Gwozdecky's 'Interest is High' in UConn
But Cavanaugh May Be Frontrunner
CHN Staff Report
Former Denver coach George Gwozdecky said his "interest is high" in the Connecticut head coaching position, as he awaits the school's decision.
UConn athletic director Warde Manual interviewed three candidates for the position, including interim coach David Berard, Gwozdecky, and Boston College assistant Mike Cavanaugh.
While Gwozdecky and Berard have both made public statements that they'd like the position, the Hartford Courant is reporting today that Cavanaugh has been offered the position and is now in the negotiating process with the school.
Meanwhile, earlier, Gwozdecky told the Hartford Courant that he was very impressed with UConn, and it reminded him of when he first became head coach at Miami and Denver.
“I felt a very strong feeling of ownership there," Gwozdecky told the Courant. "I think certainly having the experience of being in a position similar to where UConn is at now, being able to put energy in the right places, that’s important. ... I believe, given time, the UConn hockey program is going to be an Eastern power. Everything is there for it, including the commitment from the university. I think the blue print laid out is the right one. They want to win. For any coach, that’s extremely important. With this desire to win, they understand the commitment to resources and the operating budget. I was so impressed with what I saw.”
UConn will play one more season in Atlantic Hockey before moving to Hockey East in 2014-15. It will play most league home games at the old Hartford Civic Center, now known as the XL Center, former home of the Hartford Whalers. Other games will be played at its small on-campus arena while plans are made for something else on campus.
“Everybody wants to start hanging some banners not only in the forum on campus, but in Hartford’s XL Center,” Gwozdecky told the paper. “I do believe those will be hung before five years is done.”
Gwozdecky told the Courant the he decided not to pursue opportunities at other schools — i.e. Ohio State and Maine — in order to concentrate on Connecticut.
“I have really decided not to pursue those to not muddy the waters," Gwozdecky said. "It's important for people to know this isn’t something I'm looking to use to play one against the other, not something I’m using to get better a better salary or faciltiies. My interest is high. Once you put trust and interest in something, you’ve got to go with it. I've always been a man of my word.”
Meanwhile, Berard, who took over in January when long-time coach Bruce Marshall resigned, has been continuing to proceed as head coach while awaiting the final decision.
"I’m going to work every day just like I’m supposed to," Berard told the Hartford Courant. "I’m still getting paid by the university. I’m trying to do what I can do and not draw attention to it for our guys and just operate business as usual. ... We talk to our team about controlling the controllable. In a game, you can’t control the referees, you can’t control what happens a lot of times. All you can control is your effort, you attention to detail and your attitude. If we do that, we give ourselves a better chance to win. Well, we preach that to our guys. So I have to live it myself when I’m going through a situation. What attitude do I have when I wake up? I can’t be bothered by it. That’s not the way to get the job. We just have to approach every day the best we can and not draw any negative attention to our program. It’s under the radar. We go about our business. Hopefully at the end of the day Warde notices that and Doug notices that and they decide that we’re capable and that we’re the people they want leading the program.”