UMass Athletic Director John McCutcheon is doing his best damage control, but there have been several sources indicating the A.D. offered both Rand Pecknold (Quinnipiac) and Paul Pearl (Holy Cross) the UMass hockey head coaching position, only for both candidates to decide to remain at their current posts. The desirability of the position seemingly took a serious hit when two head coaches at programs in lesser conferences than Hockey East spurned the Minutemen.
Fans of the program are clearly not happy with the way the search for Don Cahoon's successor is going:
Vitriol toward the University of Massachusetts, and particularly Athletic Director John McCutcheon, is spewing from Internet message boards and Twitter. Fans are angry with how the search for a new hockey coach is progressing in Amherst. The natives are getting restless, if you believe what you read on the Internet.
It's understandable. Twice in less than a week UMass has been spurned by coaches from programs in weaker conferences than Hockey East.
The Republican's Harry Plumer wants to make a splash hire, throwing out names like the USHL's Jim Montgomery, Minnesota Wild scout Darren Yopyk, Colorado Avalache assistant Dave Quinn or Union coach Rick Bennett. The Eagle-Tribune's Mike McMahon recently profiled, you know, actual candidates.
2. Mike Cavanaugh (associate head coach, Boston College)
Cavanaugh is a regular on the list when Hockey East head coaching positions open. He was a candidate at most of the openings last season and was even a candidate at Merrimack back in 2005, when Mark Dennehy was hired. According to sources, Cavanaugh spoke with UMass officials about the job over the phone, but has not interviewed.
McMahon mentions Yale associate head coach Red Gendron and Boston University associate head coach Mike Bavis as other possible candidates, noting that Gendron has reportedly interviewed while Bavis and Coach Cav haven't.
I'm still hopeful that Boston College will hold onto both Cavanaugh and Greg Brown and UMass will look elsewhere. I'd love to see both Cavanaugh and Brown get their shot at running a program, but the UMass situation seems toxic enough that I hope they stay away. Coach Cav and Brown need to find their own Clarkson or Bowling Green-type program to make a name for themselves out from under the shadow of York in Hockey East. And frankly, there are better coaching jobs outside of Hockey East where I could see Coach Cav or Coach Brown cutting their teeth before returning to the Heights to succeed Jerry York in 2075.