May 6, 2003
Vermont to Name Corran A.D.

By Nate Ewell

Inside College Hockey has learned that Vermont plans to name Bob Corran, athletic director at Minnesota-Duluth since 1997, its new athletic director on Wednesday afternoon.

Corran, 53, replaces Rick Farnham, who is retiring at the end of June after an 11-year tenure. A former hockey coach at the University of Windsor (Ontario), Corran will lead a department at Vermont where hockey is the flagship program, despite recent struggles.

The Catamounts have finished under .500 for six straight seasons, including the 1999-2000 campaign that was canceled midway through due to a team hazing scandal. They haven't finished higher than ninth in the ECAC since 1996-97. They finished third that season, one year after making an NCAA Frozen Four appearance in 1996. Vermont was 13-20-3 (8-14-0 ECAC) this year in head coach Mike Gilligan's 19th season.

Corran came to UMD after 12 years at the University of Calgary. During his six seasons in Duluth, Corran was responsible for the dismissal of long-time hockey coach Mike Sertich and the subsequent hiring of Scott Sandelin. He was a finalist for the athletic director position at Maine earlier this year.

The rise of women's hockey at UMD was the most notable achievement under Corran's watch with the Bulldogs. Corran was responsible for hiring fellow Calgary native Shannon Miller to start a women's program at UMD in 1998. Miller, the coach of Team Canada at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, has led the Bulldogs to the last three consecutive NCAA Women's Frozen Four titles.

Despite the on-ice success, Corran is widely believed to be unhappy with the lack of progress toward getting a new on-campus arena built at UMD. The Bulldog men and women play five miles off campus in downtown Duluth, and share the WCHA's oldest arena, the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center.

Talk of an on-campus facility has met with stringent opposition from business owners and city leaders in downtown Duluth, who fear a dramatic loss of hotel and restaurant revenue if the Bulldogs move. The UMD campus is located in a residential area on Duluth's east side, and area homeowners have also spoken out against the idea of an on-campus rink, fearing a dramatic increase in traffic and noise on winter weekends.

He may have more luck in pursuit of a new arena at Vermont. Daniel Fogel, the school's new president, expressed in February his desire to have a new 9,000-seat rink constructed in Burlington.

The first name on the short list to replace Corran at UMD is South Dakota athletic director Kelly Higgins. The former athletic director at Alaska Fairbanks, Higgins was interviewed for the UMD job in 1997 and has recently talked publicly about establishing a Division I hockey program at South Dakota.

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