The Maine Black Bears have a new head coach this year, Dennis “Red” Gendron will take over for Tim Whitehead who was relieved of his duties back in April.
After 12 seasons, this past April the University of Maine decided to remove hockey coach Tim Whitehead after 12 years which culminated from one of the worst seasons in recent Black Bear hockey history going 11-19-8 and an exit via a sweep from the Hockey East playoffs in the first round. Whitehead had a record of 250-171-54, but critics would look at his record in the last 6 seasons where Maine went 96-102-28 with only one NCAA Tournament appearance. Whitehead did have one year left on his contract which is what may have shocked some, but not many as a campaign to fire Tim Whitehead had been growing over the last few years. At his press conference the next day he thanked both the university and community for all the support over 12 years.
But not long after Whitehead was fired, speculation went rampant over who would take the job. The most popular name floating was Jim Montgomery, former UMaine standout who was captain of Maine’s first championship team in 1993. But days after Whitehead’s firing, Montgomery was named head coach at Denver University. UMaine then announced that they had formed a search committee to look for their next head coach. Over the next month Maine did a long search that finally came to a conclusion on May 25th when news broke that the job was offered to Red Gendron. Two days later it was revealed he was given a 4-year $205,000 salary to become the fifth coach in the program’s history.
Dennis “Red” Gendron was an assistant coach at Yale’s hockey team, who are the defending national champions in men’s ice hockey. He has had some history at Maine as he was an assistant coach at Maine in the early 90’s, including being part of the great 92-93 team. He then joined the New Jersey Devils organization. Gendron also coached in the USHL as well as Umass as an assistant. Most recently as mentioned previously he’s served as an assistant on the Yale Bulldogs coaching staff. Yale just won the NCAA National Championship back in April.
Gendron hopes to bring back the winning atmosphere that the Black bears have been missing the last few years. He said in his introductory press conference that he wants fans to experience ’93 and ’99, both of Maine’s championship years. What can give some fans happiness is the fact that he was around the legend that was Shawn Walsh. Anyone tied to the ’93 should be able to reignite some of the fan base, as we’re 20 years removed from the great 1992-93 team that went 42-1-2. But only time will tell if Red Gendron will be a success as in the end, you can have an impressive resume but your record on the ice will be what stands out to fans.