Thursday, October 16, 2008

Kemp's Seat Getting Warm?

This is a story that has kind of flown under the radar, but there has been some growing discontent in Omaha over the lack of growth and success of the UNO hockey program. The Mavericks play in one of the largest, nicest buildings in college hockey, and there has been some serious money poured into the program over the years, but despite this, UNO hasn't accomplished much besides the occasional trip to Joe Louis Arena and one NCAA tournament appearance.

The blame for the constant mid-table finishes is starting to be directed at head coach Mike Kemp, who has led the Mavericks in all 12 years of their existence as a Division I program. Tom Shatel of the Omaha World-Herald talked with UNO Chancellor John Christensen about his expectations for the program, and Christensen's answer sounds like a stern wake-up call to Kemp:
"I want our hockey team in the top four in the conference as a standard," Christensen said. "We have spent 12 years building this program. Now it's time to be competitive at that level. I would like to win conference championships. I want to go to the Frozen Four. I think those ought to be our standards.

"Mike has shown he can build a good program. But there are builders and there are finishers. It's time to deliver."
When asked if that was an ultimatum, Christensen said:
"If we don't start meeting that standard, we will sit down and have some serious discussions after this season," Christensen said. "There will be changes. I'm not prepared to say at this moment what that will be. A lot of things go into a season and how it plays out.

"Our team lost a lot of talent. But every team loses talent. It's time for our program to play at a high level."
I don't think I saw anybody brave enough to pick UNO to finish in the top 4 this season, meaning Kemp may have some serious questions to answer at the end of this season.


stickboy1956 said...

Blais to the rescue???

Anonymous said...

Hastings back to Omaha???

Anonymous said...

quinn for sure

Anonymous said...

You have to admire the Chancellor's ambition and high standards for UNO hockey, but he needs a reality check. Frozen Four...ain't gonna happen. UNO can be competitive, but they don't get the caliber of recruits to be an elite program. There's no brand name for hockey and no national reputation, much less intl draw for Canadian kids.

Anonymous said...

Hastings people. The writing has been on the wall for quite some time. Wonder why he moved to college hockey this year? If I was a betting man........

Anonymous said...

The Chancellor has lost his mind. Breaking into the Top 4 in the CCHA is no small feat. Breaking the Top 6 in the CCHA isn't, either. Michigan and Michigan State are perrenials, and Miami and Notre Dame are up.

Notre Dame has finally used their resources wisely to build their program, something UNO's Chancellor needs to look into.

As for Hastings, that would be a huge detriment to local hockey in Omaha. While running the Lancers, Hastings did nothing to attempt to bring in local talent, or even allow it to develop in the system. Beyond that, Hastings didn't run a clean program.

Kemp has run a clean program, promotes hockey at the local level, and is the face of the program. He has done so, through the reign of 3 chancellors, and 6 athletic directors -- and aren't the ADs supposed to be the people making these statements?

I certainly hope the Chancellor knows what he is doing. This can't be dragged out. If Kemp goes, the replacement needs to be named the next day -- as in, the perfect guy needs to be in line. Maybe it is Blais, but is he even interested?

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding about Hastings!!!! Talent attracts talent and Hastings was the best in Junior Hockey. Kemp is not! He had talent with Parse and Thomas there and honestly he had strong teams the following years. He should have been able to attract even stronger talent when he had Parse, Thomas as recruiting tools! JC hit the nail on the head, produce a top team or move on! Notre Dame did it in one season and it can be done at UNO. To get to the top you need to best coach available.

Anonymous said...

Hastings was detrimental to the development of youth hockey in Omaha, because he felt local players couldn't handle the pressure and he didn't want pressure from parents he had to deal with. Hastings never respected the city of Omaha, and because of that, his players never have, either.

Everyone wants a winner, but at what cost? Ask SMU football fans about winning at all costs.

Anonymous said...

I was reading this and the last comment from Mr. Anonymous is not true at all. We housed Lancer players for 6 years, 4 different guys. To say the guys did not respect Omaha is a complete lie. Look at the number of Lancers still living here. If you are close to the subject you will know who they are. I know of at least 10 from the years we housed that have a house here, or come here in the off season when they are not playing. The guys who do not live here still come to visit. Before you go out on a limb like that and say those guys do not respect the city, why don't you try meeting some of them and find out what they really think of Omaha.
Hastings was doing his job, if the kids in Omaha were not good enough, they shouldn't make the team. Both Ortmeyers played, and they grew up right in the Aksarben area. I do not care if Hastings get the job or not, but I do care that someone who obviously does not know the guys gets on here and runs his mouth saying the guys do not respect Omaha.