PDA

View Full Version : Maine Off Season 2011



Pages : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 [31] 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51

amherstblackbear
03-29-2011, 09:28 AM
I don't have much hope that it'll actually happen, but why do you say it's not his decision? I can't claim to have read Abbott's actual job description, but if the AD isn't in charge of hiring/firing coaches, besides fund raising just what is his function? I'm sure the new President would LOVE to have this controversy done and over with by the time he arrives on campus so he could just be the "good guy" who gets to be part of the process of ushering in a new coach and a new era of Maine hockey. I don't think that the AD has any obligation to wait for someone who's not even on the payroll yet, and since this situation occurred on the old President's watch, before he leaves, he should do whatever he can to clear the deck for his successor.

Bucky Badger is right. The Abbott hire makes a lot of sense.

The first thing it means is that Whitehead is not going anywhere for 2 more years. But who didn't know that, already?

The more important thing about the Abbott hire is that it's only for 2 years. I think that means that Abbott and Whitehead just got married. :eek:

What UMaine has really done here is to give itself the flexibility to coordinate national searches for a hockey coach and AD. They've aligned those contracts pretty well.

Not much to do for the next 2 years except to sit back and (try to) enjoy the ride. In a couple years, when it's more realistic to think about the future of Maine hockey, we can only hope that UMaine makes the most of the opportunity it's given itself with the short-term Abbott hire. Don't blow it, guys.

Potato in NH
03-29-2011, 09:56 AM
I would defer to those who know Mr. Abbott about whether or not this is a good hire. I will say, when I read the following quote in the BDN, I was immediately very nervous.

“This is a great match for both the university and for Steve,” said Maine hockey coach Tim Whitehead. “It is a slam-dunk in my opinion."

Timmay's opinion??? Yikes!

MEbear
03-29-2011, 10:02 AM
Bucky Badger is right. The Abbott hire makes a lot of sense.

The first thing it means is that Whitehead is not going anywhere for 2 more years. But who didn't know that, already?

The more important thing about the Abbott hire is that it's only for 2 years. I think that means that Abbott and Whitehead just got married. :eek:

What UMaine has really done here is to give itself the flexibility to coordinate national searches for a hockey coach and AD. They've aligned those contracts pretty well.


Or maybe, seeking to not be unnecessarily controversial just as he begins another political campaign, Abbott will follow James lead and give Timmay another extension on his way out the door? Then we can all have this same conversation again in two years, if there are any of us left who can remember what it's like to go to a hockey game at the Alfond, or still care enough to even log onto this site.

From the article, I got the impression that Abbott wants to raise money and improve facilities and thinks that's a top priority of his job, but I think he's dreaming if he thinks he can find additional donors to support losing teams. If he wants to gain additional supporters of UMaine athletics, he needs to do what he can to give them something to support, and that involves making hard decisions and means coaching/direction changes. Until he grows the cojones to make some coaching changes, I think he's going to be pretty frustrated in trying to raise additional money or improve the athletic facilities as the teams he is asking people to support keep underachieving. Of course the failed coaches and their supporters in the local press are all happy to encourage him to focus on this idea that one of UMaine's big problems is its facilities or location because it implies that THEY are not the biggest part of the problem. He needs to figure out that it's his JOB to be their boss, NOT their friend.

Runsub5
03-29-2011, 10:12 AM
Here's a quote from Ernie Clark in a separate column in today's BDN. The first sentence fits the majority of posters on this thread.:D

"Those who prefer that one of Abbott’s first moves to be firing much of the UMaine coaching staff are likely to be unsatisfied.

Several of those coaches are working under multi-year contract extensions, and it would be a tough sell to seek to raise money for capital improvements while at the same time buying out coaches for hundreds of thousands of dollars and paying new coaches hundreds of thousands of dollars to take their place.

Those coaches who have guided UMaine teams to less-than-stellar finishes in recent years likely will get the chance to improve their job security at least through next year. By that time Abbott and incoming president Paul W. Ferguson will have a chance to collectively make their own assessments and determine what changes are needed to boost not only some of the marquee teams, but the Black Bear persona, gate receipts and alumni relations and the donations that come with them.

Some difficult decisions loom in that regard, to be sure."

amherstblackbear
03-29-2011, 10:37 AM
Or maybe, seeking to not be unnecessarily controversial just as he begins another political campaign, Abbott will follow James lead and give Timmay another extension on his way out the door? Then we can all have this same conversation again in two years, if there are any of us left who can remember what it's like to go to a hockey game at the Alfond, or still care enough to even log onto this site.

Sweet Jeezus that would be depressing.

But I don't know how likely history is to repeat itself. The AD is not a dictator. He still needs support from the university administration to extend anyone. The problem with Blake extending Whitehead was just as much a problem of the university rubber stamping the decision.

It could happen again, but I think the risk is much lower this time. A 2yr contract is a total insult to a legitimate AD candidate. It tells me that the university isn't really taking Abbott seriously. The only reason to hire someone you don't take seriously is if you don't think it's the right time to make a more long-term commitment. To the extent that the next AD could influence their ability to recruit a coach to replace Whitehead, this strikes me as sound thinking. So you keep your cards close to your vest and hire a guy to do a little fundraising dog and pony show for a couple years.

My guess is that the effect of Abbott's hiring on Maine hockey will be minimal (which, of course, is why Whitehead likes it so much).

MEbear
03-29-2011, 10:54 AM
Several of those coaches are working under multi-year contract extensions, and it would be a tough sell to seek to raise money for capital improvements while at the same time buying out coaches for hundreds of thousands of dollars and paying new coaches hundreds of thousands of dollars to take their place.

Those coaches who have guided UMaine teams to less-than-stellar finishes in recent years likely will get the chance to improve their job security at least through next year. By that time Abbott and incoming president Paul W. Ferguson will have a chance to collectively make their own assessments and determine what changes are needed to boost not only some of the marquee teams, but the Black Bear persona, gate receipts and alumni relations and the donations that come with them.

Some difficult decisions loom in that regard, to be sure."

They've got to ask themselves which will make a bigger impression on prospective donors, teams that give them some reason for hope and excitement to point to, or established coaches whose teams have an established history of underachieving. I don't know about how big money donors think, but I do know that if Montgomery and Standbrook were headed back to the Alfond next year, there would immediately be a huge increase in the excitement level within the local community and a lot of long time supporters who have given up their season tix, like myself, would be standing in line to BEG for the privilege of buying season tix again. With a big, well publicized upswing in season ticket sales, and a new sense of excitement about the program, it seems to me that the AD would have a lot better luck at achieving his goal of garnering support for capitol improvements. Attempting to persuade people to make big donations in order to make those improvements in support of losing programs with waning excitement levels will be a pretty tough sell. I can understand that it will be tempting for Abbott to delay in taking any action, but those contracts that are in place are a sunk cost, and he needs to look forward and do what's best for the program and the student athletes and the fans, and NOT necessarily what his golfing buddy with the cute, young, son would like him to do.

amherstblackbear
03-29-2011, 11:02 AM
They've got to ask themselves which will make a bigger impression on prospective donors, teams that give them some reason for hope and excitement to point to, or established coaches whose teams have an established history of underachieving.

They key point in there is that hope and excitement won't fall from the sky. You're going to have to hire it. And you're going to have a hard time hiring it if it doesn't have any idea which AD it will be working for. That's the benefit of aligning the 2 contracts. So that if, miracle of miracles, you get a bite from Coach Hope, you don't lose him once you start trying to reel him in (where's my award for mixing metaphors?). You can make sure that Coach Hope foresees a good working relationship, and isn't scared off by what looks like institutional instability.

walrus
03-29-2011, 11:43 AM
I don't have much hope that it'll actually happen, but why do you say it's not his decision?.
Because there is approx 600,000 dollars involved. The U is going to lose funding in the new budget, would you want the publicity involved in buying out a coach for 600,000 during this economic period. I sure wouldn't.

walrus
03-29-2011, 11:52 AM
How can you read much into what the current coaches say? He is there boss, what are they going to say, he sucks we should have gotten someone else. Abbott was at all the hockey games, usually with his kids who who dressed in Hockey fan gear. They know what Maine hockey used to be about. The only coach I see that this hire benefits is Cosgrove, he has known Steve since since Steve was knee high. So their might be some personal conflict there, I doubt the other coaches are helped by this hire.

amherstblackbear
03-29-2011, 12:09 PM
Right. No coach is going to badmouth his/her new boss to the media. That's insane. But there's a difference between a cautious statement like "I look forward to working with AD X, and to helping him achieve his/her vision for UMaine athletics" and a syrupy statement like "OMG, that's soo awesome."

If you're a coach, and you haven't really been performing, Abbott is not the sort of AD that's going to make you worried. You *want* a business-as-usual AD who'll focus on money and who won't get involved in your business except to ask how he can help. Maybe that isn't a huge benefit for Whitehead, but it's something.

I think the only thing I'm reading into is the contract. And I don't think I'm wrong about it. You don't offer an AD candidate a 2 year contract, and you definitely don't do it if you're someplace like the University of Maine. This guy might be the most wonderful human being in the state. He might give flowers to old ladies as he helps them cross the street while working his BlackBerry to find homes for stray dogs. I'm not trying to insult him. But a 2-year contract tells me that the University basically wants a warm body with a little bit of charisma for a couple years.

We'll see. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe he'll be more than a figurehead.

walrus
03-29-2011, 12:13 PM
Right. No coach is going to badmouth his/her new boss to the media. That's insane. But there's a difference between a cautious statement like "I look forward to working with AD X, and to helping him achieve his/her vision for UMaine athletics" and a syrupy statement like "OMG, that's soo awesome."
.

He has been there for 7 months, this isn't some guy they don't know coming from some other school.

You may right on the contract length. I think they needed someone now, the dept is in disarray, I'm not the only guy who wouldn't give money because of Blake James.

His first order of business should be Stephen King

MEbear
03-29-2011, 12:45 PM
Because there is approx 600,000 dollars involved. The U is going to lose funding in the new budget, would you want the publicity involved in buying out a coach for 600,000 during this economic period. I sure wouldn't.

$600K is only one side of the money equation though. What will the losses be in ticket revenue alone over the next 3 years, both during the regular season and during the lack of playoff participation, and then what will be the decreased value of the Maine hockey "brand," both to fans and prospective players after 3 more years of decline under current leadership? It's not like it's a real easy decision because it does have an easily identifiable cost, but if he's as intelligent as is claimed, he HAS to look at both sides of the equation before making a decision. If he does, I'm pretty confident he'll have to realize that the best thing he can do for Maine hockey, in both a financial sense AND to return it to competitiveness, is to buy out the Whitehead contract ASAP and begin the process of bringing Maine hockey back. The longer he delays, the less he'll have to work with.

BassAle
03-29-2011, 01:14 PM
Sweet Jeezus that would be depressing.
A 2yr contract is a total insult to a legitimate AD candidate. It tells me that the university isn't really taking Abbott seriously.

they can't give him a "real" contract without doing a national search or getting special permission to forgoe the search (al la whitehead). This is so we don't have an extended interm AD that can't do anything but fill a chair while the new president comes on board and then begins the search for a permanent AD. Abbott will be an AD candidate (if he wants) in 2 years if he doesn't completely screw up. But yeah, I don't really see major changes happening.

amherstblackbear
03-29-2011, 01:19 PM
What sense does it make to fire Whitehead if you don't have a replacement lined up? Nobody worth hiring is going to be interested in committing to Maine if he doesn't know who he's going to be working for.

Hiring anything more than a stop-gap replacement is going to take time. The formal search itself is going to take an academic year, and you probably want to spend at least that much time beforehand, maybe working with a headhunter, getting a sense of who might be available and what their concerns are. It's probably going to take a couple years to do it right.

Seems to me that what you're proposing is to spend half a million or more to buy out Whitehead and then slap an interim tag on a current assistant. An assistant who has to know that he's out the door at the end of the assignment, anyway. You can argue "who cares, it's just for a couple years." Sure, it would put a grin on my face. So would the University randomly cutting me a check for half a million dollars. That doesn't mean that either is a smart decision. :)

edit: If Abbott decides to buy out Whitehead tomorrow, and the University runs a slapdash search to get a replacement in time for 2011-12, we might actually make things worse. I may be over-dramatic about this, because I'm a fan, but this is too important to screw up. We've waited years. Let's do this thing, but let's get it right.

walrus
03-29-2011, 02:03 PM
I guess I have alot more faith in my fellow Oronian:D then you guys do. I doubt he keeps his job with Collins for all those years being a dummy. I also doubt he takes the job as AD thinking who cares in 2 years I'm going to run for office. I'll guarantee he isn't Blake James so that has to count for something:D. I also don't believe he is going to run any coaches out of town this year. Get over it, wish in one hand, poop in the other, it ain't happenin'. I'll bet Blodgett is history next year, Timmay will be on the hot seat once again but I'll bet he keeps his job after next season also.

MEbear
03-29-2011, 02:05 PM
What sense does it make to fire Whitehead if you don't have a replacement lined up? Nobody worth hiring is going to be interested in committing to Maine if he doesn't know who he's going to be working for.

Hiring anything more than a stop-gap replacement is going to take time. The formal search itself is going to take an academic year, and you probably want to spend at least that much time beforehand, maybe working with a headhunter, getting a sense of who might be available and what their concerns are. It's probably going to take a couple years to do it right.

Seems to me that what you're proposing is to spend half a million or more to buy out Whitehead and then slap an interim tag on a current assistant. An assistant who has to know that he's out the door at the end of the assignment, anyway. You can argue "who cares, it's just for a couple years." Sure, it would put a grin on my face. So would the University randomly cutting me a check for half a million dollars. That doesn't mean that either is a smart decision. :)

edit: If Abbott decides to buy out Whitehead tomorrow, and the University runs a slapdash search to get a replacement in time for 2011-12, we might actually make things worse. I may be over-dramatic about this, because I'm a fan, but this is too important to screw up. We've waited years. Let's do this thing, but let's get it right.

Worse?! After the summer off, our group of players showed up on campus and soon, convincingly swept UND, but 6 months later, after a season of Whiteheads "coaching," they're not even in the same league as the UND's of college hockey. How could anyone possibly be any worse unless he was just as bad with a 4 year contract?

Nobody is going to have serious talks and UMaine can't hire a headhunter to make "discrete" inquiries until Whitehead is gone. College hockey is too small a fraternity and Timmay would hear back the minute anyone started inquiring if potential replacements were interested in the Maine job. Any transition is more difficult than keeping the status quo, but sometimes it's worth it. There are a few other schools right within Hockey East who fired their coaches this year and I'm willing to bet that they both will have hired a decent replacement within just a few months. Right now, because people still remember Maine's winning history and our historic high level of fan support that is currently fading fast, the Maine job would probably be considered more desirable so we could get a higher quality applicant than they can, but 3 more years removed from excellence, putting the word out that the Maine job is vacant might not stir up very much excitement and our descent into mediocrity will be made permanent.

MEbear
03-29-2011, 02:13 PM
I guess I have alot more faith in my fellow Oronian:D then you guys do. I doubt he keeps his job with Collins for all those years being a dummy. I also doubt he takes the job as AD thinking who cares in 2 years I'm going to run for office. I'll guarantee he isn't Blake James so that has to count for something:D. I also don't believe he is going to run any coaches out of town this year. Get over it, wish in one hand, poop in the other, it ain't happenin'. I'll bet Blodgett is history next year, Timmay will be on the hot seat once again but I'll bet he keeps his job after next season also.So, you've got faith in Abbott, but you also think he'll keep Whitehead around for at least 2 more years. Just what do you mean by saying that you have faith in him? Faith that he'll maintain the losing, Blake James, status quo as far as Maine hockey goes? How is that an improvement?

sandiegoblkbr
03-29-2011, 02:30 PM
Or maybe, seeking to not be unnecessarily controversial just as he begins another political campaign, Abbott will follow James lead and give Timmay another extension on his way out the door? Then we can all have this same conversation again in two years, if there are any of us left who can remember what it's like to go to a hockey game at the Alfond, or still care enough to even log onto this site.

From the article, I got the impression that Abbott wants to raise money and improve facilities and thinks that's a top priority of his job, but I think he's dreaming if he thinks he can find additional donors to support losing teams. If he wants to gain additional supporters of UMaine athletics, he needs to do what he can to give them something to support, and that involves making hard decisions and means coaching/direction changes. Until he grows the cojones to make some coaching changes, I think he's going to be pretty frustrated in trying to raise additional money or improve the athletic facilities as the teams he is asking people to support keep underachieving. Of course the failed coaches and their supporters in the local press are all happy to encourage him to focus on this idea that one of UMaine's big problems is its facilities or location because it implies that THEY are not the biggest part of the problem. He needs to figure out that it's his JOB to be their boss, NOT their friend.

Great post!

Fundraising will fail miserably if the current (coaching) situations and the losing continues........end of story.

walrus
03-29-2011, 02:34 PM
So, you've got faith in Abbott, but you also think he'll keep Whitehead around for at least 2 more years. Just what do you mean by saying that you have faith in him? Faith that he'll maintain the losing, Blake James, status quo as far as Maine hockey goes? How is that an improvement?

He didn't sign the guy to a contract, he has to live with it because the money isn't there to do what you want. I have faith he is going to raise money, I have faith he'll make every attempt to get Stephen King back as a donor. I have faith he'll get more resources for the Hockey Team. But the reality is, Tim has a 3 year contract that should have never happened and now we're stuck. You can talk about all the money they lose till you're blue in the face. My understanding is the money was there to buy him out 2 years ago and the President said no. Unless the new President is Dale Lick jr. I see a private buyout as the only chance to get rid of Tim and even then it might not happen. All this talk is premature without knowing what the new president thinks of Athletics and how important a nationally recognized team is to him and his vision for the U.


let me ask a question, what would cause a greater drop in donation revenue for the Athletic dept, dropping football or dropping hockey?

sandiegoblkbr
03-29-2011, 02:35 PM
They've got to ask themselves which will make a bigger impression on prospective donors, teams that give them some reason for hope and excitement to point to, or established coaches whose teams have an established history of underachieving. I don't know about how big money donors think, but I do know that if Montgomery and Standbrook were headed back to the Alfond next year, there would immediately be a huge increase in the excitement level within the local community and a lot of long time supporters who have given up their season tix, like myself, would be standing in line to BEG for the privilege of buying season tix again. With a big, well publicized upswing in season ticket sales, and a new sense of excitement about the program, it seems to me that the AD would have a lot better luck at achieving his goal of garnering support for capitol improvements. Attempting to persuade people to make big donations in order to make those improvements in support of losing programs with waning excitement levels will be a pretty tough sell. I can understand that it will be tempting for Abbott to delay in taking any action, but those contracts that are in place are a sunk cost, and he needs to look forward and do what's best for the program and the student athletes and the fans, and NOT necessarily what his golfing buddy with the cute, young, son would like him to do.

Again......great post.

I know that their hands are tied somewhat (financially) but it really does seem like the adminitration is in la-la land as it concerns the hockey program. Do they know how much revenue that their cash cow is now losing (and has been losing for the last few years)???? Does anyone know Economics 101???? The BIG problem right now is Kennedy......lame duck or not, he is STILL in charge.......and STILL clueless IMO.