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No Shortage of Candidates Lining Up for RPI Hockey Job

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, March 30, 2006

TROY - Casey Jones to coach the Engineers?

A natural, huh?

Well, it's pure speculation but the Ohio State assistant coach is among a dozen or so whose name has been mentioned by a college hockey website as assistant coaches who are ready to move up and could be candidates to replace Dan Fridgen as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute men's hockey coach.

Rensselaer Athletic Director Ken Ralph has plenty of names to give to the school's search committee charged with finding a replacement for longtime men's hockey coach Dan Fridgen.

Ralph said Wednesday he has received "19 hard applications and 20 or so inquiries and we expect to get 20-25 more (applications)."

Former Union assistant coach and current Providence College assistant coach Stan Moore is known to be among those seeking the position.

Moore won an ECAC Hockey League regular season title while serving as Colgate's interim head coach in 2003-04.

He and Jones are among that list of "assistants in waiting" noted by insidecollegehockey.com, as are - again, just specualation - David Quinn of Boston University, David Peters at Dartmouth, Seth Appert at Denver University, Mike Cavanaugh at Boston College, Brent Brekke at Cornell and Tom Newton of Michigan State.

Ralph said he would not divulge any names who have - or have not - applied for the position.

"I'm not going to acknowledge any names because it wouldn't be fair to the process," he said.

Former RPI players Joe Juneau and Graeme Townshend were also said to be under consideration but Juneau, an All-America center and NHL standout, has never expressed any interest in coaching.

Townshend, a former hard-checking forward, has done some junior coaching.

Ralph also declined to identify anyone on the search committee.

He did say they'll have an "outstanding" field from which to choose.

"I'm thrilled with the applicant pool," he said. "There are some outstanding candidates (within) a large number of applicants."

Ralph also said that while most of the applicants are currently assistants, there are some head coaches from among professional, college and junior college ranks.

Fridgen resigned on March 21 as RPI's all-time winningest coach with a 211-193-38 record when it became apparent that Rensselaer would not offer him a contract extension.

He had an all-time 116-116-39 record in regular-season ECAC Hockey League games but failed to reach the league's playoff semifinals in each of the past four seasons.

The team finished in 11th place in the 12-team league in both 2003 and 2005 and has gone the past two seasons without beating rival Union (0-3-1).

The Engineers finished in seventh place this past season but were beaten two games to none by No. 10 seed and league newcomer Quinnipiac.

Rensselaer won an ECAC playoff in Fridgen's season of 1994 but reached the semifinals just four other times among Fridgen's 12 seasons.

It had been thought that extended injuries to several leading players Kevin Croxton, Brad Farynuk and Kevin Broad (at total of 24 games) would save Fridgen, but when the Engineers were unable to bounce back with a Game 2 victory against Quinnipiac and force a deciding game, a "last-straw" situation seemed to develop.

Ralph said that the committee is "hoping to begin interviews shortly after the Frozen Four (April 6 & 8) and that if the leading candidate is evident by the end of April, will make a decision before the Administrators and athletic directors meetings (May 8-12)."