Thursday, May 16, 2013
UMass-Lowell's first Division I coach
By Matt Giles
UPDATE: It appears UMass-Lowell's search is complete. Pat Duquette will be the next head coach of the River Hawks, stepping into a unique role as the leader of a program making the jump to Division I hoops. UML will join the America East conference on July 1.
The move marks Duquette's first head coaching gig at this level. Prior to joining the River Hawks, he was an associate coach under Bill Coen at Northeastern. He was also part of the staff at Boston College for 13 years before that. Today's news means Lipscomb is currently the only DI program without a head coach.
Whomever is hired by UMass-Lowell will face a difficult road in their process of joining the Division I ranks. The team will not be very good next season, but because UMass-Lowell's chancellor Marty Meehan and Bryant president Ronald Machtley are close, Meehan has payed close attention to Bryant's transition and the success the team enjoyed this past year. Because Bryant hired a head coach (Tim O'Shea) to lead the team into DI, UMass-Lowell is also targeting former head coaches. There were indications last week that three candidates had emerged above the rest for the opening: Jim O'Brien, Al Skinner, and UMass assistant Adam Ginsburg. However, according to a source, there are four unofficial finalists, and among those are Skinner, Jay Young (Stony Brook associate head coach whose name was mentioned prominently for the Marist opening), and Kevin Gamble (who is now an assistant at Central Michigan).
It will be interesting to see who makes it to campus for interview; our source maintains Skinner has been to Lowell, and we have to wonder Gamble and Young will both make their way to the school in the coming days. The Lowell Sun recently published a list of other possible choices for Meehan, a group that includes Mike Maker (Williams' head coach) and Pat Duquette (Northeastern assistant), but we have to wonder whether this search is soon to wrap up and the interest of the top four candidates has been vetted as legitimate. Regardless, though, this search needs to end if the squad hopes to add more players. UMass-Lowell goes from ten scholarship players to thirteen with this move, so there will be open scholarships, but since the coaching search is still unresolved, the new coach may decide to roll these scholarships to the 2014 class -- there just might not be any players worth offering a 'ship to in the '13 class.