Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Committee Convenes

RPI forms committee to find hockey coach
Athletic director says he has 40-50 inquiries so far

By TIM WILKIN, Staff writer Click byline for more stories by writer. First published: Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Of the 59 schools that play Division I college hockey in the United States, only two of them have coaching vacancies.
One of them is at RPI. Athletic director Ken Ralph doesn't know how long the vacancy will remain but vows to keep looking until the best possible coach is found.
"We want a teacher and a motivator and someone with an unquenchable thirst to win hockey games," Ralph said Tuesday. "We want someone who will push himself and the students to the highest level of achievement. We want to be very clear we want to win hockey games at RPI."
Dan Fridgen, RPI's coach the past 12 years, resigned last week. He was in the final year of a three-year contract that was set to expire June 30. The other Division I coaching job opened up Tuesday, when Yale announced coach Tim Taylor would be reassigned within the university after 28 years with the program.
Since then, Ralph said, a search committee of 10 people has been formed. He also said the school has received between 40 and 50 inquiries about the job.
Ralph declined to name any of those who made inquiries but did say the committee will take as much time as it needs.
"They will evaluate all the applications and, after interviews, they will make a recommendation to me," Ralph said.
The final recommendation, he said, will be his. Then he will go to RPI President Shirley Jackson for the final decision.
"On this one, we just have to be sure," Ralph said. "This is an important hire for us. If we have to interview 10 people, we'll interview 10 people. Right now we have had 15 or 16 hard applications already in, and we'll probably have another 10 before the end of the day (Tuesday)."
He said he has made calls to people he thought would be interested.
Ralph said the only person who has said he is not interested is former RPI goalie Kevin Constantine (1977-80), now coach of the Everett (Wash.) Silvertips of the Western Hockey League.
Constantine had stints in the National Hockey League coaching with the San Jose Sharks (1993-96), Pittsburgh Penguins (1997-2000) and New Jersey Devils (2001-02).
Providence assistant coach Stan Moore, a former ECAC coach of the year at Union (1997) and Colgate (2004), is expected to be a candidate. He did not return a call left at his office.
Ralph said he doesn't expect the interview process to start until after the Frozen Four, college hockey's championship tournament April 6-8 in Milwaukee. Ralph said whether he attends the championship would depend on how much progess has been made in the search.
He also said he is not opposed to hiring a former RPI player and said he has had contact with former Engineers star Joe Juneau. But he said that conversation was about people Juneau thought would be possible candidates for the position and not about Juneau himself.

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