UNO's disappointing 4-7-4 start to it's hockey season has fans in a rather ugly mood. With most of the nucleus of last year's NCAA tournament team intact and a returning Hobey Baker finalist in Scott Parse, expectations for this season were high. Bud Bar denizen AJ even went so far to call for coach Mike Kemp's head today.
Fair? Well, in defense of Kemp, the opposition over the last month of the season has included #14 Alaska, #6 Michigoon, #4 Miami, and #5 Notre Dame. UNO has played well at times, but the 1-6-1 record over that murderer's row schedule has UNO behind the eight ball. Still, UNO is #25 in the Pairwise rankings, which means that UNO isn't out of it at this point.
But UNO's spotty play is compounded by a general feeling of unrest and tension within the team that even some of the biggest sunshine pumpers acknowledge. If anything, it seems to be increasing...which when combined with the end-of-season swoon from last spring, raises questions about the direction of the program. The suspensions of 4 players for drinking while on the Miami roadtrip also raises questions about the mindset of the team.
So is it time to make a change? My answer: Not yet. I'm not sure what replacing Kemp mid-season would accomplish; in fact, I get the impression that it would only make things worse this season. (When was the last time any college team changed coaches midseason? I can't think of any examples.)
Also, UNO is just now starting a search for a new athletic director following yesterday's resignation by David Herbster. Who would select a new head coach? Could UNO search for a new head coach while searching for a new athletic director and chancellor? I would argue that each search would be a distraction for the other.
And let's face it, it's still really early in the season; if UNO can solidify it's defense and goaltending and start getting more consistent play, they could turn this around quickly. While the team needs to start playing with a sense of urgency, pressing the panic button isn't going to solve anything.