March 16, 2010 PRINT Bookmark and Share

OSU: 'We Haven't Been Consistent'

by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor

All season, Ohio State coach John Markell did his job in the last year of his contract, uncertain if he'd be renewed. This week, he found out that he would not be.

Ohio State let Markell go because it decided it the program was as successful as it could be.

"Our goal for our program is to have a men's ice hockey program that's consistently competing for a championship, and recently we haven't been that," said Chris Schneider, associate athletics director for sport administration, who oversees the men’s hockey program at Ohio State.

"John has done very good things for our program and student athletes, but what we strive for all of our programs is that we're consistently competing for championships. That consistency hasn't been there."

While there have certainly been questions about Markell's ability to lead the program to another level, there are also questions about the resources such a huge Big Ten school puts into its hockey program. But Schneider believes the resources are there.

"The resources we have provided to our program are what make us capable of competing for championships," Schneider said. "We have a well-funded program, very well supported, and we feel we can be successful."

The Buckeyes play at the spacious Value City Arena, which was also home of the 2005 Frozen Four. It rarely fills the 17,000-plus capacity, and in fact, averages less than 5,000. So the question is whether the NHL-sized arena is a blessing or a curse to the program.

But there are no plans for changing arenas, Schneider said.

"It's not too big," he said. "When our program has been successful, our fan support has been there. ... This decision was not made financially. ... We'd definitely like to see the attendance higher, anyone would like to see more support in the building, but that's a natural relationship to success."

The next step for Ohio State is to form a search committee for a new coach. According to Schneider, that will consist of staff members in the athletic department, some directly associated with hockey and some not, a current OSU head coach from another sport, and two members of the current hockey team.

The position will be posted, and the school will accept applications, until one week after the Frozen Four. The committee will then determine three to five people to bring in for interviews. Schenider expects the position to be filled by early May.

Though Schneider said the type of person Ohio State wants has not been identified, it is possible the school will proactively reach out people it has an eye on.

"There's potential for that, but I can't obviously comment on specifics right now."

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