March 31, 2016 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Bamford Gets The Guy He Wants in Carvel

by Mike McMahon/Staff Writer

UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford (left) with new coach Greg Carvel at Thursday's news conference in Boston.

UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford (left) with new coach Greg Carvel at Thursday's news conference in Boston.

BOSTON — Ryan Bamford wasn’t sure where his hockey program was headed, but he knew it was going in the wrong direction. The Massachusetts director of athletics, who was just a little under the one-year mark into his tenure, relieved John Micheletto of his head coaching duties following a season-ending loss to Boston University in the Hockey East playoffs earlier this month.

On Thursday, Bamford introduced Greg Carvel, now the former head coach at St. Lawrence, as the next man up to lead the Minuteman program.

“For me, this was about fit more than anything else,” Bamford said. “We wanted someone who can be a partner in building a successful program.”

Bamford led this search himself, and admits that it was an opportunity for him to not only evaluate candidates, but also his program.

“I talked to everyone,” he said on Thursday at the UMass Club in Boston, as the program introduced Carvel to a gathering of media and alumni. “I talked to advisors, agents, NHL people, USHL people, and obviously I talked to people within college hockey. These people weren’t even candidates, I just wanted to gather as much information as possible on what it was that we needed.

“We couldn’t figure out what we needed until we figured out what we were.”

What many of those people said was that UMass needed Carvel.

But Bamford new it wasn’t going to be easy. Carvel had just signed an eight-year extension at St. Lawrence in the December and he’s an alum of the program, taking over for the legendary Joe Marsh four years ago.

“Every time I talked to someone about him,” Bamford said, “and a lot of times his name came up with asking, it was always qualified with ‘I don’t think he’ll come, but …’ And more and more, he sounded like someone we needed to take a deep look at.”

The Monday after St. Lawrence’s season ended in the ECAC semifinals, Bamford called Carvel to set up an interview. As it turned out, he was headed to Amherst to visit his in-laws along with his family — Carvel’s wife is from Amherst.

Last Wednesday, he met with Bamford for three hours and then Saturday, Bamford arranged a meeting between Carvel and UMass chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy.

“I called our Chancellor after meeting with Greg on Wednesday and said to him that we needed to sell this guy,” Bamford said. “This is the guy we want.”

Bamford said that during the search, he was looking for the characteristics that most head coaches possess. It wasn’t as much about hiring someone with head-coaching experience. He was looking for a candidate that he knew had the characteristics to step in and run the program right away.

“He had done it,” Bamford said.

Carvel also brings NHL experience, which Bamford called a bonus and he believes that it could help sell players in recruiting.

“The one thing I heard from everyone about his program at St. Lawrence is that they don’t back down, they are well prepared and they play hard,” Bamford said. “Those things were really something we needed in our head coach.”

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