Friday, June 05, 2009

Is UNO Targeting Dean Blais?

Trev Alberts updated the Omaha World-Herald and KETV-Channel 7 on the search for a new hockey coach:
Alberts said phone conversations have taken place with some applicants as well as others who haven't applied, and said that process is ongoing.

Alberts said there are no immediate plans to conduct a formal on-campus interview, but also said his target date of mid-June to July 1 for making a hire is still reachable.

The "others who haven't applied" comment caught my attention, as it means that UNO is being somewhat aggressive in pursuing coaches, not just sitting back and seeing who applies. Who could that be?

Fiona Quick of the Minnesota Hockey Journal adds to the speculation that it's none other than Dean Blais, who won two national championships for North Dakota before trying his luck in the NHL. She does question whether Blais is interested, as it seems that some Gopher boosters are pushing for Blais to replace current head coach Don Lucia when his contract expires - or maybe sooner. Certainly Blais' resume affords him the opportunity to choose his next job, so it's very possible that Blais isn't interested in UNO.

If he isn't, I don't think money would be the issue. Granted, UNO athletics has an ongoing money issue, but UNO boosters came up with the funds to bump up Alberts salary. I'd be shocked that those same boosters wouldn't consider opening up their checkbooks again if that were the only issue preventing Blais from accepting the UNO job.

From my perspective, it looks like UNO is pursuing Blais. And it's not because of his resemblance to David Letterman:

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