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JB
03-30-2010, 11:10 AM
I try to look at this problem from a view point of what is right from the program. What I would do if I had the power...

1) Keep Umile as head coach. He has earned it. However, there needs to be an understanding of when he plans to retire and a succession plan put in place.

2) Churn the staff below Umile. I don't know either Borek or Lassonde but I donít see them as successor. I have asked them questions and have impression about how wonderful they are as people. To me this is not about them but about the program. UNH needs one of the assistants to be a young coach, to groom. There are former (Umile) players out there that could be an assistant. There are some choices, but you might not hit it the first time so the plan needs to start sooner than later. I personally would leave Foley where he is and probably go after Walsh in Bow. That to me potentially adds an iron to the fire in Walsh while leaving one already there Foley. Also Walsh's bow kids note they won the title this year for him, where he says it is all about the kids; that is the right kind of guy.

3) I don't know who would be replaced but as Walsh would be my target and the other targets I can think of were forwards that leaves Borek odd man out.

4) With proper planning this would not be huge issue, could happen next off season for example - all depends on Umile's time line.

I donít take a manís job lightly but if I am the ďGMĒ evaluating the program it is what I would do.

I agree with Chuck and hope Umile has already considered it. There needs to be a plan in place so the train doesnít come off the tracks. Holt had it steaming along but as he aged, he was unable to hold it together. Umile had to put the train back together then get it on the tracks after it crashed. I hope there has been thoughts on how to keep it moving.

acs64
03-30-2010, 11:13 AM
Oh the irony. Sumbuddy named Walsh coaching at UHN. Do it! :D:D:D

Slasher7
03-30-2010, 11:17 AM
I try to look at this problem from a view point of what is right from the program. What I would do if I had the power...

1) Keep Umile as head coach. He has earned it. However, there needs to be an understanding of when he plans to retire and a succession plan put in place.

2) Churn the staff below Umile. I don't know either Borek or Lassonde but I donít see them as successor. I have asked them questions and have impression about how wonderful they are as people. To me this is not about them but about the program. UNH needs one of the assistants to be a young coach, to groom. There are former (Umile) players out there that could be an assistant. There are some choices, but you might not hit it the first time so the plan needs to start sooner than later. I personally would leave Foley where he is and probably go after Walsh in Bow. That to me potentially adds an iron to the fire in Walsh while leaving one already there Foley. Also Walsh's bow kids note they won the title this year for him, where he says it is all about the kids; that is the right kind of guy.

3) I don't know who would be replaced but as Walsh would be my target and the other targets I can think of were forwards that leaves Borek odd man out.

4) With proper planning this would not be huge issue, could happen next off season for example - all depends on Umile's time line.

I donít take a manís job lightly but if I am the ďGMĒ evaluating the program it is what I would do.

I agree with Chuck and hope Umile has already considered it. There needs to be a plan in place so the train doesnít come off the tracks. Holt had it steaming along but as he aged, he was unable to hold it together. Umile had to put the train back together then get it on the tracks after it crashed. I hope there has been thoughts on how to keep it moving.

Umile also has an ego, borderline arrogant, so I wouldn't assume he's even thought about any sort of replacement plan.

e.cat
03-30-2010, 11:35 AM
Dear Coach Umile:

It is very much with mixed feelings that I've decided to write to you in this manner, and I truly hope that you take my thoughts with good grace and an even temperament. As a long-standing UNH Hockey fan and supporter going back almost 35 years now, I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly, and I can say without qualification that no one has been more responsible for the good moments than you. And that's no small accomplishment, as you've had to eclipse the Hall of Fame career your former coach and long-time mentor Charlie Holt to make that claim ... although I know you'd never make such a claim, given your modesty and your great reverence for Coach Holt. But as unlikely as that all may have seemed to have been when you first took the head job at UNH just over 20 years under less-than-ideal circumstances, it is now very much a reality, and ALL UNH Hockey fans owe you a great debt for all you have done to first restore the UNH program to the heights attained by Coach Holt, and in fact eventually surpass your great mentor's achievements.

You've earned the right to call your shots, and although some would call for your unceremonial dismissal from the program and institution that owes you so much ... I'm not going to be one of those folks. As someone who's been involved in coaching over 700 games in the last decade, and coached both teams that have experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat in their last games of the season in tournament competition, I can at least begin to appreciate the amount of hard work and dedication required to have had the impact on your program that you've undeniably had.

I'm sure you would agree that some of the most important lessons any coach can stem from adversity, and when things don't turn out the way you'd like them to. You were already well on your way towards the top when your health became an issue in the late '90's. But you adjusted and overcame those problems, and took UNH to the next level in the years that followed. And after coming oh-so-close in '99, you made some other adjustments to take UNH to the pinnacle of its long hockey history in the '02-'03 seasons.

The years that have followed have hardly been a fall from grace ... but it's admittedly been a stretch where your teams have seemingly fallen back from the edge of glory that you had consistently gotten them to on either side of the millennium. There have been several "false dawns" that ended badly in the final game of the season, and the hope and faith placed in you and your teams by the UNH faithful has gradually waned ... as you can sometimes see (and no doubt often hear) up in the stands, at the arena that someday may rightfully bear the names of you and your legendary mentor. Things have gone stale. You are not a self-centered and ego-driven man. You are not blind. You can see/feel the gradual backslide of your beloved program, and you want more than anything else to arrest that backslide.

You now have the opportunity to learn one final lesson from your mentor, and it's the lesson of the graceful transition to cap off a fabulous UNH career, and to ensure that the Holt-Umile legacy lives on in Durham for generations to come. You know how the end of Coach Holt's UNH career saw a program fester at the bottom of Hockey East in its early years, and then struggle with tragic circumstances during Coach Kullen's all-too-brief UNH career. It took you almost a decade to rebuild things, but the school had seen enough of your promise to have invested in the Whittemore Center when you'd first begun to return the program to its former prominence. You've rewarded the university several times over for that faith and commitment to the program you'd put back on the map, and eventually took to its apex a few years ago.

You know that the program is badly in need of fresh blood and leadership, and you know that's the only piece that Coach Holt failed to successfully navigate. The best part is that the options are out there, and several were your most reliable and inspirational players in the "glory years". They are doing what you did after your UNH playing days ended ... whether it be as college assistants or high school head coaches, there are people out there that you know and love, and know you can trust, just as people who knew and trusted you eventually gave you a chance to succeed your mentor.

You have always been loyal to your assistants, and I know that setting up things for the future in a way that might not involve them causes you no shortage of consternation. At the end of the day, that might be the most difficult hurdle for you to negotiate here. But you can see as plain as the nose on your face that the talent that used to come to Durham isn't at the same level it's been for quite awhile. And you and your assistants aren't getting any younger. You know this is the best argument for "new blood".

And just as Coach Holt was always there for you after he stepped away from the limelight ... you can be there for your chosen successor(s). It can be a gradual transition - one that would allow you to re-assure yourself and your school that you've made the right choice(s), and one that would allow your would-be successor(s) not to have to dive in at the deep end - a luxury you certainly were not afforded when you took over 20 years ago.

In any case ... that you've earned the right to continue to be calling the shots for your beloved program is in my mind undeniable. UNH has shown unshakeable faith in you over the years, and all in all, that has been for the best of the program and the university. You have benefitted from that trust and faith, and you know you owe it to your beloved program not to allow it to backslide in the final years of your glorious career. Everything you've done at UNH has surpassed the accomplishments of your legendary mentor, and it only would be fitting for you to cap off an amazing legacy to the UNH program to succeed now in the only area where Coach Holt arguably failed.

You know this has to be done. Please do the right thing, Coach Umile. :)

Sincerely,

Chuck Murray
Self-appointed WIS President-for-Life
Long-time admirer of Coach Dick Umile

Well done and welcome back Mr. WIS President -for-Life.

Any self respecting, serious UNH hockey fan has doubts at this point about Umile getting over the hump and winning it all. But as that great sage and all things UNH hockey, Greg Ambrose, has said, Umile will leave on his own terms. Not that Ambrose has any more insight on these matters than anybody else but he's probably right.

I think the best we can hope for would be for Umile to bring in some young coach who could maybe beat the bushes and uncover those diamonds in the rough UNH hockey so desparately needs.

JB
03-30-2010, 11:40 AM
Oh the irony. Sumbuddy named Walsh coaching at UHN. Do it! :D:D:D

Didn't even cross my mind. Funny!


Umile also has an ego, borderline arrogant, so I wouldn't assume he's even thought about any sort of replacement plan.

Any well run (big) business does succession planning. I would hope the A.D. would do the same, particularly for the schools flagship program.

Then again look a Michigan football. Turns out in hind sight Lloyd Carr wasn't that bad. Then again that didn't appear from the outside to be a well planned succession but instead a "****" hire. The best well planned one I can think of was North Dakota - if memory serves Hakstol was on Blias's staff. UND may not have won a title under Hakstol but they havenít fallen apart and crashed either.

acs64
03-30-2010, 11:45 AM
I think the best we can hope for would be for Umile to bring in some young coach who could maybe beat the bushes and uncover those diamonds in the rough UNH hockey so desparately needs.

I'm sorry, but Standbrook is retired. And he's too old anyway.:p

e.cat
03-30-2010, 11:48 AM
I'm sorry, but Standbrook is retired. And he's too old anyway.:p

he was the best at it wasn't he?

hey, you guys did allright this year without him though;)

satyking
03-30-2010, 11:50 AM
Well, Umile lost his 100th game years ago (in fact, he's up to 234), so what does that have to do with anything?

Army did it in 6 years

Chuck Murray
03-30-2010, 12:14 PM
Oh the irony. Sumbuddy named Walsh coaching at UHN. Do it! :D:D:D

Now that my kid is a UNH student, we could definitely use a little bit of that good ol' "retroactive financial aid" Walshy pioneered up in the Downeast. :p


(signed) Chuck Murray
Self-appointed WIS president-for-life
Missing "Walshy" since circa 2001 :(

Jenna
03-30-2010, 12:31 PM
just wanted to say Hello Chuck

hope your well

- Jenna

Chuck Murray
03-30-2010, 01:27 PM
(3) Every kid who dreams of playing college hockey has an even bigger dream - to play professional hockey. As I've said in previous spring discussions, the successor to Coach Umile ought to have extensive experience living the dream of playing professional hockey. I would imagine that any potential recruit would look at UNH and recognize that they have a coach (assistant or head coach) who knows the ins/outs of making it to the pros - both the skills side and business side. Such a coach need not be someone who succeeded at the NHL level. In fact, someone with AHL and European Professional Hockey experience might bring a richer background.

TRIVIA QUESTION: How many current Hockey East head coaches have had past playing experience at either the NHL or AHL level? :confused:

rufus
03-30-2010, 01:47 PM
I couldn't tell if he wants Umile to step down or to shake up the coaching staff.

Bring in a new assistant, or more than one, with the intent on grooming one of them for the head job, and then step down in a few years.

Anyone particular in mind? Patrick Foley?

JB
03-30-2010, 02:11 PM
TRIVIA QUESTION: How many current Hockey East head coaches have had past playing experience at either the NHL or AHL level? :confused:

Parker = 0 - College Hockey @ BU graduated 67-68, Assistant Coach BU 69-70, Head Coach BU 73-74
York = 0 - College Hockey @ BC graduated 66-67. 2 years playing (USHL and NEnHL) 67-69, Assistant Coach Clarkson 70-71, Head Coach Clarkson 72-73
Umile = 0 - College Hockey @ UNH graduated 71-72, Assistant Coach PC 85-86, Head Coach UNH 90-91
Whitehead = 0 - College Hockey @ ?? graduated ??, Assistant Coach Maine 90-91, Head Coach UML 96-97
Cahoon = 0 - College Hockey @ BU graduated 71-72, EHL 1 year 72-73 (7 games), Assistant Coach BU 74-75, Head Coach Princeton 92-93
Dennehy = 0 - College Hockey @ BC graduated 90-91, BHL 1 year 91-92 (34 games), Assistant Coach UMA 95-96, Head Coach Fairfield 99-00
Cronin = 0 - College Hockey @ Colby graduated 85-86, Assistant Coach Maine 89-90, Head Coach Bridgeport AHL 03-04
Army = 1 year - College Hockey @ PC graduated 84-85, AHL 85-86 (68 games), Fin D1 86-87 (28 games) Assistant Coach PC 89-90, Head Coach Portland AHL 02-03
Sneddon = 0 - College Hockey @ Harvard graduated 91-92, Assistant Coach Union 94-95, Head Coach Union 98-99

I only put in the first year of each step up.

There is also the old axiom those who can't do teach. Not many former players at the AHL or NHL level I can think of that are coaching, not that I am amazingly versed in who is out there for assistants. Could be a selling point or more likely there is a reason for that...

Chuck Murray
03-30-2010, 02:12 PM
Bring in a new assistant, or more than one, with the intent on grooming one of them for the head job, and then step down in a few years.

Anyone particular in mind? Patrick Foley?

Three year captain at UNH, with a playing AND coaching background with USNDT, and currently a Harvard assistant. Makes for an impressive resume.

I also have a vague recollection of a print media item from earlier in his UNH career in which Coach Umile basically said something along the lines of "if you're in a foxhole battling on the front lines, (Foley) is the person you want with you." Throw in the fact that Foley's captaincy overlapped with some of the most successful seasons in UNH history, and I know I'm sold. :)

Question is (1) does Coach Umile see it the same way, and (2) IF he does, would Coach Foley be interested?? Let's face it, it's not like he's slogging it out at Plymouth State (with all due respect to PSU hockey alums) nowadays.

He wouldn't be the only possible candidate, but if there was such a thing as a potential UNH "short list" bouncing around in Coach Umile's mind (or Marty Scarano's doodle-notes) ... I'd hope someone of his caliber would be on it. :)

Rover
03-30-2010, 03:11 PM
From an outsider's perspective, I don't think you have another 5 years to go for him to groom an assistant. That should have already happened. I think he needs to go. I'll reiterate, if you're not going to fire him now, he's there for a long time and I just don't think he's earned lifetime employment. Its not like a Walshy situation where he built the program from its inception (or to use another sport, Bobby Bowden at FSU). Either the program aspires to win it all or it wants to be like the Bruins, decent but never taking the extra step.

A big problem now in Hockey East for any school is that your rivals don't take years off. BC is always good, BU usually, and there's generally one other team having a good year (Vermont last year, etc). Keep sliding and UNH will run the risk a lot of us BU fans had worried about, which is slipping out of the top 4 in the division. If Maine ever gets a decent facility, that'll make competition that much harder. I'm not sure just shuffling assistants gets it done IMHO.

Chuck Murray
03-30-2010, 03:13 PM
However, it seems clear he is being groomed to be the Head Coach at Harvard. His ties to the Boston area appear to be more deep-seeded (seated?) than any alliance to Durham.

His ties to the USNDT program appear to be attractive to talented kids with NHL dreams. Louis Leblanc, a #1 NHL draft pick, was a freshman this season at Harvard.

Does Teddy Donato have plans to move ahead elsewhere anytime soon that I've missed out on? :confused: I know I've been away from regular board duty, but I was unaware that Donato (who is not ALL that much older than Foley) was contemplating retirement, or a move to the pros anytime soon?

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/hockey/2009/01/02/2009-01-02_former_ranger_islander_ted_donato_contin.html

I know this is largely all guesswork and speculation to some degree by ALL of us - as noted in the text I highlighted in your quote - but I would like to think that the draw of possibly succeeding your personal mentor and former college head coach in a high profile D-1 job that also just so happens to be your alma mater isn't something that would be dismissed out of hand by Coach Foley IF it were offered??

I'm not saying he's necessarily the end-all, be-all choice here - not by a long shot, and it's great to see other names being bounced around (again, as I do realize) like Saviano, Mowers, Walsh (ack!) :eek: , etc.

But the UNH hockey program BADLY needs a serious shot in the arm ... the key is to get the right shot! :cool: When the same stuff keeps happening, and you just chalk it up to bad breaks, "puck luck", etc. it's akin to whistling past the graveyard, or an ostrich burying its head in the sand. No can do.

JB
03-30-2010, 03:21 PM
Coach Umile was an accomplished Division 1 hockey player for UNH. If he had graduated in 2002 instead of 1972, I suspect he would have spent some time playing in the AHL. No one would argue that he is an example of someone who couldn't play hockey well so he decided to coach.

You missed my point – although to be fair it wasn't clear.

There is a reason Foley is in coaching. He made a decision that he wasn't going to be career professional hockey player and to go a different way. At that point he decided to become a coach. It is a process to be a good coach. Most college head coaches these days make a bunch of stops on the way to that position.

Off the top of my head Enrico Blasi at Miami made the shortest trip of current college coaches. He graduated in 94 returned as an assistant at Denver 96-97 and got Miami's head job for 99-00. That would be like Foley being UNH's head coach this past year.

Use hockeydb and look up coaches some of their paths are very interesting - some the data is incomplete example Foley.

Those who can't do teach was a bit to derogatory for the point I was trying to make. My point is it generally takes years of coaching to make a coach, so those former players are years behind guys like Foley or a Tim Walsh (9-year head coach at Bow High).

I could be wrong but if UNH had an open assistant coach position, I think one call from Umile would land Foley.

irishfan85
03-30-2010, 03:23 PM
A couple things to consider
Does Foley like living around the Boston area as he is still quite young?
How often do college hockey assistants get forced out? This isn't college football.
Saviano and Collins are potentials as they had one of the classiest men going as their hs coach and played for UNH and are locals to north of Boston.

ChiefWahoo
03-30-2010, 03:37 PM
Coach Umile was an accomplished Division 1 hockey player for UNH. If he had graduated in 2002 instead of 1972, I suspect he would have spent some time playing in the AHL. No one would argue that he is an example of someone who couldn't play hockey well so he decided to coach.

In 1972 there were only 14 teams in the NHL. The WHL had 12 teams. The AHL had only had six teams. Also I think that was the year Ron Anderson was signed by the Bruins as the first college player signed by an NHL team. He didn't play in the NHL until he was claimed 2 years later by the Capitals in the expansion draft.

Chuck Murray
03-30-2010, 03:52 PM
A couple things to consider
Does Foley like living around the Boston area as he is still quite young?


It's about an hour from the Tobin Bridge to the UNH campus - going in the opposite direction of most of the traffic. It's really not as if this would be an either/or proposition. I'd be shocked if (knowing what's out there about him in the public domain) Foley said "no" just because it was a long commute. If he did - s'OK. Then he wouldn't have been the right candidate to begin with.

I'm sure he's working his ***** off for Harvard now, and I'm sure he'd expect it to be the same IF he were to return to his alma mater. The downtime with both his current and prospective future (assistant?) jobs would be much the same, regardless of whether it's 5 minutes or 55 minutes to Faneuil Hall.

And ambitious young superachievers find a way to maximize limited downtime anyway. Look no further than good ol' TW for a prime example ... :eek: ;)