David Carle seen as possible replacement should Jim Montgomery jump to NHL

Photo: Courtesy of TampaBay.com

The noise is growing louder.

Over the past couple of weeks, it’s been reported that DU head coach Jim Montgomery has interviewed with the New York Rangers for their vacant head coaching position. And, since Ken Hitchcock informed the Dallas Stars of his retirement, speculation about Montgomery’s fit in Texas has started to circulate.

In The Denver Post yesterday, writer Mike Chambers indicated that DU assistant David Carle is likely a strong candidate to replace Montgomery if and when he moves to the NHL (the reality is it’s going to happen sooner or later). At 28, that would make Carle the youngest head coach in NCAA Division I hockey. It certainly would be a coveted job by any number of highly qualified and experienced coaches who would fight for the chance to run DU’s hockey program.

College Hockey News reported that Carle was a recent finalist for his hometown’s struggling college hockey program, University Alaska Anchorage, but once he was offered the position, he turned it down. At the same time, Jim Montgomery rumors have continued to swirl in New York and Dallas. And, according to Chambers’ article, “Carle believes DU will consider moving forward with the remaining staff, including assistant Tavis MacMillan and goalie coach/director of hockey operations Joe Howe.”

Carle was widely credited for his recruitment of Henrik Borgström when Carle traveled to Finland and made the pitch for Borgström to attend the University of Denver. He started as an undergraduate player for the Crimson and Gold but was diagnosed with a serious heart condition and took on a student assistant coaching role under then-head coach Coach George Gwozdecky. After DU, Carle served as an assistant coach with the junior-A Green Bay Gamblers in 2013-14. Carle was then brought back to Denver by Jim Montgomery in 2014. Under Montgomery, Carle plays an active role running practice and working the bench for the Pioneers.

Under outgoing Athletic Director Peg Bradley-Doppes’ leadership, there has been an effort to develop assistant coaches capable of stepping into the top spot. In soccer, assistant Jamie Franks became the youngest coach in NCAA soccer following the departure of Bobby Muuss. He led the soccer team to several undefeated regular seasons and made a trip to the final four and won National Coaching Staff of the year. In 2016, assistant volleyball coach Tom Hogan replaced Jesse Mahoney who departed DU to coach his alma mater, CU. Hogan continued to win conference titles and extended DU’s trips to the NCAA Tournament to four years in a row. Hogan has been awarded Coach of the Year honors by the Summit League as well.  And other programs, such as gymnastics, who has assistant Linas Gaveika, are said to have ‘head coaches in waiting’. And there are more…

The other wild card is incoming athletic director Karlton Creech. Will he value continuity and the (very good) status quo or will he want to make a big splash with his first major hire by selecting an experience coach from outside the Pioneer hockey program?

There are plenty of external examples of assistants who have been elevated to the top spot and failed. Obviously, the skills required to be a successful assistant coach are different than the skills necessary to lead a team – managing people and budgets, working with administration, donor relations, and putting a public face on DU’s most visible program. But Carle clearly understands Montgomery’s system and, one could argue, the transition would be ‘seamless’ in terms of philosophy and playing style. And people within the program clearly must know his skills and capabilities to manage the additional responsibilities.

What do you think?

28 thoughts on “David Carle seen as possible replacement should Jim Montgomery jump to NHL”

  1. To recruit in today’s NCHC, you need a head coach with NHL experience. That’s what top players want – someone who knows the NHL and what it takes to play/coach there. Monty, Berry, Sandelin, Murray and Haviland were all either NHL players or coaches.

    Carle has never been a head coach anywhere. DU is a top 5 coaching job Nationally.

    Give me someone who has done it and won before. Former DU player and 20 year NHLer/Chicago assistant Kevin Dineen would be my first call.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. NY newspapers seem to indicate that there have not been interviews yet. The press has stated that the Rangers have interest in 3 NCAA D1 head coaches: Monty, Sandelin and Quinn.


  3. We have a highly reliable source regarding the Ranger interview but there are likely to be several rounds. And, true, there are several other college coaches in the mix. However, many independent analysts see Monty as the top college coach available. Add last year’s Panthers interviews and it remains a realistic possibility that Montgomery may land an NHL job soon. It would be unwise to assume that nothing will happen and not be prepared in the event Monty leaves. Add some changes within DU’s athletic department and one hopes that Peg, Ron and Karlton have contincy plans in place.


    1. if carle’s age is the only issue against him, wouldnt bringing gwoz back for 2 or 3 years until he’s ready make sense? then gwoz would be ready to retire as well and finally get the sendoff he deserves


    2. Take this to the bank: if there is going to be a NCAA D1 head hockey coach jumping straight to the NHL anytime soon, it will be Quinn.


      1. If the decision is based on hair, Quinn wins. But, Monty has won 4 out of 5 head-to-head games against Quinn and Monty has a better winning percentage (.663 vs .598) since both became NCAA coaches in 2013. Montgomery is 8-5 in tournament play and Quinn is 5-4. Both have two regular season championships. Quinn has won two HE tournaments and Monty one NCHC tournament – but Monty also has a Natty. Both are good – Montgomery is better. That being said, I hope they pick Quinn and Monty stays another couple of years.


  4. NHL teams generally wait until they see who all the available coaches are, to do interviews. I call bullshit on Monty having already interviewed.


  5. I think hiring Carle would be a high risk (age, experience) and high reward (if he’s successful, we’d have a successful coach for a long time). While I wouldn’t be upset if DU hired Carle, DU just doesn’t NEED to hire a young guy with no head coaching experience. Especially with the additional funding that DU got from the coaching endowment. Of course it also depends on who the other candidates would be. If there are just some average candidates out there, then hire Carle. But If there’s a can’t-miss candidate that’s a low flight risk, then you have to hire him.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Monty already interviewed on April 13th in NYC with the Rangers. It’s been confirmed by a number of very reliable sources. Word is he got along very well with the senior management team who like his player development style with young players, but GM Jeff Gorton is more old school risk-averse. We will see….

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My understanding of college athletics and coaches taking pro jobs tells me Monty leaves now. This is so not set in stone. We might go 15-15 next season. One must take the money while they’re at the top of the heap. His hire by us was outstanding. None of us knew him. He came in and didn’t miss a beat on or off the ice. He didn’t inherit the most talented DU club, but still he got us to the tourney year #1, and we just kept getting better.
    So let’s for a second say Monty goes. We will do a National search and find the best man. It may turn out to be David Carle. Sometimes when you learn from the best, you can continue the predecessor’s success. Peg is leaving, but I want her on the search committee.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. If Monty leaves, has he pretty much set it up so DU would HAVE to hire Carle in order to keep recruits? I worry about this factor playing a disproportionate goal in any decision that DU might have to make.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. DU might lose some recruits if Monty leaves. That’s part of most coaching changes, and If that happens, that’s okay by me- I want players to come to DU who want to be Pioneers and wear the Crimson and Gold no matter who the coach is.

    But I am also realistic enough to know that top college recruits are going to want to play for a head coach that they respect, and that these days, that usually means a head coach has either coached in or played in the NHL. I like David Carle and Tavis MacMillan and most DU fans would be very comfortable handing over the program to those guys for continuity and continuing Monty’s playing style, but the fact remains that neither of those guys has an NHL background. In today’s NCHC, that would be a major concern of mine…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Something, yes. But not the same as being in NHL locker rooms day after day.

        If the job goes to Carle or Travis (Neither one has been a winning HC by the way), they need to at least recruit an assistant with more direct NHL experience, perhaps someone that played here – maybe someone like Drew Shore, Colborne, Weircoch, Donovan, Caldwell, etc.


    1. Recruits who have not signed a LOI would be the only ones at risk to defect. Otherwise, only the AD can release a signed LOI.

      I also think you are building a mountain out of a teeny mole hill, here. Don’t let your imagination get too strong of a hold over any hockey knowledge you have.


  10. why would the gophers hire Motzko if nhl background is such a big deal? being a good college-level coach and a good developer of talent is most important, not having had a cup of coffee in the nhl at some point a long time ago

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Apples and Organes. The Gophers can get the top Minnesotans with almost anyone in charge. It’s still the top destination in the state in terms of top players who grow up there.

    DU doesn’t have a big enough back yard talent pool, and needs to be very strong in Canada and the rest of the US, and that’s where the NHL connections are important.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. In meeting Troy Terry this year, I asked who was the best coach he had been around. Without missing a beat, Greg Brown from BC came out of his mouth. Love the guy and what he has done as a player, NCAA coach and WJC coach is amazing. Plus, Monty keeps us as convenient for him. Kids sense that. Brown could teach Coach Carle art then he could take it over in time


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