Laker coach interviews begin

April 16, 2014

Athletic director Kristin Dunbar is leading a series of interviews this week as Lake Superior State University zeroes in on a new head coach to replace Jim Roque, who was fired on March 11 after nine seasons at the helm of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Lakers.

A search committee, headed by legendary coach Rick Comley — who guided Division 1 teams at LSSU, Northern Michigan University and Michigan State University over a 38-year period before retiring in 2011 — sifted through about 50 applications before moving forward a list of candidates to Dunbar.

Interestingly, one of the first candidates slated to be interviewed, Damon Whitten, has a prior history with Comley as an assistant coach at MSU.

Whitten, who also played at MSU from 1997-2001, has been an assistant coach at Michigan Tech University the past four seasons. He has also been an assistant at Wayne State University and University of Alaska-Anchorage.

Also on the list of early interviews for the vacant Laker coaching job is Ron Fogarty.

Fogarty has been the head coach at Adrian College the past seven years.

Under Fogarty, Adrian has become one of the top Division 3, National Collegiate Athletic Association programs in the country.

Surprisingly, one applicant who will not be interviewed for the Laker coaching position is Joe Shawhan.

A Michigan Soo native, Shawhan played at LSSU and was later a goalie coach and assistant coach with the Lakers.

Shawhan has spent the past four seasons as an assistant at Northern Michigan and prior to that, had a very-successful 10-year run as head coach of the erstwhile Soo Indians of the North American Hockey League.

But a source within LSSU said the search committee did not forward Shawhan’s coaching application to Dunbar for an interview.

What you think about “Laker coach interviews begin”

  1. something STINKS here. No interview for Joe Shawan? You can’t be serious Rick Comley! Give your head a shake!

  2. No Joey Shawhen???!!! Not even for a friggin inter-view? So Whitten gets inter-view because he is a croney of Rick omly??? Way to go again Lakers keep kissing good-by to your dwindling number of Fans!!!

  3. LSSU had a chance to tab a winner in Shawhan before they hired Roque but ignored him.
    Its believed by some that Roque got the job for testifying that Frank Anzalone was breaking some minor NCAA rules.
    The University was ALLEGEDLY trying to avoid paying Frank what they owed him when they let him go.
    It’s wise that the LSSU AD recognizes that this is an important decision and picked someone with a strong hockey back round to lead the search. I suspect the AD’s knowledge of hockey is pretty shallow, at least at the hiring level. I was wondering where the name Metro is, he certainly qualified and the guy from Adrian College is probably your front runner at this point.
    This once proud hockey program has just about hit rock bottom and I think that the people up there in the Athletic Department have had their heads in the sand for a quite awhile about the sinking ship called ‘Laker Hockey’.
    We had our day and I seriously doubt we will see Lake State in the Frozen Four in a long,long time, if ever again.

  4. I know of another dark horse name out there, Cam Ellsworth, he’s an assistant at UMass-Lowell and has Sault ties, played for coach Shawhan and 4 years at MTU. He would be a great fit for LSSU, young enthusiastic and very, very knowledgeable.

  5. Is Rick Comley posturing to get his son Rickie junior hired? And Richie Metro’s team in France folded so look for Comley to take care of him too.

  6. Seems to me that Kris Dunbar creates fiascos. She is a terrible AD in my opinion and is turning the athletic dept into a Division 3 program. (She just added JV basketball at Lake State.)

    In my opinion, Kris Dunbar and her husband have caused much damage to the Sault Michigan Hockey Association with their selfish propaganda. Allegedly — and I say allegedly — Mr. Dunbar didn’t get his way so they moved their son’s youth hockey team to St. Ignace.

    Please Dunbars , move to St. Ignace too.

  7. Damon Whitten is an impressive person.
    Do not dismiss him without taking a look.
    We are expecting to lose him at Michigan Tech eventually to a head coaching job.

  8. Why are you surprised that Joey Shawhan wasn’t passed along by the committee?
    For those who have been sitting on the sidelines thinking that Kris Dunbar has done a great job getting rid of Jim Roque — I think you’re wrong.
    To not give Roque credit for competing with the truly limited resources he had is just wrong.
    The Lakers as many have pointed out wasn’t winning every game, but when LSSU is choosing not to support the program due to what I think is Kris’s lack of knowledge for Div 1 sports — what else do you expect?
    The Soo has far to many “back door agreements” and surprise — all you Joey supporters are reaping the same benefits.
    From what I have been told, Kris is adding two new D2 style ball programs and didn’t get a new budget so she maybe she shifting money from hockey to basketball — her first love.
    It’s a sad thing that the program so many of us loved has been dismantled by a non supporting administration led by Dunbar. Just like anything as cost change an the value of the dollar changes if you don’t keep up the result is here. MY OPINION.

  9. Cant believe that Joe Shawhan never even got a interview for the Lakers head coaching job!
    Former Laker with great coaching credintals in junior hockey, also working with Walt Kyle former nahl coach at Northern Michigan, and a great win loss record, and a great recruiter.
    What a disgrace to Laker Hockey, a local person with qualifactions, and not even a interview, you think Lakers had a problem drawing people to the games now , I will not renew my season tickets and hopefully a few more will follow. Division 3 save us a spot?

  10. Has it even been determined for a fact that Joe Shawhan applied for the job? Not just that he is reported to have applied, but that it has been confirmed by someone on the search committee? Do you know if Joe even wants to leave Marquette for the Soo? A search committee normally contacts applicants to determine their level of interest before the best ones are brought to campus for interviews. Even if Joe applied, if the search committee determined that his level of interest wasn’t what it needed to be, they probably wouldn’t have made him one of the finalists. Don’t jump to conclusions without knowing all the facts, and I doubt most fans know the all facts at this point.

    1. Cookie,

      Yes, it has been confirmed that Joe Shawhan applied for the Laker job.

      Joe himself told me that he applied and hoped to get an interview.

  11. Joe Shawhan was sent an E-mail confirming that. What a EMBARRASMENT to Laker Hockey . Support college basketball they now have jv and varsity teams for men and women.

  12. Latest Information that I’ve seen indicates that Comley went through the entire list of applicants, passed the names of those that appeared to be serious candidates (including Joe Shawhan) to the entire 9 person search committee for review, and the search committee as a group made the decision as to which ones would make the finalist list for interviews. Comley isn’t the kingpin of the committee and didn’t make the final decision about interviews on his own. This information came from someone who talked to a member of the search committee.

    1. Cookie,

      Comley led the search committee from what we were told.

      Bottom line is that Joe Shawhan is not getting an interview, no matter how you slice it or dice it.

      And like it or not — judging from comments posted and received — a number of Laker fans are not happy that Shawhan was bypassed for an interview.

      1. Randy,

        I’m fully aware that Joe Shawhan is very popular in the Soo, that he is highly qualified, and I’m very surprised he didn’t get an interview. But I don’t think its appropriate for fans to start attacking Comley, or even Dunbar for that matter, without knowing the facts about why Joe wasn’t selected for an interview, and I don’t think all the facts are known outside of the search committee at this time. Even if Comley is the leader of the search committee, he certainly didn’t make the finalist decisions on his own. The committee as a whole made the decisions as to who would be finalists and get interviews. I understand that fans around the Soo are upset, but I think it’s better to get all the facts (if possible) before passing judgement. Personally, I would have been fine with Joe Shawhan being selected as Lakers coach.

        1. Cookie,

          I am in agreement with you for the most part.

          For the record, however, let it be known that I have not — and will not — attack Comley or Dunbar. (I happen to like Kris, by the way.)

          I have offered no opinion on this, save for the fact that Joe Shawhan did not get an interview, in a word, “surprisingly.”

          1. Randy,

            I realize it’s not you that has attacked Comley or Dunbar and I didn’t mean to imply that, but certainly some of the other posters have done so.

          2. Cookie,

            Okay man, just wanted to be sure.

            Btw, I just posted another story here. “Laker coach interviews continue.”

  13. Even a few Laker fans who are not necesarily supporters of Joe Shawhan told me that they cannot believe that he did not even get an interview so think about that “Cookie” and stop trying to pass the buck.

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