Denver Pioneer coach, Jim Montgomery, would for sure be Whitehead's replacement, and I was wrong.

George Gwozdecky, 59, expressed interest in succeeding Whitehead earlier this week.  The former Denver Pioneer head coach has quite the resume, expressing 17 20-win seasons the 24 years.
“At this point, I’d be interested in every job," said Gwozdecky.  "I want to continue coaching and I would be foolish to close a door on anything."
Gwozdecky expressed that although he would love the job as head coach at Maine, there are many canidates that have roots already dug into the soil in Orono.   Current AHL head coach and former Maine skater Scott Pellerin, Maine associate coach Dan Kerluke, and Maine associative coach Bob Corkum are all supposedly high on Maine's list.

Pellerin spent four years as an all-star forward for Maine, scoring 223 points and winning the Hobey Baker award during his collegiate years.  After college, Pellerin spent 11 years as a professional hockey player, even wearing a Minnesota Wild sweater in 2000 for 58 games.  After spending six years as an assistant coach for the AHL's Manchester Monarchs, Pellerin has finally the coach of his own team, the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Bob Corkum has been named interim head coach at Maine until a decision is finalized, but don't count him out as a possibility just yet.
"Bob Corkum was a great Black Bear and NHL player," said Abbott. "He did a terrific job as an associate head coach and I am confident that he can give us stability during this time of transition."
Corkum spent four years as a college hockey player with Maine, tallying 142 points in the process before heading to the NHL.  After more than 10 years as a proffessional hockey player, Corkum found his way back to Maine and began his career as an associative coach with Whitehead.
"I have fond memories of my time here as a players and a coach," said Corkum. "My mission as coach is to give our student-athletes the same experience I had during my four years here at the University of Maine."
Other possibilites to fill Whitehead's shoes would be long-time Boston College associative coach Mike Cavanaugh and Greg Brown, Boston University associative coach Mike Bavis, Former Maine goalie and current New Hampshire associative coach Jim Tortorella and former Maine assistant coach Greg Cronin.

As there are many fine coaches that would look to fit perfect with the University, Maine has a tough decision ahead, but promises to find the perfect match.
“Hockey is critically important to this university, not just to the athletics department but to the entire school,” said Abbott. “We are looking for a coach who can get us back in a position where we’re competing for Hockey East championships and national championships. That, more than anything else, is going to be the guiding factor as we go through the candidates."


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