LetsGoDU joins Magness Mayhem to talk Denver Hockey coaching search

We’re about a week and a half removed from the day the news broke that former University of Denver Hockey head coach Jim Montgomery would leave the Pioneers and to the Dallas Stars in the same role. Now that some time has passed and the goodbyes have been said, attention has shifted to who might replace Montgomery behind the bench.

The coaching search is starting to come into focus and decision could be made as early as later this week. It was reported last week that in addition to current assistant David Carle, current UMass-Lowell head coach Norm Bazin, former DU assistant and current Iowa Wild (AHL) head coach Derek Lalonde, and former DU assistant Steve Miller are seen as possible candidates to replace Montgomery. Magness Mayhem confirmed that report earlier this week and added a surprising name to that list in Providence head coach Nate Leaman.

I sat down and talked with Magness Mayhem to digest all of this and make some sense of the search. Head on over to Magness Mayhem to listen to our conversation about the future of Denver Hockey.

You can also click here if you were reading too quickly and missed the link above. It happens.

101 thoughts on “LetsGoDU joins Magness Mayhem to talk Denver Hockey coaching search”

  1. Nick, good timing for this topic. This week will be hot on interviews and either a decision or close to one. I’ll bet you will get upwards to 50 comments here as the week wears on and rumors fly.

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  2. I think Nick and Mayhem get it right. There are five very good candidates here and I will certainly be excited for any of them to get hired here at Denver. Leaman and Bazin have both done wonders with recruiting and developing talent at schools that are a notch below DU in pedigree. Of the two of them, Leaman is the bigger prize since he’s more proven won a recent NCAA title at DU’s expense, and if Leaman chooses DU, I could perhaps see him bring Steve Miller back as his top assistant as he did at PC. But Leaman would cost DU big bucks, since he’s got a great situation in Providence.

    Bazin is also a good choice – he’s done very well as a head coach at Lowell given that it’s branch campus school in a not-so-great area of Massachusetts. He’s also been a CC assistant, so he knows the western recruiting pipeline. He would likely not cost as much as Leaman if he were to leave Lowell.

    Lalonde is intriguing – he was a good assistant here, and has done well in the juniors and minors as a head man. He has a lot of respect and knows DU.

    Miller is a great defensive coach, but I don’t know what kind of offense he would bring, but he’s a great recruiter and knows DU inside and out.

    All that said, I think Leaman and Carle are the guys that would excite me the most of this five man pool. If I have any reservations about either of those guys, it’s a lack of NHL experience that I think is pretty relevant for a program like DU that has to be strong in Canada. Monty had it, and I think it was a difference-maker.

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    1. I like Gwoz, but he is 64 years old now. He had his great 20 year run here already, and I think the game has changed since he’s moved on. You saw what Monty was able to do with Gwoz’ recruits and then his own guys – Monty’s playing style of relentless puck pressure and possession hockey was the difference maker. Gwoz’ style was more traditional dump-and-chase while relying on transition and mobile defense to create mismatches and scoring opportunities.

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  3. After his back-to-backs, seemed like Gwozdecky was more about keeping the penalty box bench warm. He ran some highly-penalized teams for several years there. Besides; why in the hell would he want to come back to his “ex”?? Come on; no money can be that good.

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  4. DU on line job posting states “Bachelor’s degree or equivalent combination of education and professional experience.” I would hope the search committee at least reaches out to him to see if he is interested in the job.

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  5. Dineen should be a candidate for sure, would be really weird/disappointing if Kreech didn’t at least reach out to him/his camp

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  6. I would love for Kevin Dineen to be contacted and considered for this job. I don’t know if DU reached out to him or not to gauge his interest, but he would have been my very first call if I were the search committee.

    That said, Ron Grahame, who had a deep NHL and college hockey background, is likely a key man in the search, and from the sounds of it, DU had done some good due diligence in creating the candidate pool. The trick. of course, is hiring the right one…

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  7. If DU hires Bazin or Leaman, it would be interesting to see if Carle was a candidate for their former coaching jobs or stays at DU. It could be uncomfortable working for the new coach or the new coach may want to hire their own assistants. The fact that this has been a public campaign may make it even more difficult if David does not get the job. Then, if/when Carle goes someplace else to coach, let’s just hope DU doesn’t have regrets because he is likely to be around a long time. Not an easy choice for the athletic department.

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  8. There is a precedent for DU hiring a young coach in his 20s, albeit an old one…

    In 1951, DU hired a 24-year old hockey coach – 1948 US Olympian Neil Celley, the year after Celley graduated from Michigan. Celley took over a two year old DU program from its first coach, Vern Turner, the former rink manager at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. Celley then coached DU for five winning seasons in a row, including a rookie season record of 18-6-1 and a second season record of 17-6-1. But in those days, the NCAA tournament was just a four team tournament and since DU wasn’t selected in those 5 seasons, Celley was replaced by Murray Armstrong in 1956, who promised DU that the Pioneers would NCAA Champions within three years.

    Armstrong keep his promise and won the Natty for DU in his second season, in 1958. He would then spend the next 20+ years building DU into a legendary power en-route to five NCAA titles.

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  9. What about Derek Armstrong?!? He coached the Cutthroats and was the GM. Probably would be a good fit for DU.

    Go Cutty’s!!!

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    1. In 2013, I heard that DU offered the job to Seth Appert first after they agreed on the dollar per year figure. Appert wanted a five year deal, since his kids were still in school, but DU wasn’t willing to offer that many years. BC assistant Greg Brown and BU coach David Quinn (then an assistant at BU) were also in the consideration mix, but in the end, they chose Monty later in the process…

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    1. Viz – your recollection is correct. Appert was able to leverage a new deal at RPI. I’m guessing here, but Appert probably told RPI about DU’s offer, RPI countered with a new contract offer, and Appert probably went back to DU with his demand for more years on the DU offer or he’d withdraw and take the RPI deal. When DU didn’t offer more years on their deal, Appert withdrew from the DU search with a raise from RPI.

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  10. Anyone attend red vest golf tournament Monday? Maybe some of the administrators there gave a glimpse into who they’re zeroing in on?

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    1. I can’t find anything about the tournament on the dp.com web page or social media. They probably didn’t have it and thought nobody will notice. Chalk up another failure to marketing and the external affairs bozo.

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  11. I didn’t see any Marketing surrounding that event, big shocker there. Inside sources I know seem to think they are zeroing in on Killer Miller.

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  12. Although Norm Bazin is my current favorite among the purported candidates, I don’t see it happening, due to salary issues. How the heck is a program such as Lowell able to pay him 500K per year??? I know we have the endowed coaching fund to bolster the funding for a hockey coach, but I doubt that DU would want to get into a bidding war with Lowell where the bidding starts at 500K. Salary aside issues aside, I think he would be a great “get” for DU.

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    1. pay him whatever it takes – he’s won a national coach of the year award and will make this transition seamless! have to guess monty was making OVER $500K if he turned down nhl jobs last summer, just slide that over to bazin

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      1. Bazin is from Western Canada, coached in New England as well the Front Range so his recruiting scope is pretty vast and would be good for DU

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  13. Nick–I appreciate this blog very much, and all you do. So thank you! However, it does seem strange for you to look down on anonymous people citing sources, when your sources who told you that a decision would be made today or tomorrow were apparently wrong. Minor annoyance…resume speculation now.

    Nothing wrong with Lowell…but you have to think that DU can present some serious advantages over Lowell—history of 8 national titles, recruiting advantages, great facilities, cool city, and a first-class athletic department that is very committed to hockey success.

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  14. OK, so LetsGoDu allows people to comment here anonymously. But Nick has a problem with it, so he threatens to “make fun of” anonymous commenters on Twitter. Dude, c’mon. Being a dick to the people that actually read the blog and take the time to comment and foster discussion here is….how should I say…not smart? Love the blog, but you’re coming across as petty. Except for the occassional troll, we’re all DU fans. No need to get all weird on us.

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    1. “Demanding” things of you? Where is the demand in my comment? I’m merely “suggesting” that you not be a dick to the DU fans that read the blog. But hey, beggars can’t be choosers, so you can do what you want.

      (For those not following, you have to read the twitter feed, because comments from here are apparently discussed there.)

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      1. If you’re posting on-line, your comments are open for examination. Especially if they’re silly or objectionable. I find it funny that you’re not brave enough to put your name to a comment and then take issue wirh it when called to the carpet.

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      2. How brave you are, Eric J. Burton. If you are ever so misfortunate to be called to the carpet on Nick J. what’s his name’s Twitter feed, your courage will be remembered and honored. Though I find the initialization of your middle name to be a little cowardly, if I’m being totally honest.

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  15. If you’re curious about what the position pays (paid), nonprofits are required to file public 990s (tax forms) that include the pay of its highest paid and key personnel … but the forms are usually a few years retroactive, newest I found was for the 2015 tax year (which would be filed in 2016) showed Monty made (total comp, including deferred compensation) just over $400k … Tierney was just under that, about $350k. This doesn’t include other income like revenue from camps, consulting, etc.

    http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990_pdf_archive/840/840404231/840404231_201506_990.pdf

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  16. actually, it looks like the 2014, filed in 2015 … Not sure if there’s a newer one out there. Others are welcome to look.

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    1. that’d be for monty’s first year/contract; pretty sure he got a new deal after each of the frozen four appearances plus they have that endowment now from the goodman family so guessing they’d be able to offer bazin $600K – more money in a better city for a program that’s been historically more successful is a pretty sweet offer

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  17. If they follow past tradition at DU, the salary is kept relatively flat and coaches earn more through winning conferences, tournaments and national championships. It has proven to be a winning formula. No way DU offers Bazin a guaranteed $600k salary. Plus, all evidence from Twitter yesterday shows he is not leaving U-Mass.

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      1. That would be my guess. I personally like the current playing style. That being said, all ‘Killer’ does is win.

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    1. Sounds like he’s making more $ in Chicago than DU would be willing to pay, totally different situation than Granato with Detroit/Wisconsin

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  18. Miller’s style is opposite of Montomery’s.. He’s for tactical defensive positioning with planned breakouts for offense.
    Forget it. I go to Magness to watch an exciting hockey game in addition to a win for us.

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  19. Monday, May 21st at 4:00 the job posting expires so unlikely an new entrants after that date. I am guessing they have settled on who they want but there may be some due diligence required before they make an announcement. A Carle-Miller combo would be great. I also like the possibility of adding an assistant with some NHL & Canadian hockey experience if Carle is added. I do wonder why Miller has bounced around so much but I am assured by others that theire are logical reason’s for his various moves.

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  20. seems odd creech is taking so much time on this process if carle is a slam dunk and other “names” aren’t even in consideration

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    1. He (a) just started a couple of weeks ago and (b) has to make this hire good since it’s the biggest he’ll be making for a long time since lax is set for forever with BT & Brown in place. I’m fine cutting Creech some slack in terms of timeline.

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  21. woulda been cool to have new hockey coach announced for alumni weekend but ah well, we have a lacrosse game to watch!

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  22. What about Rich Preston? He’s an assistant for the Ducks now. Think his name was mentioned in 2013.
    Last time around I don’t think Monty was even mentioned until the very end. Who knows who might be out there lurking in the background.
    Gwiz departed on April 1 and Monty arrived April 13–that was quick. Have to think they already had a plan and done some homework before April 1.

    BTW when Wisconsin hired Donato, he was given a date to finish his degree. He did it.

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    1. Just for the record and FWIW, I remember when Jim first came to DU…. they had the Tuesday Night Coaches show on whatever radio sports show – where people phone in questions. A caller asked about him hiring Dave as an asst. and I swear that Jim said in his answer that Carle wouldn’t have been his first choice. I always wondered what he meant by that. But, he did go on to talk about Dave’s good points, and his history with Gwoz, etc. Mind you, this was just after Monty hired Dave. Odd thing to say at the time. Of course things worked out though.

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      1. After thinking more on my above post about the radio show…. I guess I could see Jim’s point of saying that back then. A lot of times, Coaches / bossed come in to a new organization with thier “dream team” already formed in thier mind, sort of. Hot off the USHL Championship…. you get to DU, set up your new desk… and Dave Carle is thrown at you… I’d be like…. wait; what?? Hi I’m Jim; you must be David ???? Or something like that…… I can understand that maybe Jim had other guys pegged for that role. Like I say though….. they damn sure jelled and it all worked out.

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  23. There is an excellent article in College Hockey News re.the blending of NCAA and NHL playing styles. Interestingly it’s not titled that way but rather “Jim Montgomery to the NHL,what does it mean”
    Great stuff. Read it. .

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Been a couple of weeks now, gotta figure it’s down to 1-2 candidates. Sounds like Miller and Carle – maybe the delay is because they’re trying to figure out the best way to have both coaches in the fold and how they’ll divide up duties. Both are good recruiters by the sound of things plus MacMillan is as well so wondering if they’ll do a “co-coach” type of setup – anyone know if this has been attempted elsewhere?

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      1. Cary Eades just won his second USHL Clark Cup with the Fargo Force today. He’s only the fifth coach to win more than one title with two different teams and this was his second in the last four years. Given DU’s recent history of hiring a guy (Montgomery) who didn’t have any strong ties to DU but success in the USHL, would they be open to going after a guy like Eades? -I get it, he was a star player at North Dakota as well as an assistant coach there so not sure his UND ties would sit well with Pios fans but if he came in and was successful, I’m sure DU fans would forgive him for his UND roots.

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  25. ….. annnnnnd…. there it is. I was waiting for Eades to come up. Just what we need – to turn this into a GoonFest…. and you thought UND fans showed up in numbers now??? Hahaha. Hey here’s a better idea – let’s get Scotty Owens in here to run this team.

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  26. Cary Eades is a good hockey coach, but there are compelling non-hockey-related reasons why he got fired back at UND in 2012.

    I don’t see any college program ever hiring him as a head coach.

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  27. i really like the co-coach model with carle and miller. carle could be in charge of offense and miller could run defense.

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      1. Would probably make more sense to name Killer head coach then and have it established that Carle will take over when he retires in a few years. Carle will still be in his 30s and have an even better handle on the program by then.

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    1. Yeah; the Co-Coach thing sounds really lame. I’m not dissing Miller or Carle at all …… but as stated above, SOMEONE needs to be on the hot seat; someone needs to lead the organization, and be king if you will. Having Co-Head Coaches sounds “politically correct” to me. Not everyone gets a trophy… only the winner does. This is not 4th Grade Tball. If 2 head coaches were named, in the wake of the gwoz and Monty eras…there would be a lot of flak from the college hockey world. Someone out there deserves to drive this bus.

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  28. Miller/Carle feels like clinging to the past – gotta move forward like they did with Monty, bring in someone new with energy and a different perspective, otherwise we’ll just be spinning our tires again like at the end of the Gwoz Era. Really hope they hire someone not even mentioned in any of these posts and we’re all surprised.

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      1. Program won a Natty and made 2 frozen four appearances with carle heavily involved, although the only season the team underachieved was this past season so maybe there’s something to fresh blood… i could go either way on the “new voice” argument…

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  29. With Quinn’s exit to the NHL the BU Fan Forum on USCHO looks alot like the comments here. They want college degreed, former BU player, with head coaching experience, who won’t jump at the first NHL offer, leaving a legacy by staying around as long as Jack Parker, who will continue winning tradition by recruiting elite players,and winning Beanpots and National Championships. No one with a BC background need apply.
    BU fans may be even pickier than we are. :-]

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    1. yikes, that’s much tougher! we at least wanted Bazin – who has a CC connection – before he pulled out of the running

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  30. agree with 3:25 – last season was a step backwards since we had a better team than the natty year and couldnt even get to frozen four… new blood might be for the best considering we lost so many great players off of the roster to the pros early.

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  31. I don’t think last year’s team was better than the 2017 team. Remember that in 2017, there was a Hobey Baker winner in Butcher plus 7 other seniors who saw significant playing time and did much of the dirty work – Janssen, Romig, Marcinew, Ritt, Van Voorhis, Hawkinson and Cowley. Last year’s team had star power up front, but I think they missed the leadership and grit of the large senior class the year before.

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    1. Borgstrom was a hobey runner-up last year and they had jaillet coming off of a richter season; coaches should’ve figured out their issues early in the season and addressed them, no way you can say losing to ohio state wasnt bad and that the season on the whole was an underachievment – the only one of monty’s 5 seasons – but still an underachievement

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      1. who held the Pios’ offense in check in 2018 quarterfinals AND in 2015 quarterfinals?… oh yeah – KILLER MILLER, hopefully the next head coach at Denver!

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  32. whoa, forgot about that providence game… miller’s D was pretty effective then and again this year for OSU so getting him back here as HC might not be a bad idea…

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  33. So we get a great DEFENSIVE coach in miller.
    DUH! Offense please. If you don’t know, that’s what happens on the other side of the red line

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