First two hockey coach forums in the bag
The search to replace Dave Shyiak is in full effect. The first two candidates have officially wrapped up their public forums. Like athletic director Steve Cobb has stated before, the influence these events have on the upcoming decision is up in the air.
Regardless of influence, the forums give fans, alumni and boosters a look into the mindset of the four options that remain. Here’s some insight from the two potential coaches that were here Monday and Wednesday.
Corbett has logged his last 10 years with the Air Force Academy Falcons. He spent nine seasons as an assistant before getting bumped up to associate head coach in 2012. The Falcons were 17-13-7 in his first go-round in the new role.His playing background is rich, too. Corbett was a three-year letterman at the University of Denver in the mid-‘90s. The defensemen also served as an assistant captain for several years.
Corbett isn’t under the impression he’d be inheriting a powerhouse if given the job. He worked in an analogy about playing small ball with the team. Rather than cranking out home runs, he’d prefer to “hit singles” and “drive in runs.”
Naturally, the former defensemen is also locked into having a tight and active defense. The ‘Wolves gave up 3.69 goals a night last year, so that mentality could be useful.
The most refreshing part of the forum may have been Corbett’s realistic take on the current hockey program.
He knows there will be hard times. He understands recruiting is an uphill battle in Alaska, and that the school doesn’t offer state-of-the-art facilities. But most importantly, he knows he’s ready to do whatever it takes to prosper despite those disadvantages.
Whitten is visiting Anchorage from Houghton, Mich., where he’s an assistant coach for the Michigan Tech Huskies. But the area is no mystery to Whitten, who served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at UAA from 2006-08.
Like Corbett, Whitten has an impressive background as a player. He spent four years under the legendary college hockey coach, Ron Mason, at Michigan State. He left Lansing having earned three Academic All-Big Ten Team selections as a Spartan.
Whitten understands the work that needs to be done to get the Seawolves back in contention. At his public forum Wednesday, he stressed the need for aggression both on and off the ice.
“We’re going to get involved with the best players out there,” said Whitten in regard to his recruiting approach.
Those players better have good cardio, because Whitten is looking to construct the Denver Nuggets of college hockey. He wants to control games by “playing with the puck” and attacking teams with an up-tempo brand of hockey. His ideal club is skilled, fast and furious.
Whitten made it clear that he plans on implementing his style from day one. Making that transition won’t be easy, though.
As Whitten said himself: “It’s a process.”
The final two coaching candidates will hold their forums this week with Gary Heenan’s at 7 p.m Wednesday in the Lucy Cuddy Dining Room.