Friday, December 3, 2010

NCAA Status Check

Great article by The Collegian's Tony Barton this morning on two items that have been flying a little under the radar for the last few weeks: the coaching search and the Pegula Center. Relax, I said "a little." I'm perfectly aware of my obsession with every tiny detail regarding the building of the NCAA program. Anyway, coaching search first. What are you looking for in a coach, Joe Battista?
“Key items we’re looking for are their ability to recruit top student athletes, to run the program the Penn State way, and their track record for success at the highest levels of hockey in North America,” Battista said. “Those are all the kinds of criteria we’ll be looking for as we move forward.”
Battista also mentioned that the search will accelerate starting in January. In the meantime, feel free to peruse my baseless speculation on the subject. I started with Icers coach Scott Balboni on Wednesday and will continue with others every second Wednesday. Mark Johnson, Mike Kemp, Tony Granato and George Gwozdecky are already scheduled, and I'll keep it going through the Frozen Four, or until something breaks. As I write them, I will keep Battista's criteria in mind as well - GSRs in the 50s need not apply.

Meanwhile, Mortenson Construction in Minneapolis has been chosen as the construction firm. As you might expect based on their location, Mortenson has built a number of ice facilities including, notably, Minnesota-Duluth's AMSOIL Arena. It's not exactly shocking that Penn State grabbed someone connected with that facility. Battista's certainly a fan, and I have to assume Terry Pegula and others are as well.
“I liked everything I saw here – all of the amenities, the suites, the press box, the site lines. It’s the perfect size for us. I’m going to make it a point to get our (hockey) donor here to look at the building.”
Unfortunately, the full article with that quote from the Duluth News-Tribune was moved to a pay archive.

Finally, I wanted to highlight another Battista quote, this one about Pegula during the first of what will be monthly arena meetings on Tuesday.
“I think it was important for everyone to hear him and hear the passion in his voice."
At first, I liked Pegula because he handed Penn State $88 million. Now I like him even more knowing the guy behind that commitment. No wonder Buffalo sports fans are giddy at the idea of him owning both of their major league teams.


  1. My only thoughts on the Mark Johnson rumor:

  2. LOL...well done.

    Some good news on your side of things - according to Mark Horgas, a long-time sponsor of the club team (and a coach for one season 30 years ago), Johnson's not on the short list:

    Take the non-anonymous Twitter leak for what it's worth, I guess, but I'd think it probably trumps the other stuff, which is based mostly on "he runs a successful program and has a name even non-hockey fans might recognize."