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smitre
03-25-2012, 05:29 PM
You are not hallucinating, it has vanished from the previous page of this thread.



Help: Am I hallucinating ... or was it on a different thread .... but didn't NCAA Watcher have a rather detailed post yesterday on the situation at UNH. Where did it go?

smitre
03-25-2012, 06:44 PM
A few of those posts a month and I might agree with you, a few a year that are as well constructed as most of your posts add both reasonable opinion and important facts for the rest of us to consider.



Like the internets need another post from an overheated fanboy who thinks he knows whats wrong with his team ;) Caught myself just in time.
A year or so ago I promised myself I would not be one of them, and take a break from my favorite team. Served me well this year.

smitre
03-25-2012, 08:08 PM
Posting on any message board rarely changes anything, does not matter if it is hockey, politics, or about a music group. The only people's opinions and decisions who matter regarding these topics are within the UNH athletic department and a select few within the administration at large. The point here is about enlightened discussion among fans interested enough in UNH hockey to bother reading this message board (beyond sports yahoos and BC morons).

I do not agree with your more hard line stance on some of these issues, coaching being the main one, but that has more to do with my lower expectations for the team on a national scale than actually disagreeing with you. Outside the obvious lack of a national title I would argue the program has been in the top 5 nationally over the past 15 years if you consider consistency over that entire span. To me that is shocking considering the limitations of the athletic department, overall institution, and support for both from the state compared to most of the other top end programs with whom they are competing.

That is also why I appreciate your posts. They provide enlightening information about detailed recruiting history and about the program in general before this past decade. Understanding the source of the success helps evaluate where to go from here. Maybe Umile will be here another decade, maybe two years. There is no doubt the program is entering a period of transition on a variety of fronts. Looking towards the future I was disappointed in the hiring of Tortorella because of his age, not his credentials. Like you I saw this hiring as an opportunity to look more towards the future, both for coaching and recruiting, though I was very pleased with how he brought along the young team defense in the second half of the season.

Nothing is going to change from anything I say either but I still come here anyway.

hockeydad2005
03-26-2012, 09:17 AM
That was the straw that broke the camel's back. It was his third job offer of the summer and he decided to take it. He was offered a job by CC, Providence and finally took the Denver job after what admissions did.

bomberhockey
03-26-2012, 09:26 AM
That was the straw that broke the camel's back. It was his third job offer of the summer and he decided to take it. He was offered a job by CC, Providence and finally took the Denver job after what admissions did.

I think he was going regardless, his decisionwas made before the whole thing settled out. All those jobs would be more money and Denver substatial, Anywhere would most likely be an increase, in DI.

JB
03-26-2012, 09:30 AM
That was the straw that broke the camel's back. It was his third job offer of the summer and he decided to take it. He was offered a job by CC, Providence and finally took the Denver job after what admissions did.

I am sure the Denver offer was helped by the back to the future aspect as Lassonde was on staff with Gowzdecky at Miami. It was a known situation. My understanding is other programs including Denver have been after him for years, but he always said no before. His family ties to the NH seacoast and love of his job made him happy here.

I worry we have just seen the golden years of UNH hockey. The problem is actually money, the University has none. The Friends of UNH hockey were asked to help in ways they never have before, because the budget has been cut and cut and cut. I worry when Umile leaves, UNH is going to appropriate that money elsewhere. What are they going to be willing/able to pay the next coach. Better hope they find someone fantastic because young and inexperienced is what they will be able to pay for.

I think coach Lassonde saw the writing on the wall (no money) and decided getting a nice raise going to a well funded program with old friend Gowz was a really good idea. The pain in the butt admissions was just piling on.

hockeydad2005
03-26-2012, 09:36 AM
He is also best friends with Scott Owens at CC and seriously considered takign that job. I talked to a high up NHL scout and says UNH's glory days are behind them unless four things happen.

1. Bigger Budget
2. Fix the underneath area of the Whittemore Center, IE- Lack of players lounge, facilities underneath pail in comparison.
3. Young and energetic assistants to change the culture, or a young head coach. He thought the ex Union now Providence head coach would of been a perfect fit for UNH, but would have to take a very big pay cut now to come to UNH.
4. Administration not put all the pressure on the hockey crowd to pay the bills, this is causing an older and not as advid fan base.

bomberhockey
03-26-2012, 09:42 AM
I am sure the Denver offer was helped by the back to the future aspect as Lassonde was on staff with Gowzdecky at Miami. It was a known situation. My understanding is other programs including Denver have been after him for years, but he always said no before. His family ties to the NH seacoast and love of his job made him happy here.

I worry we have just seen the golden years of UNH hockey. The problem is actually money, the University has none. The Friends of UNH hockey were asked to help in ways they never have before, because the budget has been cut and cut and cut. I worry when Umile leaves, UNH is going to appropriate that money elsewhere. What are they going to be willing/able to pay the next coach. Better hope they find someone fantastic because young and inexperienced is what they will be able to pay for.

I think coach Lassonde saw the writing on the wall (no money) and decided getting a nice raise going to a well funded program with old friend Gowz was a really good idea. The pain in the butt admissions was just piling on.
You are probably right JB. They could probably keep one of the 2 guys here if they wanted any HC salary will be higher than what they have now. Both have ample HC experience and both are tireless recruiters.

JB
03-26-2012, 09:49 AM
You are probably right JB. They could probably keep one of the 2 guys here if they wanted any HC salary will be higher than what they have now. Both have ample HC experience and both are tireless recruiters.

My understanding is Umile is paid competitively. I just can't see that position carrying that high a pay beyond him leaving. Maybe 1/3 of what he is paid. As I understand it that would be a raise for either assistant but not what a high end established guy is going to want.

bomberhockey
03-26-2012, 09:56 AM
Disagree. The problem is poor leadership by an aging guy who has little ability to change his approach. When the issue is a disconnect with players and recruits, his solution is to stick with a long-time sidekick who has a less than stellar track record. When an opening finally presents itself, he reaches back to his past in 1991 and hires another 50 year old Italian guy, bypassing two young and enthusiastic alums (Stewart, Ciocco) who could connect with the potential recruits. UNHs failures are not a lack of funds, its a lack of engagement with recruits, and basic sloppiness. Nobody checks to make sure classes are taken and comply with UNH's requirements. Nobody makes sure admissions is in the loop when a star recruit falls into their laps. Kids with academic failings are sent to even worse situations (the USHL) rather than kept locally (which BC does more often) where they can be monitored better.

The situation itself is a great opportunity for a young guy, not necessarily a premier name guy. Both BU and UNH have an old guard , and once they depart both will be power houses. Unlike Maine, which has bad proximity and facilities, UNH is close enough to Boston, and has a newer facility to show off. What they lack is a "promise" of an up-and-coming program where players can feel that they will be a core with the coaches. They have an image of clinging on, which does not sell to kids. Get a 38-45 year old HC with a 30 year old assistant who can tell kids "we're part of the new phase, and you'll be one of my guys and part of that phase" and UNH will get more kids once things change.
Careful what you wish for! the 2 alums you mentioned the one with coaching experience would take a pay cut and longer commute, the other almost no coaching experience.

JB
03-26-2012, 10:04 AM
Disagree. The problem is poor leadership by an aging guy who has little ability to change his approach. When the issue is a disconnect with players and recruits, his solution is to stick with a long-time sidekick who has a less than stellar track record. When an opening finally presents itself, he reaches back to his past in 1991 and hires another 50 year old Italian guy, bypassing two young and enthusiastic alums (Stewart, Ciocco) who could connect with the potential recruits. UNHs failures are not a lack of funds, its a lack of engagement with recruits, and basic sloppiness. Nobody checks to make sure classes are taken and comply with UNH's requirements. Nobody makes sure admissions is in the loop when a star recruit falls into their laps. Kids with academic failings are sent to even worse situations (the USHL) rather than kept locally (which BC does more often) where they can be monitored better.

The situation itself is a great opportunity for a young guy, not necessarily a premier name guy. Both BU and UNH have an old guard , and once they depart both will be power houses. Unlike Maine, which has bad proximity and facilities, UNH is close enough to Boston, and has a newer facility to show off. What they lack is a "promise" of an up-and-coming program where players can feel that they will be a core with the coaches. They have an image of clinging on, which does not sell to kids. Get a 38-45 year old HC with a 30 year old assistant who can tell kids "we're part of the new phase, and you'll be one of my guys and part of that phase" and UNH will get more kids once things change.

You now sound like an optimist! My picture is far more gloom and doom.

I will agree that the path you laid out is possible. That path will also bring back fans, I know many who are just tried of the same thing over and over. They aren't willing to invest mostly there time or secondly money in something they "know" is going to fail again. It actually isn't the coach exactly it is the ridge adherence to a philosophy that has not worked. I will still go, I am committed like a pig at breakfast.

I figure Umile is 3 more years. My guess is he was born just about 1950, graduated in 1972 at about 22. So he is 62ish now 3 more years is 65 and I think the current contract is up at that time.

If it were me I would have looked for a young coach. I also wound not look to renew or retain the "other" current assistant.

I just hope you are right. I often say I remember the "dark days" in the mid 80's and I have no desire to get back there again.

C-H-C
03-26-2012, 12:02 PM
If money is the factor, it'd be a raise for Ciocco. The second one has almost no coaching experience, but great connections to the younger hockey set and a personality to connect with kids. He was one of the guys who actually sold Gaudreau on UNH the second time around. He'd have been a bit of an unknown, but instead Umile took the safe route.

Josh Ciocco will get his chance to be a college coach in the not too distant future. His extensive knowledge of college hockey and young prospects is evident from his work on NESN and articles he writes for US Hockey Report. Ciocco just finished his first season as an Assistant Coach at Milton Academy. He has also been a long-time coach at Coach Umile's Summer Camp. The timing wasn't optimal for Ciocco to replace Coach Lassonde last year. Umile needed a coach to lead the defense, penalty kill, and integration of the goalies. That's not Ciocco's strength. To be fair, Associate Coach Tortorella did a very good job in his first season at UNH. The team defense, penalty kill, and goaltending developed into strengths as the season progressed.

sonar
03-26-2012, 05:06 PM
"The nature and structure of belief systems is important from the perspective of an informational theorist because beliefs are thought to provide the cognitive foundation of an attitude. In order to change an attitude, then, it is presumably necessary to modify the information on which that attitude rests. It is generally necessary, therefore, to change a person's beliefs, eliminate old beliefs or introduce new beliefs."

Richard Petty and John Cacioppo (Attitudes & Persuasion)

Reading the above is very disconcerting. It reinforces the idea that changes at the top in UNH men's ice hockey are not going to happen anytime soon. The bitter/sweet thing is - I'll still be there for the season opener in the fall, and I'll still remember the feeling I had when my wife and made our weekly trips to the Whit under construction - not to speak of the hopes that existed on opening night. I bought my first season ticket in 1968.

PS: Thanks for the return of your reasoned perspective Watcher.

Greg Ambrose
03-26-2012, 08:10 PM
You mean when the legendary coach got older and stuck without good assistants after Terry Flanagan left (along with his Western Ontario connections), and UNH became limited to Henry Carr in Canada? Then the new coach came and was able to sell kids on being part of the new wave, and in his first two recruiting classes 1987 and 1988 brought in 4 NHLers and lots of All-Americans as "his guys"? That's exactly what I'm proffering.

Unfortunately the new coach never got to continue that growth. Instead, you had a recruiting lull when Umile took over and brought in limited northern suburbs kids 89-92 (Reading's Kevin Thomson, Jim McGrath, Jesse Cooper, Rob Donovan, Mike Sullivan, Rob Chebator, etc). The filler prevented UNH's complete growth, though UNH made the NCAAs when Kullen's 88 class were seniors in 92, and little support from the Umile recruits, as evidenced by the fact that the next year the Umile recruited team was .500. In that year Umile brought in a new young assistant, whose first couple of years (Nolan, Boguniecki, Mowers, Nickulas) saved Umile and put Umile in a position to extract a lifetime contract. Then that assistant left in 2003, and you have a legendary coach who got older....... [repeat]

I really don't understand your obsession with all things Umile, both in his job as an assistant and as head coach and, at the same time, heap more praise on Bob Kullen than he deserves. I will remind you that the lead recruiter for all those "fabulous" Wildcat teams in the mid to late '80's was Kullen. While the rest of the new Hockey East was gearing up to play the WCHA interlocking schedule, Kullen was still recruiting 17 year olds from Eastern Mass and third tier players from Minnesota. Yes, he had a few keepers - Leach, Douris, Richmond - but by and large the guys he brought in were instrumental in bringing a three year record of 20-76-9 to the program. His heart problems hindered him of course, but by the time his physical setbacks were severe, Umile, Sean Coady and, for one year, Wayne Wilson were in place and were recruiting players that would allow UNH to better compete. I won't disagree that McCloskey's recruits were on a higher plain that those that Umile brought in. However it is not like the program went in the tank after the Class of '92 graduated. The next year, 1993, when Maine lost one game and they and BU were a combined 40-6-2 in HE, UNH finished third with that .500 record and lost in the HE semifinals. The year after that they beat RPI in Albany in the first round of the NCAA's.

As for l'affaire Lassonde, I highly doubt that his bags were packed prior to the campus visit by Gaudreau. Over the years Lassonde has had numerous offers to be a head or assistant coach at various schools. He turned them all down because of family, his ties to the Seacoast and his loyalty to UNH and Umile. As long as UNH was getting a representative sample of decent players, he was going to stay. There is no question that he was getting more and more frustrated with admissions (the Cam Reid defection was pivotal in my book) so by the time admission's decision to not even look at the transcript came about, it is now clear that Lassonde had had enough. When you're getting a big raise in pay, plus bonuses, and you compare it with what was going at UNH it was a pretty easy decision for him.

Since Lassonde left less than eight weeks before the season started it's obvious that UNH had to move fast to replace him. The rumors were running rampant back then but from what I have been told, Umile approached Glenn Stewart and Mark White both of whom used the offer to get a bump in pay from Merrimack and Brown respectively. Patrick Foley was also approached but since he had recently committed to be a Northeastern assistant he wasn't comfortable with leaving. Have no idea about Ciocco. Umile loves the kid and, watching him on NESN, I can see why. But since he had never coached at any level I don't think Umile wanted to take a chance. So, instead, he opted for Tortorella. Certainly not a **** choice, but not a terrible one either given the way UNH played defensively the second half of the year.

Going forward I hate to speculate what road UNH will take. When Umile retires (and it will not be for awhile, he's 63) UNH will not lack for applicants. UNH still has a lot going for it. It may not have the Taj Mahal weight room that BU has, it may not have the massive financial support that ACC money brings to BC, but it certainly has more than most every other HE school. From what I can see, there are only two things, and they are both really big, that would scare people off - lack of financial support from the University and lack of cooperation from admissions. These are decisions which are out of the hands of athletics which I can't say is a bad thing. I doubt any of us want a situation where the tail wags the dog, ala Syracuse, Penn State, Kentucky, et al.

Nifty16
03-26-2012, 09:21 PM
Since Lassonde left less than eight weeks before the season started it's obvious that UNH had to move fast to replace him. The rumors were running rampant back then but from what I have been told, Umile approached Glenn Stewart and Mark White both of whom used the offer to get a bump in pay from Merrimack and Brown respectively. Patrick Foley was also approached but since he had recently committed to be a Northeastern assistant he wasn't comfortable with leaving. Have no idea about Ciocco. Umile loves the kid and, watching him on NESN, I can see why. But since he had never coached at any level I don't think Umile wanted to take a chance. So, instead, he opted for Tortorella. Certainly not a **** choice, but not a terrible one either given the way UNH played defensively the second half of the year.
Think you nailed it on the head, it was all about timing, its not like they had a whole off season to bring in another coach. Looking back at the year and the way the D and goaltending improved hard to say Tortorella did a bad job. I will say that I have never been a big fan of Borek, if you are going to bring in a young coach to go in and recruit it then that coach would come in and fill Borek's role. I can see a change being made there in a few years, when that happens I see Foley jumping into that role as he has the experience. Do love all the dumping on Umile, I know you get 500 wins by being so awful, also developing such poor recruits into Hobey Baker finalist in Butler and Thompson. I have said it many post so far this off season, I don't see the future as awful as some, 2 players on the all freshman team is not a bad way to start, and if history shows there will be some good development.

bomberhockey
03-27-2012, 07:01 AM
All fair points. Although apart from BU and Providence, nobody was out in Western Canada or the USHL. Only when Shawn Walsh came to Maine (and HE made a new recruiting pool) did he force others to look there. And Kullen when he ran the ship was the first to get a USHL player (Szturm, who visited when he had his first attack), and then Saskatoon (Riel Bellegarde). And as I said, its a lot easier to get kids when you are the HC, and his first two classes were the backbone to the first NCAA team in 92 (Amodeo, Mitrovic, Winnes, Dean, and all-leaguers). There is no "control" set to test the what if world, other than to compare those classes to the Umile classes with the same recruiters:
1989
Mike Guilbert
Rob Chebator
Jeff Levy
Rob Donovan
Scott Malone
Glenn Stewart
Jason Dexter

1990
Cory Cash
Pat Norton
Nick Poole
Jeff Lenz
Eric Royal
Kent Schmidtke
Eric Flinton
Ted Russell
1991
Trent Cavicchi
Scott Robison
Erik Fitzgerald
Brian Putnam
Mike McCready
Sean Perry
Steve Pleau
Bryan Muir
Tom O'Brien
Mike Sullivan


That's an awful lot of the same "meh" recruiting that was not allowing UNH to compete better. ... Until McCloskey.



You're right about that last part. So they are stuck in the gradual slide down until Umile decides to retire. Then we can have a rebirth. Until then, I'll focus on the big picture, that I will not get upset because a 17 year old wants to go to school in Denver rather than UNH, or whether UNH plays another game at the TD Garden.

But in answer to your question about my focus on Umile, the "big program" vs. quaint collegial program distinction focuses my annoyance at Umile. If we're here to educate good kids and run a solid program, you don't get his deal. But once you demand to be paid based on your responsibility for success, then you have a duty to make sure it pulls out of a tailspin, not sit on the status quo for 8 years and surround yourself by old friends rather than someone who can fix it. Didn't see Umile at the Beantown classic, even though he was out of the playoffs. York was there in the midst of the NCAAs. You think the best player there will be more inclined to make a connection with BC or UNH? He's shown his toughness to 18 year olds kids, changing his promises to them about their futures all for the sake of the program -- Campbell, Chevrier, Vecchione, Laleggia, etc. -- but apparently his accountability for results seems to stop with the players. And how about wielding the power to make sure admissions looks at applications? That's not abusing his position as the highest paid state employee. And what about caring enough about recruits to check 6 transcripts of incoming players to make sure they actually take the classes they need. If that's one of the main determinants of whether you will be successful, that's not too much to ask. And if you care about the kids, how about not sending an admittedly marginal student away from prep school at Cushing to two years in Nebraska and a new housing family and school, and taking online classes while bussing 400 miles to Green Bay, etc. Boy, what a shock that he might have trouble with admissions.
Just out of curiosity what is Umile's salary?

bomberhockey
03-27-2012, 07:40 AM
Google tells me its $224,000 base, plus he keeps TV and promotional monies (about $31,500 supplemental pay for such things as TV and radio shows and sponsorship agreements for apparel and equipment).
He then is eligible for bonuses:
$5,000 Conference Coach of the Year
$8,000 winning Hockey East regular season title
$10,000 qualifying for NCAA tournament

As its played out, he earned $382,000 in 2009 (a large part was earned before and deferred payment so it is misleadingly large) http://fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090224/GJNEWS_01/702249927
$278,000 in 2010
$224,000 in 2010 http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20110527-NEWS-105270399

And Nifty, you are correct that I downplay his coaching success. 499 wins is nothing to sneeze at, and its easier to say its players rather than coaching. I have predicted success for Providence under Tim Army, and thought Vermont's recruiting would put them above UNH. Clearly I was wrong on both counts. Umile's ability to stay in the top 4 is creditable, and any replacement will not be a certainty.... he will have large shoes to fill. However, like with Terry Francona, people's skill sets fit certain situations, but not others. I think Umile's skill set does not fit UNH's situation for the next five years. I am just confident that UNH is a good platform, and with new leader, it will be able to sell the next wave.
Do you know where that places him among HE coaches?

Greg Ambrose
03-27-2012, 07:48 AM
But in answer to your question about my focus on Umile, the "big program" vs. quaint collegial program distinction focuses my annoyance at Umile. If we're here to educate good kids and run a solid program, you don't get his deal. But once you demand to be paid based on your responsibility for success, then you have a duty to make sure it pulls out of a tailspin, not sit on the status quo for 8 years and surround yourself by old friends rather than someone who can fix it. Didn't see Umile at the Beantown classic, even though he was out of the playoffs. York was there in the midst of the NCAAs. You think the best player there will be more inclined to make a connection with BC or UNH? He's shown his toughness to 18 year olds kids, changing his promises to them about their futures all for the sake of the program -- Campbell, Chevrier, Vecchione, Laleggia, etc. -- but apparently his accountability for results seems to stop with the players. And how about wielding the power to make sure admissions looks at applications? That's not abusing his position as the highest paid state employee. And what about caring enough about recruits to check 6 transcripts of incoming players to make sure they actually take the classes they need. If that's one of the main determinants of whether you will be successful, that's not too much to ask. And if you care about the kids, how about not sending an admittedly marginal student away from prep school at Cushing to two years in Nebraska and a new housing family and school, and taking online classes while bussing 400 miles to Green Bay, etc. Boy, what a shock that he might have trouble with admissions.

Can't speak to why Umile was not at the Beantown Classic, but isn't that a nitpick? What you are basically saying is that despite his 499 wins over the last 21 years, going forward he will fail to win at the same pace because college hockey is passing him by. And that the proof of this is that he signed up Tortorella instead of Ciocco and had a kid who was floundering at Cushing go out to the USHL. I guess I have more faith in his abilities than you do. He basically had zippo in this senior class this year but was able to make them a pretty competitive team in the second half of the year. I wonder if former flavors of the month like Army or Sneddon could have done the same. The thing I have always liked about Umile is his focus on loyalty to the school and his impart to the players about don't embarrass the school, the program, or your teammates. It's been pretty straightforward over the last 20+ years. Granted he has had a few missteps (as have York and Parker) but his teams haven't fallen off the rails like it appears that it did at BU (you should listen to some long time BU fans talk).

As for wielding power with admissions, my impression is that battle has been fought and lost. From what I have been told, all athletic programs are having difficulty with admissions. The thing that bothers me the most is what appears to be the mind games going on between administration, admissions and the athletic department. I'd love to know if their was a sit down with the coaches where they were told that some of the old ways of doing things weren't going to fly anymore. I kind of doubt it, given the experience over the past few years with the hockey team. That is my biggest concern. Money is always going to be an issue, it always has been. But if UNH admissions is trying to move the school in a direction that is not attainable, it bodes ill for not only athletics, but the school and state as a whole.

C-H-C
03-27-2012, 08:42 AM
Can't speak to why Umile was not at the Beantown Classic, but isn't that a nitpick?
I assume Coach York was at the Beantown Spring Classic because BC was looking to fill a roster spot for next season - something UNH doesn't need to do. Within days, Travis Jeke - who had played well at the Classic (according to USHR) - committed to BC.

Nick Papagiorgio
03-27-2012, 08:55 AM
I assume Coach York was at the Beantown Spring Classic because BC was looking to fill a roster spot for next season - something UNH doesn't need to do. Within days, Travis Jeke - who had played well at the Classic (according to USHR) - committed to BC.

I'm sure he wanted another look at Eichel too.