ORONO, Maine — Dennis “Red” Gendron will be offered the hockey job at the University of Maine on Saturday, according to reliable sources in the hockey community.
Gendron, a former Maine assistant coach during the 1992-93 NCAA championship season and a current assistant at Yale University, the NCAA champions, was one of four finalists along with deposed Ohio State head coach Mark Osiecki, former Black Bear goalie, Colby head coach and current UNH assistant Jim Tortorella and Maine interim head coach Bob Corkum.
Maine athletic director Steve Abbott could not confirm the offer to Gendron but said earlier Friday that he, the seven-member search committee and Dr. Paul Ferguson, the school’s president, had identified their top choice and intended to make an offer this weekend.
The new coach will replace Tim Whitehead, who was fired after 12 seasons at Maine with one year remaining on his $195,000-per-year contract.
Maine has made just one NCAA Tournament appearance over the past six seasons after nine consecutive seasons reaching the tourney.
The 55-year-old Gendron, a native of Berlin, N.H., spent three seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Maine, including the 1992-93 NCAA championship season, before leaving to become an assistant with the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.
Gendron could not be reached for comment.
He spent 11 seasons in the Devils organization, serving as an assistant with the Devils and their AHL affiliate, the Albany River Rats; as a scout and as the head coach of the River Rats in 2002-2003 and 2003-2004, although he was replaced at midseason during his second year.
The Devils won Stanley Cup titles in 1995, 2000 and 2003.
Gendron was the head coach of the Indiana Ice of the USHL in 2004-2005 and then began a six-year stint as an assistant at UMass before leaving to become an assistant at Yale two seasons ago.
When he was named the coach of the Ice, Indiana general manager Josh Mervis, a former Maine assistant, said he pursued Gendron for the job because “[Late Maine coach Shawn Walsh] told me that Red was the best assistant coach he ever had, exclusive of Grant Standbrook.”
Standbrook was Maine’s recruiting coordinator and assistant coach for 18 seasons.
Yale won the school’s first NCAA championship this past season.
Gendron served as an assistant coach with the U.S. Junior National team in three World Championships, has coached several USA select teams and wrote a book called “Coaching Hockey Successfully.”
Gendron, who speaks fluent French, began his coaching career at Bellows Free Academy (Vt.) and won four state championships and two coach of the year honors.
The 44-year-old Osiecki, a native of St. Paul, Minn., played three years of college hockey at the University of Wisconsin before embarking on his pro career. He played on the Badgers’ NCAA championship team in 1989-90.
The ninth-round draft pick of the Calgary Flames played in 93 NHL games.
He began his coaching career at the University of North Dakota in 1996-97 before becoming the head coach/general manager of the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League (Junior A-amateur), where he went 217-146 and won the title in 1999-2000.
He spent six seasons as an assistant at Wisconsin and the Badgers won the NCAA title in 2005-2006. He was then named the head coach at Ohio State and went 46-50-16 in his three seasons before being fired last month even though the team finished fourth in the CCHA after being ninth his first season and tied for eighth in his second.
According to Madison.com, OSU athletic director Gene Smith said, “There was a difference of opinion over the management of the program that could not be resolved.”
Tortorella, a native of Concord, Mass., was part of the first hockey class at Maine during the 1977-78 season. He played four years at Maine and he finished with 1,941 career saves and 38 wins.
He began his coaching career at Brunswick High School before moving on to Augusta’s Cony High School. He was a two-time coach of the year recipient.
Tortorella became an assistant coach at UNH before becoming the head coach at Colby College, where he compiled a 230-138-33 record over his 16 seasons and became the school’s winningest hockey coach.
He was a two-time NESCAC Coach of the Year and a three-time finalist for National Division III Coach of the Year honors. His Mules earned 11 NESCAC playoff appearances and three ECAC playoff berths and went to the NCAA Division III Tournament once.
He was an assistant coach for two U.S. Junior National teams in the World Championships and is a past president of the American Hockey Coaches Association.
He has been the director of player development for USA Hockey affiliates in New England.
Tortorella returned to UNH as an assistant two seasons ago and his brother, John, is the head coach of the New York Rangers and a former teammate of his at Maine.
The Salisbury, Mass., native had an exceptional career as a winger at Maine, collecting 56 goals and 76 assists in 159 career games from 1985 to 1989.
He went on to have an impressive 12-year, 720-game NHL career for seven teams, notching 97 goals and 103 assists.
Corkum began his coaching career as a high school assistant in Massachusetts before moving on to the Portland Junior Pirates and the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs of the Eastern Junior Hockey League. Corkum was the associate head coach of the Monarchs, who were the Tier III Junior A national champions in 2007 and 2008.
Corkum was recently named the head coach of the United States Under-18 Select team that will participate in the 23rd annual Ivan Hlinka Tournament in Slovakia from Aug. 6-10.
He had guided the Under-17 team to a 4-0 record and the Five Nations Tournament championship and has coached the Select 16 team from 2006-2008.