Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Is UNO Giving Up on Hockey? And if so, should I?

My worst fear has just came true. The candidate I felt was woefully unqualified to be named head coach of UNO hockey was just named head coach.
Sorry. Mike Gabinet has 1 year of NCAA coaching experience and just three years experience as a paid coach; the other two at a small school in Canada.  That hardly qualifies him to be a head coach in the premier college hockey conference.

Yes, it's "nice" that an alum gets to take over a program and that the players like him, but if UNO is serious about competing in the NCHC and nationally, UNO needed to hire a coach who's been prepared to coach at this level. Mike Gabinet is not that coach.

Over the last year, UNO has made a habit of replacing experienced coaches and promoting up lesser paid assistants in all of their sports.  The baseball team is the biggest example of that, where Evan Porter's squad is struggling mightily at 6-21. The rumors are that UNO's financial issues have forced the issue, a situation created by the deficits at Baxter Arena.

When Dean Blais stepped down, Trev Alberts made it a point to say that finances weren't going to be a factor.

Sure looks like they were, in the end.  Which raises the question... if UNO isn't going to be serious about Maverick Hockey, should I?

I don't have to answer that question today.  But at some point, my season ticket invoice is going to come in. Do I want to invest my money in season tickets when UNO doesn't seem to be interested in being competitive in college hockey?

That's a really tough question to ask, and it's an even tougher question to answer.  I like UNO hockey. I want it to succeed.  But it's hard to have any faith in the program right now.  This decision is really tough to swallow.


Andy's Mom said...

At least give him a chance. Every top coach started out as a newbie somewhere.

Husker Mike said...

True. Every new coach cut his teeth somewhere. Problem is that he's jumped about 8 levels of coaching in the last 12 months.

Roy in Omaha said...

I an not defending the hiring of Mike Gabinet, but, I think it is fair to point out that Brad Berry had ZERO head coaching experience before he was hired to replace Dave Hakstol at North Dakota. And, by zero, I mean zero. Not even in pee-wee hockey. No head coaching experience ANYWHERE, previously, ever. Less than Mike Gabinet, in other words.

Beside having some concerns myself about Gabinet's experience or lack thereof, I also am concerned because of who his college head coach was. None other than Mr. Milquetoast head coach himself, Mike Kemp. UNO Hockey was hard to watch with him at the helm the farther into it he got. I gave up my season tickets for 4 seasons and did not renew them again until Dean Blais was hired and I wrote then Athletic Director Bob Dannehauer and told him why I was jumping ship at the time.

That said, I'll give anybody the benefit of the doubt and at least a chance to succeed. I have too much invested in the program emotionally and financially not to do so. But, if he doesn't look like he has the chops to make it work (and we'll know pretty quickly), I'll be writing a letter to Trev Alberts this time.

Husker Mike said...

I'm not as concerned that he has limited head coaching experience. I'm far more concerned about his lack of experience with college hockey. He has no contacts or background with recruiting high school or USHL players. He has no experience with evaluating prospective players nor any cache he can use to influence recruits or their coaches.

Brad Berry did all of that for UND. So has Grant Potulny, who just got the job at Northern. Gabinet has been in Omaha less than a year, and was coaching a different age of player in Canada. ( And at an NAIA type of school, no less.)

He may turn out to be a really solid X's and O's coach. But can he get NCHC caliber players? Does he even know how to get them?