In light of Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi's declaration of interest in Dean Blais, UNO quickly moved to extend Blais' contract for two additional years. Standard policy in college athletics: hot, desirable coach starts getting feelers from other programs, and the coach gets a contract extension. In this case, the extension is well deserved. At the end of the season, UNO was playing about as well as anybody in college hockey. Does it mean an end of Blais/Minnesota talk? Only for 2010. If Don Lucia gets fired in Minnesota (some would argue "when Lucia gets fired"), Blais is sure to be on the Gophers short list.
And when that happens, the onus is on Trev Alberts to make UNO a more desirable job. UNO won't be able to match the tradition of Minnesota in hockey or the lure of Blais' alma mater. But UNO can offer Blais the opportunity to build a program to a premier level. UNO is putting the pieces into place to keep Blais: facilities and a support staff that might be enough to convince Blais to stay put. Especially once he feels that he's close to making it happen in Omaha.
As Trev Alberts said last week, it's a good thing to have others interested in your coach. That means you've got the right people in place. The trick is keeping them, and Trev Alberts is doing things exactly right.
One year ago today, UNO athletics was drifting aimlessly. David Miller had just resigned to go to Upper Iowa, and the program was adrift and lacking a direction. My oh my how things have changed in one year.
Props to Alberts for getting this done to put this issue to bed for now. It's not going to go away, no matter how much 14 "defenders of the faith" try to ignore or wish it away. It's likely to emerge in the future, but I have faith that Alberts is up to the challenge of making it difficult for Dean Blais to be lured away.
(Side note to the Maniac in Section 14: Name calling is against your own "terms of service", and frankly, trying to pretend that the reports coming out of the media in Minneapolis weren't real makes you look as goofy and out of touch as the folks over at BigRedBored. Their blind allegiance to Steve Pederson and Bill Callahan caused them to be completely oblivious to the impending train wreck. Don't keep making the same mistake and attempt to be the "savior of the program" by thinking you can wish things away.)