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UNH Hockey: Glenn Stewart close to joining alma mater

Stewart has been Mark Dennehy's right hand man since the 2009-10 season.

Dick Umile
Dick Umile

It appears that Dick Umile has moved quickly to name a replacement for Jim Tortorella as associate head coach at the University of New Hampshire. As first reported by USHR, it looks like UNH alum Glenn Stewart will be the new associate head coach of the Wildcats.

A member of Mark Dennehy's coaching staff at Merrimack since 2009, Stewart was an alternate captain at UNH during the 1993-94 season before embarking on a successful minor pro career in the ECHL and UHL.

A former assistant at AIC and UConn, Stewart is a tireless recruiter. He's very focused and driven and has been a driving force behind Merrimack's success on the special teams during his time in North Andover. He recruited some of Merrimack's highly touted freshmen this season including Austin Plevy, Brett Seney, Jace Hennig and Braxton Bilous.

It has been the summer of the assistant coaching carousel in Division I. Providence has had to replace two assistants while Northeastern, UNH and Merrimack have all been forced to look for new assistants in August right before the school year starts.

Dennehy could go any number of ways in hiring a replacement for Stewart. There aren't that many Merrimack alums out there with coaching experience at the Division I level. Current Ohio State assistant Joe Exter, former Harvard assistant Bobby Jay and Chicago Blackhawks scout Mike Doneghy all played for the Warriors and have experience on Division I staffs, but the trio all seem to be longshots.

Thinking outside the box, Dennehy might look to bring in Topher Bevis, a player he recruited to UMass. The Harvard, Mass. native is the current head coach of the Junior Bruins U16 team in the USPHL. He's learned under junior hockey guru Peter Masters. The organization produced one of the best young assistants in the business in Quinnipiac's Bill Riga.

It seems unlikely, but former UMass Lowell and Niagara bench boss and current Colby head coach Blaise MacDonald is a Merrimack Valley native and has been known to be a good recruiter.

Dennehy would probably love to get Darren Yopyk back on his staff, but it seems that the former Warrior assistant and current Minnesota Wild scout would only come back to the college game for a head coaching gig. He's been a serious candidate at both Princeton and Northeastern, but Visa issues held up his getting the job.

Former Boston University associate head coach Mike Bavis might be a name to keep an eye on if he's looking to get back into the college game. Another name that could be thrown about is current Bentley assistant and UMaine alum Ben Murphy.

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Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSports.