The search for a new women’s ice hockey head coach will begin next month, according to University of Maine athletic director Karlton Creech.
A search committee will be appointed then to choose the new coach.
Maria Lewis resigned as the coach on Oct. 31 after violating NCAA rules pertaining to countable athletic-related activities. There were excess practice times and workouts supervised by a coach when they were supposed to be captain’s practices without a coach.
Lewis compiled a 34-52-15 record and was in her fourth year directing the program.
Newlywed assistant coaches Richard and Sara (Simard) Reichenbach were named interim co-head coaches.
Following an 0-12-4 start, Maine went 7-8-1 over its final 16 games, including a season-ending 3-2 triple-overtime loss to Vermont in their Hockey East quarterfinal in Burlington, Vt.
Creech said he wants to get his first 90 days on the job completed before beginning the search for the new women’s hockey coach. His 90th day falls on May 11.
He said he was pleased with the job turned in by the Reichenbachs and hoped they would apply for the position.
“They did a great job under a difficult situation,” said Creech. “The team did very well academically, and they made progress on the ice. They had a nice sweep at UConn (4-1, 5-2) and then went triple overtime at Vermont.”
Creech said the committee will be looking for a coach who will prioritize academics as well as on-ice performance, have a healthy rapport with the players and will be involved in the community.
The new coach will inherit a program that has had just one winning season over the last eight campaigns. That came in 2011-12 when the Black Bears went 17-11-6 overall and 11-8-2 in Hockey East. Lewis was named Hockey East’s Co-Coach of the Year.
The 17 wins tied the school single-season record and the 11 Hockey East wins were the most in school history.
Lewis received a three-year contract extension effective July 1, 2012 and earned $45,000 per year.
Maine will return seven of its top 10 scorers and all three goalies. Eleven of Maine’s top 19 point-getters were freshmen and sophomores.