Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Marked Man

The popular Mark Johnson rumor received a little bit of extra juice early Wednesday morning with this dispatch from the Wisconsin State Journal's Andy Baggot:
University of Wisconsin women's hockey coach Mark Johnson has already built one dynasty. Will he consider the opportunity to try his hand at another?

Penn State officials have received permission from UW athletic director Barry Alvarez to speak with Johnson about becoming the first coach of their NCAA Division I men's program.

Johnson said he's aware of Penn State's interest, but he's had no contact with any of its representatives.

"I'll deal with what we've got to deal with here in the next couple weeks and see what happens," he said after practice Tuesday.
The "no contact" part meshes with what Joe Battista has said repeatedly: that they won't disrupt teams in season. In case you're wondering, the women's NCAA championship game is March 20th, and it's pretty fair to say that Wisconsin, 32-2-2 and No. 1 in both the USCHO poll and the PairWise, stands a decent shot of playing that long.

Feel free to read the rest of the story, although it's just a combination of stuff we already knew (Battista visited Madison last month, Penn State is starting a program - it's true!, Barry Alvarez is bullish on Big Ten hockey) and Johnson biographical information. It does, however, reinforce George Gwozdecky's candidacy (although without substantiation) deep in the article.
Denver coach George Gwozdecky, a UW alum who played with Johnson when the latter was a freshman, is expected to be a candidate for both [the Penn State and Michigan State] jobs.
Some suddenly-relevant-again reading material:

Head Coach Candidate: Mark Johnson
Head Coach Candidate: George Gwozdecky

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