|(above) This rumor has been gaining steam for three days, has now emerged online|
University of Denver Athletic Director Peg Bradley-Doppes will not be speaking to the media today or any day in the foreseeable future about the firing of head hockey coach George Gwozdecky. In some quarters that may be seen as a sign of weakness on the part of the Athletic Department and the university.
The media coverage of the firing has been overwhelmingly negative and its probable that facing a hostile press corps would delve into questions the university is unwilling to answer.
There's also a possibility that DU could be afraid of potential litigation regarding this matter and anything said publicly or privately could be brought up later. Did the university follow all their internal protocols when firing a university employee? Did the university's Board of Trustees follow their own By-laws when agreeing to buy out the contract? Did the Board's Athletic Affairs Committee act within their own purview when making this decision? Were any federal or state laws violated when buying out the Gwozdecky contract?
The first rumbles of discontent with Gwozdecky were detected in mid-March. The wheels may have been in motion long before, but by mid-March DU was seriously looking at alternatives. Several high level donors where reportedly dissatisfied with the coach.
Onlines rumors out of Boston this week suggest that DU made advances towards Boston University's new hockey coach David Quinn. Since Quinn was hired on March 26th, DU's approaches would have had to be before that date. And since we heard about the discontent with Gwozdecky in mid-March, that falls within the timeline.
Donors to the Athletic Department have been told this week that former Chancellor Dan Ritchie will be playing a prominent in the search for a new hockey coach. That might come as a surprise to DU alums and staffers, but Ritchie has been working behind the scenes at DU recently. Alumni have been informed of $30 million donation by Ritchie to fund the new Engineering School. Did Ritchie also play a major role in the firing of Gwozdecky?
The Athletic Department reached out to donors and fans this week and laid out a three pronged story for the firing.
- Performance - NCAA early exits
- Loyalty - Soliciting employment elsewhere
- Contract - Negotiating for a higher salary
While these excuses have been ripped to shreads by the media, the Quinn rumors suggest that Gwozdecky would of been fired no matter how DU had fared in the NCAA playoffs this season. A DU staffer confirmed yesterday that beating New Hampshire or anyone else last weekend likely would not have saved Gwozdecky's job.
While DU's Athletic Director takes the heat, questions that could and should be answered by the University of Denver's Board of Trustees will remain hidden.