Monday, February 26, 2007

Coaching Hot Seat

As the season winds to a close, here's a look at some of the coaches that are on the "hot seat," so to speak, and are at risk of possibly losing their job.

Scott Paluch, Bowling Green

Paluch looked like he had things heading in the right direction at Bowling Green. The team's record improved in his second and third season, including a .500 overall record in year three. But after the graduation of goalie Jordan Sigalet, the Falcons have struggled. This year, the Falcons finished the regular season at a dismal 7-27-2, which is the second worst record in college hockey.

The Falcons have struggled to find consistent goaltending since Sigalet left, and have been hurt by early departures. This year's team was without top forward Alex Foster, who scored 51 points last season, and Jonathan Sigalet, who would have been one of the team's top defenseman.

This is the last year of Paluch's contract, and the Falcons may choose to go in a different direction.

Troy Jutting, Minnesota State

This is very similar to the situation in Bowling Green, in that Minnesota State was a team that was victimized by an unusual amount of early departures, and didn't have the depth to recover. Jutting, like Paluch, is also in the final year of his contract.

On one hand, Jutting has done an excellent job this season, given the situation he was put in. The Mavericks were projected to finish 9th in the WCHA, and will finish between 6th and 8th, depending on the last weekend of the season. They finished just two points behind their league total from last season, despite losing 4 of their top 5 scorers.

On the other hand, Jutting has had just two winning seasons in 7 years with the Mavericks, which has led to discontent among some fans.

Jutting's saving grace may be his history with Minnesota State, where he was a player, then came up as a graduate assistant and assistant coach before getting the head coaching job. It's more likely that he'll get the benefit of the doubt from school administration.

Jim Culhane, Western Michigan

It seems like Culhane has been on the hot seat forever. It was almost a given that he would be let go after this season when Western was picked to finish in the basement of the CCHA again. But Western found a way to sneak all the way up to 6th place in the CCHA. A decent conference season, and winning a first round play-off series at home may be enough to buy Culhane a little more time at Western.

I couldn't find any specific mention, but I think this is also the final year of Culhane's contract.

Rick Comley, Michigan State

This would have sounded silly a couple weeks ago, but Michigan State's recent struggles mean they may need to win the CCHA tournament to get into the NCAA tournament.

I've heard some rumblings that athletic director Ron Mason is not happy with the hockey team's performance and a change could be made. There's also a possibility that Comley will leave after next year, with Ron Mason, when Mason's contract as athletic director expires.

Scott Sandelin, Minnesota-Duluth

This won't happen, but it probably deserves mention. After making the Frozen Four three years ago, Duluth has had three pretty bad seasons. They were able to sneak out of the WCHA cellar this season, but certainly expectations were much higher than that.

Sandelin's job should be pretty safe though, because he signed a three-year contract last summer, and Duluth probably couldn't afford to buy out the last two years of that contract.


Anonymous said...

I would take any of those over Don Lucia. Lucia lost his hunger a few years ago and is on autopilot. Someone like Jutting would bust his butt at Minnesota and get the most out of his players. Lucia's method is to ridicule. Any moron can do that.

green hornet said...

It is harder to coach too many chiefs and not enough Indians than the other way around.

BobC said...

I wouldn't fire Comley just yet. Granted, 2-4-1 over their last seven games is nothing to be proud of, but perennially finishing in the CCHA's top 4, getting to the NCAA tournament year in-year out, as well as being the only CCHA team to advance to the 2nd round of the NCAAs, those are positive marks. However, if Michigan State fails to make the NCAAs this year, then tighten the noose...

Anonymous said...

I agree that Jutting and Paulich are in the hot seat. Both have had ample time to work with and less than moderate expectations to meet, both have (aside from a twinkle here and there) failed. I'd like to see Troy Ward take over at Mankato getting him back in the WCHA, and Rob Blake (provided he retires) at Bowling Green. REdiculous, I know.

Goon said...

I would predict that Jutting is going no where. I think Mav's fans should cut him some slack, can you imagine how good the Mavericks would have been if Backus was in the line this season? You can't replace that type of player, the kid is playing with the Blues in the NHL and scoring goals.

Anonymous said...

Who would be on the hot seat if Bowling Green beat UNO?

Anonymous said...

Jutting needs to go. He isn't producing enough winning seasons for the mavericks and a change needs to be made. Don't play the "well he lost a bunch of guys to the pros" card. Look at the gophers, or UND, they lost more than mankato and are contenders every year. Granted UM and UND are big marquee schools but i think recruiting needs to be better and a new coach might be able to bring in a fresh new crop of talet.

Scott said...
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