Smith Officially Named Head Coach at Rensselaer
CHN Staff Report
Canisius' Dave Smith has been selected the new head coach at Rensselaer, the school made official today. College Hockey News and other outlets had reported the impending news earlier in the week.
RPI had interviewed four people for the position, left vacant when they fired Seth Appert following the conclusion of its season. Those four were Smith, Oswego State's Ed Gosek, Quinnipiac assistant Bill Riga, and Massachusetts assistant Ben Barr, an alumnus who was considered the frontrunner.
Canisius athletic director Bill Maher said assistant coach Trevor Large would be named interim head coach while a search is conducted. Large is considered a prime candidate to eventually assume the head coaching position permanently.
Smith, 48, an Ohio State graduate, has been the head coach at Canisius the last 12 seasons. He led the Golden Griffins to their first Atlantic Hockey regular-season championship this past season, going 21-11-7. The team lost in the Atlantic Hockey semifinals.
In 2012-13, the team finished below .500 but went on a postseason run to win the Atlantic Hockey tournament championship and earn its only NCAA tournament appearance to date.
Barr played for RPI from 2000-04. He was an assistant coach briefly at RPI, then with Nate Leaman at Union and Providence. He left Providence in 2014 for Western Michigan to work under Andy Murray, who Barr played for at Shattuck St. Mary's in 1999. Last season, he joined Greg Carvel on the staff at Massachusetts.
The hiring process has come with some controversy after the local newspaper, the Troy Record, reported that numerous RPI alumni were displeased at the school's lack of resources devoted to helping the program. They were also upset at the school's decision to spend $90,000 on a well-known hiring firm that had no experience with hockey.
Before joining Canisius, Smith spent three seasons as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Mercyhurst, helping the Lakers to two league titles and two NCAA Tournament appearances. He has also served stints as an assistant coach at both Bowling Green and Miami.