Boston College assistant Cavanaugh to be named UConn hockey coach; Tortorella, Gendron interview for Maine job

Posted May 07, 2013, at 6:40 p.m.

Bowdoin College graduate Mike Cavanaugh, who has been an assistant coach at Boston College for the past 18 seasons, has entered final negotiations to become the head hockey coach at the University of Connecticut, according to a story in the Hartford Courant.

Deposed University of Denver coach George Gwozdecky and former Providence College assistant David Berard, who was the interim head coach at UConn this past season, were the other finalists.

UConn did have a non-scholarship Division I Atlantic Hockey team but will add the full complement of 18 scholarships and join Hockey East in 2014-15.

ESPN anchor John Buccigross reported via Twitter last week that UConn and Gwozdecky were in intense discussions and there was an “excellent chance” Gwozdecky was going to get the position.

Gwozdecky could now be a candidate for the Maine job vacated by Tim Whitehead, who was fired after 12 seasons as the head coach.

Associate head coach Bob Corkum is serving as the interim head coach and is seeking the full-time job.

Gwozdecky, who was fired at Denver when his contract negotiations broke down despite his 443-267-64 record over 19 seasons, said last month he was interested in the Maine job.

Maine athletic director Steve Abbott said Monday that the hockey search committee had begun interviewing candidates and he hoped to have a list of finalists within two weeks.

Sources have indicated that two of the candidates who have been interviewed are Jim Tortorella and Dennis “Red” Gendron. Tortorella is a former Maine goalie and current University of New Hampshire assistant coach and Gendron is a former Maine assistant coach and current Yale assistant.

Another name that was mentioned was Scott Pellerin, Maine’s first Hobey Baker Award winner (1992) and the current head coach of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders.

Abbott said he couldn’t discuss any developments.

Tortorella and Gendron were contacted by the BDN but had no comment, and Pellerin didn’t return a message.

Tortorella, who was on Maine’s first team in 1977-78 and played four seasons in Orono, compiled a 230-138-33 record in his 16 seasons as the head coach at Waterville-based Colby College and is the school’s all-time career leader in wins. He was a two-time New England Small College Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.

He was a three-time finalist for NCAA Division III national coach of the year. He has been a two-time assistant coach for the United States team in the World Junior championships.

He just finished his second season as an assistant at UNH. Older brother John, his former Black Bear teammate, is the head coach of the NHL’s New York Rangers.

Gendron spent three seasons as an assistant at Maine, including the 42-1-2 NCAA championship team in 1992-93.

His Yale University team won its first NCAA championship last month in his second season as an assistant.

Gendron spent 11 seasons as a scout and assistant coach for the NHL’s New Jersey Devils before a six-year stint as an assistant coach at the University of Massachusetts.

He was an assistant for three USA World Junior Championship teams and was also a head coach/general manager in the United States (Junior-A) Hockey League.

Pellerin spent six seasons as an assistant coach with the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL before becoming the head coach at Bridgeport this past season.

His Sound Tigers went 32-32-7-5 and finished third in the five-team Northeast Division with 76 points.

He was a two-year captain at Maine and had a 536-game NHL career with seven teams, compiling 72 goals and 126 assists before retiring after the 2003-2004 season.

The Maine and Alaska-Anchorage jobs would be the only Division I jobs still open if Cavanaugh is eventually confirmed as the UConn coach.

UAA will begin a second search process after the first one produced four finalists. A new search committee was installed.

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