Merrimack College has narrowed its search for its next athletic director to three candidates, according to sources with knowledge of the process. Interim AD Dean O’Keefe is a finalist along with Harvard Senior Associate Director of Athletics Jeremy Gibson and current Colorado College athletic director Ken Ralph.
O’Keefe has been the interim AD since last year, taking over for Glenn Hofmann, who resigned last summer in the midst of an internal investigation. He has been at Merrimack for five years and previously served as Vice President of Marketing & Sales at the Basketball Hall of Fame. At Merrimack, he had been Assistant Athletic Director for External Relations before taking the interim AD role. A 1994 graduate of Stonehill College, O’Keefe won three Northeast-10 Championships as a starter on the men’s soccer team before graduating with a degree in American Studies with a minor in Communications. He earned his Master of Arts in Education, with a Sports Management major from the University of Connecticut in 1996.
Gibson began at Harvard in 1996 and currently serves as Senior Associate Director of Athletics with responsibilities spanning varsity sport supervision, capital planning, facilities and operations, event management and oversight of the department’s alumni relations and stewardship efforts. He then worked in professional baseball for two seasons before returning to the Crimson as Assistant Director of Athletic Operations and has held the titles of Assistant Director of Athletics and Associate Director of Athletics prior to assuming his current post in 2010. The Andover resident earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Bowdoin College in 1995 where he was a four-year starter on the baseball team and served as captain in his senior year.
Ralph has been the athletic director at Colorado College for the past six years. Prior his job at CC, he spent five years as AD at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. He has served on committees for ECAC Hockey, USA Hockey, and the Liberty League. Ralph is a 1991 graduate of Alaska Anchorage, where he earned five NCAA Division II All-America awards in swimming, was twice named UAA Swimmer of the Year, and was a USS Senior National Qualifier. In 2005, he was inducted into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s in sports management studies from California University (Pa.) and is originally from Salem, New Hampshire.
Tim Whitehead was relieved of his duties as head coach at the University of Maine on April 9. In the weeks since, not only has Maine director of athletics Steve Abbott yet hire his successor, but a prominent former player, Jim Montgomery, took the head coaching job at Denver, the university named Bob Corkum its interim head coach and Corkum, through university staffers, penned a not-so-cryptic open letter to Maine hockey fans that not-so-politely separated himself from Whitehead.
The last six weeks have left many in Orono scratching their heads, wondering what exactly is happening to the state’s crown athletic jewel, a program that was at one time, the envy of college hockey, past scandals aside.
But perhaps Abbott has another power play in mind?
According to a story in Monday’s Bangor Daily News, Abbott will likely name a successor next week. The paper goes on to cite sources reporting that UNH assistant Jim Tortorella, Yale assistant Red Gendron and former Ohio State coach Mark Osiecki are all candidates along with Corkum.
Merrimack College received a verbal commitment from ’96 defenseman Shawn Brennan on Monday; he’s slated to arrive in North Andover for the 2015 season.
A 5-foot-11, 174-pounder, Brennan suited up for the Cleveland Barons U18 team last season. The Delaware, Ohio native totaled 40 points (12 goals, 48 assists) in 62 games with the Barons U16 team in 2011-12 and appeared in one game with the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL last season. The Phantoms drafted him with the 72nd overall pick in the 2012 USHL Futures Draft.
Brennan becomes the second player committed for 2015, joining ’96 forward Brett Seney who committed in February. Michael Babcock is also likely for either the 2014 or 2015 incoming class.
What’s going on with Bigos? Did he sign or waiting out the end of the school year?
He did not sign with Edmonton and will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. According to someone within the Oilers’ organization, the team will likely extend him an invitation to NHL training camp if he does not sign with another NHL franchise before the start of camp.
Does Mike Cavanaugh being hired at UConn clear the path for Greg Brown to take over when Jerry York retires?
I’m sure there will be a search with a lot of qualified candidates involved, but people over at BC have nothing but great things to say about Greg Brown.
For some reason I thought Plevy and Gustafsson were both due in next year, but it looks like it’s actually the year after. I don’t see a lot of scoring help coming from the 2013 arrivals. But then again what do I know?
Plevy is now a 2014. The biggest reason is that he enjoys playing in Chilliwack and his younger brother also looks like he’ll be on the team next year, which is an opportunity few could pass up. New NLI rules — I believe you’re now allowed to sign a NLI up to two years before enrolling, not just one — make it easier for kids to play an extra year of junior hockey without the program running the risk of losing them to bigger programs. As for next year, it does open a spot for them to move up a forward — maybe Gustafsson — if they feel he’s ready and the player wants to come in a year early.
Who do you think gets hired at Maine?
Funny you ask. I’ll have a column going up on CHN soon and I’ll post a link. They seem to be down to three candidates, but most thought they would have announced a hiring two weeks ago.
Who do you think gets hired as the new assistant at BU?
Former Merrimack assistant coach (current Harvard assistant) Albie O’Connell is very interested in the job, according to sources. O’Connell is a former Terrier.
Of all the turnover this year in coaching, which firing surprised you the most?
If we’re talking firings, that has to take Jack Parker out of the mix (though I was surprised at his announcement, as most were) and George Gwozdecky, who it seems left on his own, albeit with some other institutional factors in play. I’d say the biggest shock when it comes to firings has to be Mark Osiecki out at Ohio State. He was really turning the program around. Their recruiting classes, though riddled with some decommits since the Osiecki announcement — was slated to be excellent the next few seasons and he was getting all of that done despite very little institutional support when compared to the way OSU supports some other programs at the school and just the other Big 10 hockey schools.
Saw your column on another website about Chael Sonnen and how you said he was the most marketable fighter in UFC? The guy has never won a title and is nothing more than a trash talker. That’s marketable? Stick to hockey.
Of course it’s marketable. Here’s a guy who has lost three of his last five fights, and two of them have been for championships. He talked his way into a title fight with Anderson Silva, almost beat him, and then earned another one from that. Did he honestly deserve a light heavyweight title shot against Jon Jones? It was his first fight since returning to the division! Please. But he had been ripping Jones for almost a year after Jones refused to fight him on five days notice last August and Dana White isn’t stupid, bad blood = money and he booked the fight. Now he’s going after Wanderlei Silva, for no apparent reason, and the talking has gotten to a point where that fight might be the main event for the Boston card this summer.
And again, this is a guy who has lost three of his last five fights.
Chael’s smart. He doesn’t shut up, he’s fine playing the bad guy that everyone hates — he’s obviously doing a great job at it — and he’s happy collecting big-fight paychecks that, if you really just analyzed what happens inside the cage, he probably hasn’t deserved since UFC 148 last year.
We can debate whether or not he actually deserves the fights he’s been getting, but the reason he’s getting them is because he’s marketable.
Boston College associate head coach Mike Cavanaugh has signed on to become to the new head coach at Connecticut.
“I am very excited to be joining the UConn Husky family,” said Cavanaugh. “This job is a terrific opportunity and I think UConn’s move to Hockey East is a natural. I look forward to the challenge of building this program and I believe that my experiences over the past 18 years will help me lead UConn into this new era.
“College hockey is at an all-time high in the state of Connecticut right. The national championship teams that we had at Boston College had several players from the state on it and they were integral in our success. There is a wealth of talent in Connecticut and I look forward to recruiting the homegrown players as well as the prep schools. The state of Connecticut will be key in our recruiting efforts.
“I would like thank President Susan Herbst and Director of Athletics Warde Manuel for showing confidence in my abilities and giving me the opportunity to lead UConn into its era of Hockey East.”
Added BC head coach Jerry York, who has worked with Cavanaugh for 19 seasons, “I’m thrilled for Mike Cavanaugh to accept the head coaching position at the University of Connecticut. I think it’s a significant hire by athletics director Warde Manuel. He has hired a very energetic, knowledgeable, classy young man. Mike will be sorely missed here at Boston College for his contributions to our hockey program over the last 18 years. But, on the other hand, we wish him all the best as he starts a whole new chapter in his career.”
Long-time Boston College SID Dick Kelley is waging a courageous battle with ALS. Kelley is a popular figure in Hockey East circles and his story has drawn national attention. He’s been featured in recent lengthy profiles on Sportsillustrated.com and CBSsports.com. His courage is amazing and the BC community has gone to great lengths to help him.
Below are two of the best stories. At the bottom of each is a link to donate to defray the cost of his around-the-clock care.
According to the Hartford Courant’s Mike Anthony, longtime Boston College associate head coach Mike Cavanaugh has entered negotiations to become the next head coach at the University of Connecticut.
Cavanaugh, who was reported to be one of the finalists alongside UConn interim head coach Dave Berard and former Denver head coach George Gwozdecky, has spent the last 18 seasons at Boston College coaching under Jerry York. He previously spent two seasons at Dartmouth and one year with York at Bowling Green.
Anthony reported the news on Tuesday via Twitter.
At Boston College, Cavanaugh has been a part of four national championship teams.
UConn is filling the position vacated by Bruce Marshall, who took a leave of abscence in October and resigned in January. The Huskies will open their final seasons in Atlantic Hockey this fall before joining Hockey East for the 2014-15 season.
’95 forward Michael Babcock has committed to Merrimack College. A 5-foot-10 forward from Detroit Catholic Central High School, he totaled 42 points (10-32–42) this past season in 30 games, being named one of just four All-State forwards by the Michigan Interscholastic Hockey League.
Babcock was picked 68th overall in the USHL Draft by Cedar Rapids last season, and it’s likely he’ll play there next season. He is the son of Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock and skated at the Red Wings development camp last summer.
Babcock visited Merrimack’s campus two weeks ago.
Former Merrimack College defenseman Karl Stollery signed a one-year contract with the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday. The contract is a two-way deal for next season.
Stollery, who graduated from Merrimack last spring, spent his first professional season in Lake Erie with Colorado’s AHL affiliate. In 72 games he totaled 34 points (5 goals, 29 assists).
Former Maine recruit Nick Roberto (’94), who decommitted to the Black Bears earlier this month, committed to Boston University on Monday.
A product of Wakefield, Mass., the 5-foot-9 speedster scored 48 points (23 goals, 25 assists) in just 29 games this season as a forward with Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire. KUA captain Doyle Somerby is also a BU recruit. Roberto formerly played at Malden Catholic with Brendan Collier, another BU recruit.
Roberto is slated to arrive on Commonwealth Ave. this fall.
Note: This schedule is unofficial and incomplete. Information taken from other schedule releases, independent sources and media reports. Subject to change.
11 - at Denver
12 - at Denver
18 - MERCYHURST
19 - MERCYHURST
26 - ARMY
1 - BENTLEY
8 - at Providence
9 - PROVIDENCE
15 - at Notre Dame
16 - at Notre Dame
22 - NORTHEASTERN
23 - at Northeastern
30 - at Yale
6 - BOSTON UNIVERSITY
7 - at Boston University
4 - Providence (Fenway) (NC)
11 - at Clarkson
12 - at Clarkson
17 - at Quinnipiac
19 - QUINNIPIAC
21 - BOSTON COLLEGE
24 - at Massachusetts
25 - MASSACHUSETTS
31 - at UMass Lowell
1 - UMASS LOWELL
7 - at Boston College
14 - at Maine
15 - at Maine
21 - VERMONT
22 - VERMONT
28 - NEW HAMPSHIRE
1 - NEW HAMPSHIRE
7 - Hockey East First Round
8 - Hockey East First Round
9 - Hockey East First Round
14 - Hockey East Quarterfinals
15 - Hockey East Quarterfinals
16 - Hockey East Quarterfinals
21 - Hockey East Semifianls
22 - Hockey East Championship