in 1984. Notre Dame and Michigan announced in May of 1980 they were moving to the CCHA and MSU and Tech followed suit later on that summer. Until 2015 and the new look WCHA, 1981 had also been the last time Tech made the NCAAs.
But that could change in an instant if there is a leadership change at the Michigan schools.
When he finally does leave how difficult will it be to find a good replacement?
The program is certainly in much better shape than 10 - 20 years ago. I just don't know how many quality coaches there are out there.
We had hired a head coach with no previous experience and beyond an ability to recruit slightly better players than the stature of the team might suggest, had no business as a head coach of a division 1 team. We had only recently began offering a full complement of scholarships. We did little to prove we belonged in the mix winning schools.
Jackson recognized the sleeping giant Notre Dame could be and he saw the potential of the players Poulin had recruited. In fact his success was with Poulin recruits for the most part, and even the 2011 FF team had some left. He certainly began building a "program" here, more than just some winning teams. But the lack of further success since moving to the CFIA has the potential to tarnish the legacy he began building.
There are as many good up and coming coaches in hockey as there are in any other sport. It simply is a matter of finding the right fit. Jason Lammers is currently coaching in the USHL and one day will probably be a head coach in the NCAA. He's one I'd be willing to give a try if I was an AD with an opening for a coach.
Of course you could totally flub the exercise like Michigan State did, but even if they made a "slam dunk" hire like poaching Enrico Blasi instead of Tom Anastos, his tenure in the NCHC has caused me to doubt if he's even a good coach. Similarly, Lucia looked very mediocre when Guentzel left his staff.
I've been somewhat disappointed in the lack of progress with the hockey program, but I dread hiring a new coach even more.
and it isn't as if the whole thing needs blown up. Many times I have thought the right new voice in his ear as an assistant might be all that's needed. Notwithstanding the various "volunteer" coaches over the last few years, he's had the same staff since coming here in 2005.
Donato became Scotty Bowman once Paul Pearl showed up.
We seem to be affflicted with that disease
2 years ago the PP was the worst PP it had been at Notre Dame since Poulin's last year, looking so lost that Jackson took over practice prep for it. In the first half, with Pooley running it, it clicked at an embarrassing rate of 6% (3% if you take out the 3 PP goal weekend versus Niagara). In the second half, after Jackson publicly acknowledged finally taking it over, the PP was successful an astounding 25% of the time. Who knows where that team would have been with another 15 goals in the first half. Certainly a lot more confident.
Jackson's reluctance in this territory seems odd. Most head coaches are a little more cutthroat. But he is a coach who rarely speaks of lofty goals, so why be an absolutist when it comes to his staff. Wants a top-4 finish. Wants to "do well" in conference or in-season tournaments. Never speaking in terms of "a championship is our only goal." He is consistent in this too, giving plenty of rope to skaters who underperform and other than Steven Summerhays, giving plenty of chances to his goalies.
He's getting the big bucks so I guess he knows what works.
recruits if Berenson continues coaching for a few more years. There seems to be more open speculation about his departure this season than in the last couple, but other than him saying he knows his retirement will be sooner than later, he soldiers on. Anastos has destroyed MSU's ability to get the top kids from the state of Michigan and he hasn't won a recruiting battle against UM in years. But if Berenson stays and presides over a bottom feeder program for another year or two, his replacement will have a tough task in rebuilding the program. I personally hope he stays at least another two or three years.