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Chuck Murray
03-29-2010, 09:52 PM
Dear Coach Umile:

It is very much with mixed feelings that I've decided to write to you in this manner, and I truly hope that you take my thoughts with good grace and an even temperament. As a long-standing UNH Hockey fan and supporter going back almost 35 years now, I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly, and I can say without qualification that no one has been more responsible for the good moments than you. And that's no small accomplishment, as you've had to eclipse the Hall of Fame career your former coach and long-time mentor Charlie Holt to make that claim ... although I know you'd never make such a claim, given your modesty and your great reverence for Coach Holt. But as unlikely as that all may have seemed to have been when you first took the head job at UNH just over 20 years under less-than-ideal circumstances, it is now very much a reality, and ALL UNH Hockey fans owe you a great debt for all you have done to first restore the UNH program to the heights attained by Coach Holt, and in fact eventually surpass your great mentor's achievements.

You've earned the right to call your shots, and although some would call for your unceremonial dismissal from the program and institution that owes you so much ... I'm not going to be one of those folks. As someone who's been involved in coaching over 700 games in the last decade, and coached both teams that have experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat in their last games of the season in tournament competition, I can at least begin to appreciate the amount of hard work and dedication required to have had the impact on your program that you've undeniably had.

I'm sure you would agree that some of the most important lessons any coach can stem from adversity, and when things don't turn out the way you'd like them to. You were already well on your way towards the top when your health became an issue in the late '90's. But you adjusted and overcame those problems, and took UNH to the next level in the years that followed. And after coming oh-so-close in '99, you made some other adjustments to take UNH to the pinnacle of its long hockey history in the '02-'03 seasons.

The years that have followed have hardly been a fall from grace ... but it's admittedly been a stretch where your teams have seemingly fallen back from the edge of glory that you had consistently gotten them to on either side of the millennium. There have been several "false dawns" that ended badly in the final game of the season, and the hope and faith placed in you and your teams by the UNH faithful has gradually waned ... as you can sometimes see (and no doubt often hear) up in the stands, at the arena that someday may rightfully bear the names of you and your legendary mentor. Things have gone stale. You are not a self-centered and ego-driven man. You are not blind. You can see/feel the gradual backslide of your beloved program, and you want more than anything else to arrest that backslide.

You now have the opportunity to learn one final lesson from your mentor, and it's the lesson of the graceful transition to cap off a fabulous UNH career, and to ensure that the Holt-Umile legacy lives on in Durham for generations to come. You know how the end of Coach Holt's UNH career saw a program fester at the bottom of Hockey East in its early years, and then struggle with tragic circumstances during Coach Kullen's all-too-brief UNH career. It took you almost a decade to rebuild things, but the school had seen enough of your promise to have invested in the Whittemore Center when you'd first begun to return the program to its former prominence. You've rewarded the university several times over for that faith and commitment to the program you'd put back on the map, and eventually took to its apex a few years ago.

You know that the program is badly in need of fresh blood and leadership, and you know that's the only piece that Coach Holt failed to successfully navigate. The best part is that the options are out there, and several were your most reliable and inspirational players in the "glory years". They are doing what you did after your UNH playing days ended ... whether it be as college assistants or high school head coaches, there are people out there that you know and love, and know you can trust, just as people who knew and trusted you eventually gave you a chance to succeed your mentor.

You have always been loyal to your assistants, and I know that setting up things for the future in a way that might not involve them causes you no shortage of consternation. At the end of the day, that might be the most difficult hurdle for you to negotiate here. But you can see as plain as the nose on your face that the talent that used to come to Durham isn't at the same level it's been for quite awhile. And you and your assistants aren't getting any younger. You know this is the best argument for "new blood".

And just as Coach Holt was always there for you after he stepped away from the limelight ... you can be there for your chosen successor(s). It can be a gradual transition - one that would allow you to re-assure yourself and your school that you've made the right choice(s), and one that would allow your would-be successor(s) not to have to dive in at the deep end - a luxury you certainly were not afforded when you took over 20 years ago.

In any case ... that you've earned the right to continue to be calling the shots for your beloved program is in my mind undeniable. UNH has shown unshakeable faith in you over the years, and all in all, that has been for the best of the program and the university. You have benefitted from that trust and faith, and you know you owe it to your beloved program not to allow it to backslide in the final years of your glorious career. Everything you've done at UNH has surpassed the accomplishments of your legendary mentor, and it only would be fitting for you to cap off an amazing legacy to the UNH program to succeed now in the only area where Coach Holt arguably failed.

You know this has to be done. Please do the right thing, Coach Umile. :)

Sincerely,

Chuck Murray
Self-appointed WIS President-for-Life
Long-time admirer of Coach Dick Umile

Carmine Scarpaglia
03-29-2010, 09:54 PM
Whoa. Welcome back Chuck.

dggoddard
03-29-2010, 09:58 PM
Anybody got the CliffsNotes version?

thecomicbookguy
03-29-2010, 10:09 PM
Anybody got the CliffsNotes version?

Chuck thinks Umile is awesome, but might be time for him to go (on his own terms).

Red Cloud
03-29-2010, 10:11 PM
Anybody got the CliffsNotes version?

It wasn't THAT long. If that was serious, you may have serious attention deficit issues.

ChiefWahoo
03-29-2010, 10:13 PM
Chuck thinks Umile is awesome, but might be time for him to go (on his own terms).

I couldn't tell if he wants Umile to step down or to shake up the coaching staff.

thecomicbookguy
03-29-2010, 10:25 PM
I couldn't tell if he wants Umile to step down or to shake up the coaching staff.
Yeah, I guess it's less of "might be time to step down", and more "might be time to start the process of stepping down".


It wasn't THAT long. If that was serious, you may have serious attention deficit issues.
And it was nicely formatted in paragraphs, not just one big block of text, like when some people post.

Chuck Murray
03-30-2010, 07:56 AM
I couldn't tell if he wants Umile to step down or to shake up the coaching staff.

What I want is not the point. I think it's up to Coach Umile.

But I do think he has to make some serious decisions NOW about his future, and that of the UNH program. Otherwise, he runs the risk of letting things continue to slide in the current direction, which would run the large risk of undoing all of the hard work he's done over the last two decades.

If he just stubbornly sticks to the current course he's plotted, we very well could see UNH back in the same unenviable position we did in the mid-'80's.

And if he thinks the empty seats at The Whitt are merely a function of the economy ... that would be uncharacteristically self-serving and plain wrong.

Simply put ... the energy and "buzz" that used to be a given around the UNH hockey program is slowly but surely ebbing away. People have noticed, and folks are probably right to think that it's unlikely to be turned around solely by a head coach approaching retirement age, and his long-time assistants, who (with all due respect) seem to have hit the ceilings of their capabilities.

ALL of the current staff have been tremendous stewards of the UNH hockey program. They ALL deserve our respect and appreciation.

But UNH has done very well by Coach Umile and his staff as well, and I think it's time for Coach Umile to acknowledge that, and begin to engage in some serious analysis about what role he would like to play in re-invigorating the program that he's dedicated more than half of his adult life to bettering.

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. :(

UMLFan
03-30-2010, 08:12 AM
It wasn't THAT long. If that was serious, you may have serious attention deficit issues.
Agreed. Hell, it was rather well-written even, you could even say much too well for this message board. ;)

unhpuckfan2001
03-30-2010, 09:53 AM
Excellently written, Chuck. You removed emotion from your writing, without removing passion and emotion from the ideas behind it. Passion and emotion are what brought UNH hockey to where it's at now.

I, for one, don't think the time is right for Coach Umile to step down, because I do not think either of the assistant coaches would be an heir apparent. I have said many times before that I would like to see UNH go after a new assistant coach (Pat Foley keeps coming to mind). They wouldn't need to make it public, but this new, younger assistant could be the 'heir apparent' to Coach Umile's position.

However, the most important point of Chuck's letter was that Coach Umile has to at least start thinking about the future.

goblue
03-30-2010, 10:19 AM
I don't know Coach Umile, but have followed this program since (ahem, 1973). I'd bet that Chuck merely put words to thoughts that must be already on Umile's mind. He has seen the good and the bad, the electric atmosphere at the Whitt as well as the blown fuse. He has watched other teams steadily improve, and in some cases grab glory, while his has not, and is now 7 years removed from the last Frozen Four appearance-- representing a third of Umile's head coaching career at UNH.

And don't you think that on the morning after the final loss of each season, as he stands before the mirror to shave, and as he looks deeper, beyond the face that betrays his anguish and fatigue, he sees his chances of achieving that same glory diminishing?

Of course he does. His quest must be both a personal one as well as professional. While he has been recognized as Coach of the Year many times while competing in the same conference as York and Parker, is there anyone who doubts that, until and unless his team wins a national title, Umile will never be regarded as an equal?

The question is, does the mirror reveal to him what he must do, if he wants to bring the ultimate and indisputable recognition to both UNH hockey and himself, and will he do it?

Slasher7
03-30-2010, 10:33 AM
From an outsider, it's interesting that this post comes out the day Boston College fires baskeball coach Al Skinner for underperforming. I dont think Umile should be fired, but I think he's close to running his course up at UNH. Can't argue with his success, but he seems to have plateaued up there.

WildShawn
03-30-2010, 10:34 AM
From an outsider, it's interesting that this post comes out the day Boston College fires baskeball coach Al Skinner for underperforming. I dont think Umile should be fired, but I think he's close to running his course up at UNH. Can't argue with his success, but he seems to have plateaued up there.

Did they not fire Skinner because he interviewed at St. John's?

Slasher7
03-30-2010, 10:35 AM
I competing in the same conference as York and Parker, is there anyone who doubts that, until and unless his team wins a national title, Umile will never be regarded as an equal?



York and Parker are two of, if not, THE best coaches in college hockey history. I don't think Umile would be considered an equal to them unless he wins several titles and has a 30+ year tenure as a HC.

Slasher7
03-30-2010, 10:37 AM
Did they not fire Skinner because he interviewed at St. John's?

No, Skinner was fired last Wednesday and the school honored his request to keep it quiet until after his interview with St. Johns. He interviewed with St. Johns because he was unemployed.

PSW
03-30-2010, 10:42 AM
Some of you guys might want to be careful what you wish for..........new coaches doesn't necessarily mean more success. The program easliy could turn in the UMass and UML of Hockey East........I would hate to see the thread then... whoa ha!

acs64
03-30-2010, 10:46 AM
Geezus H Cehrist Chuck, I would think raising your kidz would have taught you that less words is better....some habits never die.:) Howya been?

You gotit all wrong as usual...keep Umile, he's doing a fine, fine job :):)....but I wish he and his crew would stay off NCAA probation........roflmao :D

WildShawn
03-30-2010, 10:48 AM
No, Skinner was fired last Wednesday and the school honored his request to keep it quiet until after his interview with St. Johns. He interviewed with St. Johns because he was unemployed.

ah, right on

satyking
03-30-2010, 10:58 AM
Remember we at PC hated what Pooley was doing here.....so we got Army who is about to lose his 100th game ..... we are so blessed

WildShawn
03-30-2010, 11:02 AM
Remember we at PC hated what Pooley was doing here.....so we got Army who is about to lose his 100th game ..... we are so blessed

Well, Umile lost his 100th game years ago (in fact, he's up to 234), so what does that have to do with anything?