ORONO, Maine — Bob Corkum, who has been the associate head coach at the University of Maine for the past five seasons, learned Tuesday that he won’t be back next season.
Corkum was named the interim head coach after head coach Tim Whitehead was fired in April, but new head coach Dennis “Red” Gendron has decided to go “in a different direction,” with new assistant coaches, according to Corkum.
“It’s very disappointing,” said the 45-year-old Corkum. “But I respect Red. I think he’ll do a fine job. He’ll give it everything he has. I understand his need to go in a different direction.
“I came up here with the intentions of helping the program get back to where everyone feels it should be, myself included. I did what I could. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get it to where we hoped it would get,” said Corkum.
Corkum said he would “miss the guys on the team and the fans” and that he would be “very surprised” if next year’s team doesn’t better this past season’s performance.
Maine went 11-19-8 last season, including a 7-12-8 mark in Hockey East play which earned the Black Bears the eighth and final seed for the Hockey East quarterfinals.
They were swept in the quarterfinals by UMass Lowell.
It was the fifth time in six years Maine didn’t make the NCAA Tournament after a run of nine straight appearances. That cost Whitehead his job.
Corkum said he has some “feelers out” involving pro and college jobs.
He said he is interested in the head coaching job at Alabama-Huntsville, a Division I independent that will play in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association this coming season.
Corkum had an outstanding four-year playing career at Maine (159 games, 56 goals, 76 assists) before compiling an impressive 12-year, 720-game NHL career (97 goals, 103 assists).
He coached at the high school level before being the associate head coach of the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs of the Eastern Junior Hockey League. That led him to Maine.
He has had several coaching stints with USA Hockey, including being named the head coach of the U.S. Under-18 team for the Ivan Hlinka Tournament, a weeklong event which will be held in Slovakia in August.
He led the Under-17s to the Five Nations Cup Tournament title last summer in Michigan.
Dan Kerluke, Maine’s other full-time assistant coach last season, announced last week that he was not seeking to return to the team since he decided to start a small business, Double Blue Sports Analytics, a system designed to monitor a goalie’s play.