Princeton Has Strong List of Applicants
by Mike McMahon/Staff Writer
Princeton has been interviewing candidates for its vacant head coaching position over the phone this week, and will likely follow-up with finalists next week, in a round of on-campus interviews.
The job has been vacant since the school parted ways with Bob Prier earlier this month after three seasons.
Princeton athletic director Gary Walters has had no shortage of interest. Walters will step down from his position later this summer and Mollie Marcoux, a former star hockey player at Princeton, will become the university’s first female athletic director. Sources have been unable to confirm if Marcoux has played a role in the coaching search.
According to multiple sources, Darren Yopyk, Mark Morris and Ron Rolston are among the top applicants. Rolston, however, has denied applying.
Morris, the former head coach at Clarkson, was let go by the American Hockey League’s Manchester Monarchs, the affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings, earlier this month. Morris had a successful stint at Clarkson before being fired following a run-in with a player, then went on to have a relatively successful career as an AHL coach before Manchester decided to make a change.
Yopyk, the former associate head coach at Merrimack and a former four-year defenseman at Princeton (1995-99), was considered a favorite three years ago when Prier was hired. But according to CHN sources at the time, Yopyk, who was working as general manager and head coach of the BCHL's Kelowna Warriors at the time, had an immigration issue with his visa that prevented Princeton from hiring him.
Yopyk eventually got his immigration issues resolved and is currently working as a scout for the Minnesota Wild, where he works under another former Princeton defenseman, Brent Flahr.
The list doesn’t end there.
Sources have indicated that at least seven Division I assistant coaches are also being carefully considered, including Keith Fisher (Penn State, former Princeton assistant), Joe Bonnett (Colorado College), Ben Barr (Providence), Kyle Wallack (Vermont), Joe Dumais (Union), Bill Riga (Quinnipiac) and Ben Syer (Cornell).
Rolston is a free agent after being fired by the Buffalo Sabres 20 games into this season. He has deep-rooted ties to college hockey as both the head coach with the U.S. National Team Development Program and 11 years as a college assistant at Lake Superior State, Clarkson, Harvard and Boston College. Rolston has been a perennial college candidate, also applying at Western Michigan and Clarkson when head coaching positions were vacant. He was interviewed for the Princeton position in 2011, but the Tigers opted to hire Prier.