June 16, 2003; Updated June 17, 2003
Candidates Interviewing at Vermont

By Nate Ewell

Inside College Hockey has learned that four candidates for the vacant head coaching position at Vermont – including a pair of current ECAC head coaches – will make the trip to Burlington to interview for the job in person this week.

Tim Bothwell, Roger Grillo, David Quinn and Kevin Sneddon are all among the finalists for the position. Current Catamounts assistant coach Damian DiGiulian may also be a candidate, but that could not be confirmed. Vermont athletic director Bob Corran told the Burlington Free Press that there were five finalists for the position.

Some of the coaches did not return phone calls Monday while others would not comment. Sneddon did speak with Ken Schott of the Schenectady Daily Gazette about becoming a candidate after stating two weeks ago that he had not applied for the job.

"In all honesty, there wasn't anything sneaky about this at all," Sneddon told Schott on Monday. "I know it seems that way, but when I first talked about it, I [said] it was an unbelievable coaching position. Obviously, the new athletic director and the vision of where they want to go is very impressive. I just felt like there was going to be a ton of interest from head coaches and other qualified assistant coaches. I hadn't put too much thought into it.

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"When I was contacted by them and asked to meet with them," he added, "anytime that happens, you have to consider it. It's too good of an opportunity not to at least explore."

Grillo (Brown) and Sneddon (Union) are both currently head coaches in the ECAC. Bothwell was most recently an assistant coach for the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers, and Quinn is the head coach of the Under-17 Team with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program.

Corran, the former A.D. at Minnesota-Duluth, was hired May 7 and officially began his duties in Burlington on June 16, but he’s already been busy. Corran hired a new women’s basketball coach last week, and has conducted phone interviews for the hockey position, which became open with Mike Gilligan’s retirement on May 16. Gilligan remains at Vermont as an assistant athletic director and will play a role in the search.

Grillo was Gilligan’s top assistant during the program’s best years in the 1990s before taking over the head coaching position at Brown. A Maine graduate, Grillo has posted a 62-101-22 record in six years with the Bears, including his first winning season this past year (16-14-5 and fifth place in the ECAC).

Bothwell has worked closely with Corran in the past – he was the head coach at the University of Calgary while Corran was the school’s athletic director – and was a finalist for the Minnesota-Duluth head coaching job before Corran hired Scott Sandelin. Bothwell spent a year and a half as an assistant coach with the Atlanta Thrashers before being dismissed from the position, along with head coach Curt Fraser, in December 2002. A Brown graduate, Bothwell turned down the head coaching job at his alma mater before it was offered to Grillo.

Sneddon is 50-99-18 in five years at Union, where he took over for former coach Stan Moore in 1998. Sneddon led the Skating Dutchmen to a 14-18-4 record this season and a sixth-place finish in the ECAC (10-10-2), earning INCH’s ECAC Coach of the Year honors. Sneddon graduated from Harvard in 1992 and has been a candidate for recent openings at Northern Michigan, Princeton and Harvard.

"Union has a bright future, and I am proud to say that I have been a part of the recent growth of the program," Sneddon told Schott. "We have a lot of exciting things happening with respect to the athletic facilities on campus."

Quinn is a 1989 graduate of Boston University who has been an assistant coach on the collegiate level at Northeastern and Nebraska-Omaha. A former first-round NHL draft pick, he joined the NTDP last summer and was the head coach of the Under-17 Team, the younger of the two USA Hockey teams based in Ann Arbor, Mich. He has extensive experience with USA Hockey, both as a coach and a player.

Corran hasn’t revealed a timeline for hiring the position, but told the Free Press that after interviewing the finalists, "it'll just be a short time before we reach a decision." His quick work on the women’s basketball job and in conducting phone interviews for hockey also suggests that a decision could come soon. These candidates have risen to the top of a crowded field of applicants, believed to have included current or former college head coaches Jeff Jackson, Mark Morris, Bob Mancini, Mike McShane and Bill Beaney.

With reporting from Ken Schott of the Schenectady Daily Gazette.

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