St. Lawrence University Athletic Director Bob Durocher is searching for a new head coach for the school's hockey program after the abrupt departure of alum Greg Carvel, who left to take the same post with the University of Massachusetts.
Despite Carvel leaving for better resources and more money, make no mistake, this is still a terrific job that will draw interest from many highly qualified candidates.
St. Lawrence is a great school with a proud hockey tradition. There are several qualified alums and former assistants that got their start under Joe Marsh, the former bench boss of the Saints from 1985-2012.
But, it would be a disservice to current players, alums and the many fans of the program to not conduct a full national search to find the best coach possible. This is a program that deserves more than just handing off the keys to the next alum without looking beyond. An alum should only be hired if he's the best man for the job.
After talking with several people around the college hockey landscape, here's five names that will be candidates for the job and should be considered by the search committee.
Trinity College, Head Coach
A Maine native, he just completed his fifth season behind the bench as the head coach of Division III Trinity College, his alma mater. He guided the Bantams to the school's first ever national championship during the 2014-15 season.
Trinity has won 20 or more games three seasons in a row, a tremendous feat in Division III with a shorter schedule. The Bantams won the regular season championship in the NESCAC two years in a row before this one.
Greason, who played prep hockey at North Yarmouth Academy before a PG year at Hill School, is also heavily involved in USA Hockey. He served as an assistant coach with the U.S. NTDP U-17 and U-18 teams before coming back to take over the reigns at Trinity.
Players who've played for him speak highly of the professional manner in which he runs the team. A 2002 graduate of Trinity, the youthful vibe and energy he'd bring to a small community like Canton would be a perfect fit. His name is one that consistently comes up in conversation in hockey circles.
Western Michigan, Associate Head Coach
The RPI alum is another one of the hottest young names in the coaching fraternity. A Faribault, Minn. native, he served as captain of the Engineers during the 2003-04 season, his senior year.
He immediately jumped into the coaching fray as a volunteer at RPI. In 2008 he made the move over to Nate Leaman's staff at rival Union. He was there for four seasons before joining Leaman on the Providence staff for two years. He's been the associate head coach to Andy Murray at Western Michigan the past two years.
Why Barr? He has a great hockey mind. He has experience in both the eastern and western environments of college hockey so his recruiting reach would be greater than most. He's already known to be a good recruiter. Barr has learned from the best. Leaman is unquestionably the best coach in college hockey, and Murray has NHL head coaching experience prior to WMU.
Providence, Assistant Coach
Some might question if he's a little green for a head coaching gig at this point, but he's a former assistant at St. Lawrence and has been an assistant to Leaman at Providence the last two years. He's a good recruiter whose efforts scouring the continent for top talent are tireless.
He was a goaltender at Union from 2002 to 2006, the last three seasons under Leaman when he was the head coach of the Dutchmen. He had a brief minor pro career in the AHL and ECHL. Another coach who falls under the Leaman tree, he will be a good head coach some day.
St. Lawrence, Associate Head Coach
The obvious successor to some, he is heavily invested in his family's business, a tent company in upstate New York, which might limit his desire, or chance, to be the next head coach.
A 1989 alum of St. Lawrence, he was a standout defenseman in ECAC Hockey who went on to play 29 games in the NHL and over 800 in the AHL and IHL. He's a native of nearby Massena, NY and is unquestionably qualified, but does he want the job or is he happy being an assistant?
Clarkson, Head Coach, Women's Team
Thinking outside the box a little here, he's a 2001 alum of St. Lawrence where he served as an alternate captain in 2000-01. He played minor hockey in the ECHL for five seasons before becoming an assistant for the women's program at Clarkson.
After serving as a co-head coach for six seasons, he's been the head coach of the Golden Knights' women's team the past two years. Clarkson has made the NCAA Tournament four consecutive seasons, including winning the NCAA Championship in 2014.
A few other names that could be considered are former Clarkson coach and current Nazareth College (Division III) Head Coach George Roll, St. Lawrence Women's Head Coach Chris Wells and former Princeton Head Coach and St. Lawrence Assistant Coach Bob Prier.