Friday, March 24, 2006

More News On The Search!

RPI to move fast on coach
AD eyes five weeks to find a replacement

By PETE IORIZZO, Staff writer Click byline for more stories by writer. First published: Wednesday, March 22, 2006
TROY -- RPI athletic director Ken Ralph said a few things about his next men's hockey coach. Among them: He will be a motivator. He will be energetic. And, most notably, he will be hired soon.
But Ralph did not offer any names.
"There is no predetermined list, where we can say, 'These five guys are really the short list,' " Ralph said. "This really kind of just snowballed in the last few days. We have not gotten to the point where we have a short list already."
Ralph said he's still assembling a search committee to find a replacement for Dan Fridgen, who resigned Tuesday. Ralph said he hopes the committee can begin meeting early next week. He expects to select Fridgen's replacement within five weeks.
The only candidates Ralph noted by name were assistant coaches Frank Bretti and Jeff Matthews. Both joined the RPI staff in 2004. Bretti previously served as the head coach at Iona. Though Matthews has no previous Division I head-coaching experience, he graduated from RPI in 1995.
"I'm certainly going to be willing to talk to them," Ralph said.
Bretti seemed uncomfortable discussing his candidacy, saying, "We'll have to see that in the coming days. Right now I'd feel more comfortable looking back at Dan's career and thanking him for everything he's done for the program."
Matthews was not available for comment.
RPI is the only Division I job currently open, so Ralph expects to draw plenty of applicants. Among the most intriguing possibilities is Providence assistant coach Stan Moore, who is a two-time ECACHL coach of the year. Moore won the award as a rookie coach at Union in 1997 and again in 2004, when as a one-year interim coach with Colgate he won 22 games.
Moore did not address his potential candidacy Tuesday, saying only he was "shocked" by Fridgen's resignation.
Union's current coach, Nate Leaman, is another possibility, though his interest in the job is unknown. When reached by phone Tuesday, Leaman said only, "I'm very happy at Union," and declined further comment.
Other possible candidates include Graeme Townshend, a scout with the San Jose Sharks and former RPI captain, and Bill Beaney, the coach at Middlebury College.
If RPI really wanted to recapture the Capital Region's attention, it could reach out to two of its most famous alumni, former NHL stars Adam Oates and Joe Juneau.
The idea isn't so far-fetched. Two years ago, Harvard hired Ted Donato, an alum and former NHL player without coaching experience. He won 21 games his first season and led the Crimson to the ECACHL Tournament championship last weekend at Pepsi Arena. The Crimson will be back in town this weekend for the East Regional.
The only candidate Ralph dismissed was RPI women's coach John Burke, a former assistant with the men's squad.
"I would never want to end up in a situation where I say, 'The best coach is on our women's team, so I'm taking him away from the women,' " Ralph said. "That's not going to be the case."
Free-lance writer Dan Farrand contributed to this report.

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