Princeton Narrows Coaching Field
by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor
Princeton athletic director Gary Walters has narrowed down his choices for a new men's ice hockey coach to three, according to sources. They include current assistant Len Quesnelle, Lake Superior State head coach Scott Borek, and Boston College assistant Scott Paluch.
Walters could not be reached for comment. A Princeton official said the school hopes to make a decision by mid-June, at the latest.
Princeton has been without a coach since Don Cahoon announced in early April that he was leaving to accept the same position at Mass-Amherst.
Quesnelle, who interviewed last week, has been an assistant at Princeton since he graduated in 1988, including all nine years of Cahoon's tenure. Quesnelle, who turned 34 on Wednesday, has been considered by outside observers to be the frontrunner for the position because of his Princeton background and loyalty to the program.
Paluch, 34, a former draft pick of the St. Louis Blues, is a 1988 graduate of Bowling Green, and has been an assistant at Boston College since 1996, coming with current head coach Jerry York from Bowling Green. Paluch was a member of the 1985 bronze medal-winning U.S. World Junior Team.
Borek, who recently signed a two-year contract extension at Lake Superior, has been the Lakers' head coach the past four seasons. He recently denied interviewing at Princeton; however, Borek later admitted he did meet with Walters for four hours on Monday.
Borek said he left the meeting with the impression that Quesnelle was the frontrunner.
"I tried to keep it low because I came away with the feeling I wasn't going to get the job anyway, so why make it public," Borek said. "I [was] worried it will hurt recruiting."
Borek, 37, has an Ivy League background and could be hoping to return further East. The 1985 Dartmouth graduate has had a tumultuous reign at Lake Superior since replacing legendary two-time national championship coach Jeff Jackson prior to the 1996-97 season. But this past year, the Lakers finished third in the league and Borek won CCHA Coach of the Year honors.
"[Interviewing at Princeton] has nothing to do with my situation here," Borek said. "Princeton is more of a fit for my background.
"But I came away with the feeling they're going to move in another direction."
Previously, Borek was an assistant to Jackson for one season, and the head coach at Division III Colby for three years. He was also an assistant at Brown with current Dartmouth coach and fellow alumnus Bob Gaudet.
Many thought Quesnelle, who has Cahoon's ringing endorsement, would have been handed the job by now. But Walters promised to do a national search for the position, at least to cover all of the bases, before making any decisions.
"He wants to be able to say to alumni, 'We did our best to find the best possible candidate,'" said a Princeton official.