Search for new hockey coach down to final four

After a “rigorous search process” directed by Dr. Steve Cobb, the UAA Athletics Department has nailed its coaching choices down to four men: Chris Brown, Michael Corbett, Gary Heenan, and Damon Whitten.

Each candidate has spent several years coaching hockey at various schools across the nation, with Whitten actually serving as an assistant coach for the Seawolves from 2006-2008.

To make the decision on who will oversee the club next year, UAA is holding public forums for alumni and fans. These forums allow them to meet the coaches and have their questions answered.

This isn’t the first time the school has done a public forum to select a coach. And according to Cobb, it probably won’t be the last, so long as it yields a good turnout. He thinks the format works well for both parties.

“It’s an opportunity for candidates to introduce themselves and tell their story,” said Cobb.

All of the candidates have their own separate forum. The meetings are taking place at the Lucy Cuddy Dining Room on campus. There’s a 6:30-7:00 p.m. session for Seawolf Hockey alumni and a 7:00-7:30 p.m. session for the general public.

Michael Corbett’s event has already occurred. However, three remain: Damon Whitten’s is April 24, Chris Brown’s is April 29 and Gary Heenan’s is May 1.

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It’s tough to gauge how much of an impact the forums will have on the final decision.

“When you’re trying to evaluate candidates you get all the information you can get before you make a decision,” said Cobb. “At the end of the day, this will be some more information to see how the candidates respond to the situation, and how they respond to the alums.”

Cobb described this as being “just another step in their evaluation process,” but he doesn’t expect that process to last too much longer.

He believes the team will have a new head coach within a week after the last candidate’s forum is completed.