Associate Head Coach Mike Cavanaugh (right) and the rest of the Boston College coaching staff after the Eagles defeated Ferris State to win the 2012 NCAA Championship.
Hat-tip to UMass blog Fear The Triangle for breaking this story earlier today. As has been speculated, BC Hockey's Associate Head Coach and Jerry York's right-hand-man Mike Cavanaugh will be interviewing for the head coaching position at UMass vacated by Toot Cahoon.
This really opens up quite a range of emotions for BC fans. On the one hand, everyone on the Heights knows that Cavanaugh is deserving of the position, despite interviewing and not being selected for the Providence and Northeastern coaching positions just last season.
But on the other hand, losing Coach Cav would certainly be a blow to the program. His name may not be as well known as Jerry York's, but his contributions to Boston College Hockey have arguably been just as valuable. He is at the forefront of BC's recruiting, which might be the biggest single reason for our success. Think of just how many top-flight players have come to the Heights and have stayed for at least three seasons. Cavanaugh is a big part of that.
It's also been speculated that Coach Cav is being groomed to take over BC's head coaching position on that dark, dark day that Jerry York decides to hang up his whistle and retire to a life of Dunkin Decaf and the good Catholic life. Cavanaugh has been at the Heights since 1995 -- one year after Coach York signed on as Head Coach -- and even coached under York for a year at Bowling Green.
It seems fair to ask the question: What is the more glamorous position? Associate Head Coach for the undisputed best college hockey program in America, under the best college hockey coach in history, with a more-than-likely shot at becoming the head coach at the same school? Or, head coach at a program like UMass that has been to the NCAA tournament just once in the current millennium, has had just one winning season since 2005 (including an absolute disaster in '10-'11 where they went 6-23-6), and has consistently lacked support from its administration to the point that Cahoon left his longtime position because of it?
Also worth pondering is the question of why Coach Cav hasn't been able to land the head coaching position at other schools despite interviewing for them. There can be no questioning his qualifications. Could it be that he could not assure his potential employers of his long-term commitment to the program? I'm not talking about him putting everything into his job -- there's no question he would -- but he and every other program out there must know that he is the likely front-runner for the BC position. It wouldn't be wise for those programs to hire him knowing full well that just a few years down the line, he could jump ship for maroon-er and gold-er pastures.
It will be interesting to see what happens with UMass. Hopefully the Minutemen don't recognize the opportunity they have here and we're able to hold on to one of our programs most important assets. But if Coach Cav's experience and expertise is rewarded with a job offer out in Amherst, everyone at the Heights will certainly be thrilled for him.