One freshman has decided to turn pro, the coaching search has intensified and the home schedule for next season is out.
It’s just another typical week in another busy Miami off-season, which has produced as many headlines as the RedHawks’ games themselves since the end of 2017-18.
Jonathan Gruden signed with the Ottawa Senators earlier this week, meaning he is now officially a pro and will forego his final three years of NCAA eligibility.
Gruden dressed for all 38 of Miami’s games this season, racking up three goals and 12 assists for 15 points, finishing with a minus-19 rating.
While very talented, the fourth-round pick turns 19 next month and still needs work in his all-around game, but he is listed on AHL Belleville’s roster, so he may log some ice time for that team’s final week and a half of regular season.
London holds his OHL rights, so that’s another option for Ottawa.
Bowling Green head coach Chris Bergeron is reportedly “mulling over” an offer from Miami to take the same job in Oxford. Bergeron is an alum and was an assistant coach for the RedHawks for 10 seasons before taking over behind the Falcons’ bench in 2010.
Today, The Toledo Blade reported that Bowling Green has offered Bergeron a new contract that would reportedly represent a major raise.
When Bergeron moved to BGSU, he inherited a team that had 13 straight non-winning seasons and had not made the NCAA Tournament since 1990.
The Falcons have won at least 21 games five straight seasons and ended up with 25 in 2018-19, their highest total in 23 years.
Bowling Green also snapped a 28-year NCAA Tournament drought this season.
As a RedHawks assistant along with Jeff Blashill – now the head coach of the Detroit Red Wings – Bergeron helped pump in the recruits that made Miami such for a force for the first part of this millennium.
In addition to a 120-point career at Miami, Bergeron played parts of five seasons with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the now-defunct IHL, so he has ample ties to the area.
Seems like an ideal fit for Miami, and for Bergeron it would an upgrade into a better league to a school with better facilities and almost certainly better pay.
His resume is solid, and being an alum, this hire could really stabilize the head coaching job in one of Miami’s core sports. Bergeron is just 48 years old.
So what’s to mull?
Well, as we talked about in our last write-up, the situation with the current assistants remains unclear.
Peter Mannino and Joel Beal were hired a year ago and haven’t been given a realistic chance to help turn Miami around.
Typically a new head coach hires his own assistants, so Mannino and Beal are likely in limbo and could be out of jobs unless somehow a condition of a Bergeron hire was that the current assistants remain.
The incoming recruiting class led by Mannino and Beal appears solid, and most or all of their commits could go elsewhere if there’s a completely new staff in place.
It’s a lose-lose situation if the assistants get the boot, as the program would lose a ton of freshman talent for 2019-20 and the optics would be horrible if Miami forces them to uproot their families for the second straight year.
That’s not a great situation to walk into for Bergeron. Or maybe there is discussion about retaining the assistants, in which case Bergeron’s staff – of which MU alum Barry Schutte is a member – could find itself unemployed when the vacated Bowling Green job is filled.
So it’s not exactly an empty netter for Bergeron.
Whatever decision he makes, Bergeron will always be remembered for the part he played in vaulting Miami to a top-tier team last decade, as well as leading Miami to its first NCAA Tournament berth in 1993 behind his 61-point season.
Then there’s the home schedule. Miami opens its Cady Arena slate, coincidentally enough, against Bowling Green on Oct. 6.
Ferris State and New Hampshire will also visit Oxford after finishing 57th and 33rd in the PairWise, respectively.
It’s pretty safe to assume BGSU will be a home-and-home, so all we don’t know is the two TBA road opponents.
Miami last hosted the Falcons in 2016-17 and has not played Ferris State since the CCHA dissolved. The RedHawks visited New Hampshire this season and went 0-1-1.