ORONO, Maine – The University of Maine's new hockey coach said Tuesday two of his goals are to bring home a national championship and to fill seats at hockey games.
Dennis "Red" Gendron has been assistant coach for teams that won NCAA and NHL championships. One of those titles was in 1993, when he was assistant coach on the Maine team that went 41-1-2.
The Black Bears won another national title in 1999, and now that he's head coach, Gendron said he wants the team to win a third national crown.
"I want this generation of Maine men to experience what the Maine men in 1993 and 1999 got to experience," he said while being introduced as the new coach at a press conference on the ice at Alfond Arena, where the Black Bears play.
In his 34-year career, Gendron has coached in college, the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.
Gendron, 55, was an assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils when they won the Stanley Cup in 1995, and was also the coach for New Jersey's AHL affiliate, the Albany River Rats. He coached at the University of Massachusetts before becoming associate coach two years ago at Yale University, which won the 2013 NCAA national championship.
Gendron, who will make $205,000 a year, succeeds Tim Whitehead, who was released from his contract in April after 12 years at the helm. He is the fourth head coach in the history of the program.
University of Maine President Paul Ferguson said Gendron is an ideal fit for the school.
Ferguson said when he asked Gendron why he wanted the job, he responded: "Because I love this place, I owe this place and I really feel connected to this place."
One way to build championship-caliber teams is to hire good coaches and recruiters, Gendron said, adding that he'll be looking for players who are great students and great citizens and want to become professional hockey players.
"The team and I are going to ask ourselves two questions everyday," he said. "Did Maine hockey get better, and did I get better?"