DU Moves Into Denver Post's Editorial Outhouse

(above) DU moved from the sports pages to the Denver Post's editorial page
University of Denver vice chancellor for athletics and recreation Peg Bradley-Doppes may have had ample reason to fire hockey coach George Gwozdecky. But DU fans and supporters won't know until she steps forward to explain her decision.

Until then, we're left scratching our heads at his unceremonious dumping [read entire article].

48 comments:

1980 said...

Having this on the editorial page maybe a big deal. This may attract of attention of a lot of non-hockey fanatics. We need this additional attention to bring this to light, because the articles by their sports columnists about college hockey are mostly read by only the same people who read this blog.

This really may bring some pressure to get Peg, Coombe or whoever to at least try and explain the otherwise inexplicable firing of Gwoz. While I don't know what that will achieve, at least they may give us some BS info

timt89 said...

I think the big issue with Peg is her lack of visibility. While other AD’s on the Front Range are on radio and TV, promoting their programs, Peg works behind the scenes. This is fine when everything is humming but when there are problems, she is nowhere to be found. I felt badly that her staff (in tears) and other coaches (in tears) were front and center during the Gwozdecky firing. There is something that is not right going on within our athletic department. If tough decisions are made, that is fine but it requires leadership. You can’t delegate leadership. You have to own it.

Get out there or get out.

Anonymous said...

Fire Peg! Fire Peg! Fire Peg!

dggoddard said...

Peg has been and is the best AD DU has ever had.

Firing Gwozdecky is probably one of the worst moves the university has ever made.

So somewhere between Peg's performance up to now and firing Gwozdecky the train seems to be bouncing off the tracks.

Everywhere you look DU is making major structural changes. Bringing in a new mascot, cutting the Athletics Budget $500,000, firing Gwozdecky, salary freezes on campus, yet applications are up 33% over a year ago & yesterday announcing the elimination of the Hyde Interview Program.

Anonymous said...

DG

You are right, we need to balance the good things Peg has done with this

I agree that there is some missing (at least to us) piece, a big disconnect. I think much of it is simple, its financial. Its no different from the federal economy, when times are tough, things get cut. DU get nearly all its revenue from tuition, as an expensive private school its amazing it is doing so well with the past decade economy. I don't know if your facts are correct about 500K cut to athletics, but if true, thats not to bad (percentage wise) compared to some other parts of campus. There are cuts to all units, kind of like DU's version of sequestration.

In the end, I bet they pay the new coach pretty close to what Gwoz was making (this may represent a savings compared to what he was asking), DU continues to make improvements on many fronts across campus (eg new library), a clear exception is POSSIBLY the hockey program, if the program truly tanks - it might not

timt89 said...

I think Peg has a mixed record. Scott and Tierney are big wins. The ski team has declined, top female golf coach leaves, successful volleyball coach is moved, soccer is a mixed bag (mens flat, womens up) and now the hockey program is in flux. We had more national championships from Diane Murphy. While I love basketball, all you need is one good season and the coach is either stolen or needs $1.5 to 2.0M to stay. We want national championships, not invitations to March Madness to be bounced in the first round. I think we can have both basketball and hockey success but our ceiling is much higher with hockey.

Regardless of her overall record, she needs to be present, not AWOL, at one of our biggest crossroads.

Anonymous said...

"Regardless of her overall record, she needs to be present, not AWOL, at one of our biggest crossroads. "


Tim,
That nails is with respect to this issue

Anonymous said...

Peg is caught in the middle. This was a board decision. My guess is that when George said he was only advising on the Ohio State coach search but was undercover interviewing that turned the board against him and then it was only a matter of time. there are some heavy weights on that board that it is best not to trifle with.

Anonymous said...

The whole conference fiasco is also on Peg's watch. I know 90% of that is out of her control (no football, bad geography, limited number of "similar" schools), but the recent turn down of a better conference (I can't recall it's name but Brandon made an earlier post about it) because we were locked into the Summit is a bit of a blunder.

And, at the end of the day, much like Peg held Gwoz responsible for lack of post season success due to factors out of his control (e.g. Zucker/Bennett/Shore, injuries, etc.), Peg has to be held accountable for the conference fiasco.

I do agree, that before the conference fiasco and Gwoz, she had a pretty stellar record. But, that's two serious recent gaffes.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 10:46:

The "recent turn down of a better conference" you're referring to was the unconfirmed report that the Missouri Valley Conference had made overtures to DU...with the precondition that DU add baseball and women's softball.

If this sounds familiar, it's because this is the same difficulty the WCC has with DU...and DU with the WCC.

Given the budgetary realities that DU is facing, adding dollar-intensive sports that have a comparatively weak return on investment as a precondition to join a "better" conference just doesn't make sense.

This reality is, in no way, Peg's fault. It is simply reality...and blaming Peg for it is akin to blaming the head waiter for sinking the Titanic.

Brendan Loy said...

"University of Denver vice chancellor for athletics and recreation Peg Bradley-Doppes may have had ample reason to fire hockey coach George Gwozdecky. But DU fans and supporters won't know until she steps forward to explain her decision."

This sounds like many things I've written about Boone -- a decision has been made without explaining it. Maybe there are good reasons for it! But we can't know if they decision-makers won't explain! Seems like a bit of a pattern.

Regarding the conference issue mentioned above, it was the Missouri Valley Conference. Here are my posts about it:

Denver to the Missouri Valley Conference?

Report: Denver has “already told Missouri Valley no”

Denver AD won’t comment on Missouri Valley reports, but says “menu of sports” is key

Personally, my sense is that these decisions are being made above Peg, yet she gets to take the heat for them. If so, it would be nice if the actual decision-makers would step forward and explain themselves. But of course, that would mean they can't let Peg take the fall if things go poorly.

Anonymous said...

Anybody with a hyphenated name should not be trusted.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that Peg would love to go to the media with the Board of Trustees and explain things but she's likely being muzzled by either the Chancellor and/or the Board.

DU is a private school and doesn't "owe" anything to us in terms of an explanation, despite the media claims.

DU is really run by an old cabal of millionaires who live in their own world and have their own world view. To them, Gwoz was little more than a disgruntled coach.

Anonymous said...

Enough with the hyphen BS. It's sexist crap, and has no bearing

Peg is a pro who trained under the best at Miami, North Carolina and Michigan.

She's made excellent hires in hoops and in lacrosse, and we'll see what she can pull off in hockey.

She's done more for school spirit than any AD we've ever had, despite having her hands tied on the Boone issue by those above her.

She's also ushered in the best sponsorship deals and TV visibility DU has ever had.

The conference affilaition mess is mostly not her fault. The Sun Belt predated her. No one could predict the WAC implosion, and she wisely got us out of that quagmire. She does not have the money to add more sports right now, so the Summitt was really her only option for now.

AS for the Gwoz firing, it was not handled well, but my guess is the Board was behind this more than Peg was. That said, it hasn't been handled well, and she needs to be out in front of this (if she is allowed to do so)....

Anonymous said...

11:09, it must have been the Missouri Valley I was thinking of. I'm sure there are a lot of barriers to entry.

Blaming Peg for the conference fiasco is nothing like blaming the head waiter for the Titanic sinking. It would be more like blaming the head of the economics department. Much like the economics professor, the waiter has absolutely nothing to do with steering the ship. Peg certainly didn't steer DU into an iceberg either so I'm not sure who I'd compare Peg to on the Titanic. Perhaps Kate Winslet.

To clarify some bad wording in my first post, I don't blame Peg for the conference fiasco at all. All I'm suggesting is that Peg (along with the BOT) is in charge and should hold themselves to the same standards that they hold others to. And, much like Peg holding Gwoz responsible for Tyler Bozak injuring his knee, missing a good portion of a season, and coming back at 50% in the playoffs. Much like Peg held Gwoz accountable last year for Beau Bennett's wrist injury. The same standards Peg used to justify the firing of Gwoz should be applied to her.

Peg demanded that Gwoz "find a way to win" even though numerous factors outside of his control negatively affected the playoff performance of the team. Similarly, Peg needs to find a way to fix the conference fiasco even though there are countless factors outside of her control that are negatively impacting her progress.

Anonymous said...

11:09

On ice-performance was likely a minor factor in the firing of Gwoz. He is coaching legend, and if it were really just about his record, he'd still be the coach.

Gwoz was most likely fired because the Board of Trustees got tired of his contract extension-related issues that have been dragging on for years, as well as his flirtations with other programs. This was a business issue and a power issue, not really a performance issue.

We might not like the result, but the Board controls DU, and when they make up their mind to something, the do it and they don't care very much about the optics...

Anonymous said...

Where does Ron Graham factor in all of this?

old pio said...

One thing I'm looking forward to next season is hearing Jay explain: "They're not booing. They're saying BOOOOOOOOONE!"

Anonymous said...

budget cuts, gotta pay for the obama show last October, Cost way more than the million we were told. Wake up

Anonymous said...

Speculation:

Ron Grahame works for Peg and knowing how ethical Ronnie is, he would likely not cross his boss.

Peg seems to really like and apreciate what Ronnie does, as evidenced by her nomination of him for a major University alumni award this year, so you'd think that relationship was likely strong, too.

As a fellow hockey guy, and someone Gwoz reported to, you'd also have to think Ronnie also kept Gwoz informed of what he knew.

All that said, I have a hard time thinking Gwoz was as "stunned' and "shocked" as he said he was. Gwoz knew for 4 years that there were issues that were holding up his extension, but obviously, he wasn't able to solve them.

What I do know is that everyone has to hold some of the failure here - The Board, the Chancellor, Peg, Ronnie, George, and George's agent all failed to make it work.

Too much ego, not enough collaboration.

Anonymous said...

Just for clarity, it was a Presidential debate, not an obama show. However, point taken, it probably cost a lot.

But must agree with the sentiment in this entire thread: From the Board of Trustees all the way to Gwoz agent, these folks put their egos ahead of the hockey program. Very sad. This will be a devastating blow.

Anonymous said...

As a season ticket holder, I spend about $5,000 a year including tickets, donations, parking, entertainment, etc.

Assuming that costs rise 5% a year over the next 20-30 years, that'll mean an investment of about $170,000 over twenty years, and about $340,000 over thirty years.

I'm not sure if I'm willing to spend that kind of money on a group that doesn't really seem to put the hockey program above their petty egos.

Other season ticket holders need to think about that as well. I could by a nice condo, or even another house for that kind of money.

Anonymous said...

I am glad Peg had the courage to fire Gwoz if you cant beat cc in a best of 3 series you should not be the coach at DU

Anonymous said...

Pieces coming together. Department’s own website notes the department’s goals:
“The Division’s Strategic Plan continues to be the driving force behind the progress we are making toward the accomplishment of our goals and objectives. Our focus is clear and our resources are aligned with the objective of becoming the premier intercollegiate basketball program in the Rocky Mountain Region and maintaining national recognition of our rich hockey tradition.”
Big difference between “premier” for hoops and “national recognition” of a tradition – unless of course they need an excuse for letting a respected coach go in which case they’ll claim the bar was set higher. Which is it?
You have coaches and staffers that see the man every day, know more than we do, and they are all crying. The coach he succeeded, the other ADs he’s worked for are all complimentary. We don’t know the answers and the AD is hiding in a cave in Torra Borra.

Anonymous said...

anon 1:30 - I want to sit with you, you must be buying LOTS of damn good beers! I buy a pair of Friday night season tix, lower level, and the two of us each drink a beer (of expensive beer) per period. So for 2 of us, less than 100 bucks a game x ~14 game. A good bargain relative to other entertainment

I will keep buying my tickets, but if you don't think the value is there or you really aren't that big a fan, you should exercise your option to not renew. But otherwise your math is week unless you can buy a condo for $5000 down and annual motgage payments of $5k (or even $10K) per year next 30 years. Hopefully you didn't get your accounting degree from Daniels !

Anonymous said...

So Peg gets the credit for Scott and Tierney but doesn’t have to take the blame for Gwoz? Wow, sounds like a great deal. Since you’re blaming the Trustees for Gwoz, shouldn’t they get credit for Scott and Tierney as well?

Anonymous said...

Trustees get some credit for wooing Tierney once here (Pat Bowlen in particular was very helpful) and to some extent with Joe Scott. But is was Peg that brought these guys to campus first for the trustees to meet in the first place, so she has to get the lion's share of credit for that.

As for the Gwoz firing, Peg does get some blame. She probably could have done more to bring the trustees and Gwoz together to figure out a compromise that could work. But at the end of the day, Trustees usuually have more to do in firing a highly paid employeee than they do in hiring them....

Anonymous said...

anon 1:42 ... I have more, and much better seats than you - Not sure if I want to keep them. And no, I didn't get my accounting degree from Daniel's. I'm not an accountant ... I hire accountants. However, my math is correct. You go less games, own fewer seats, and apparently drink more than I. :)

But keeping in line with your cheeky comments ... perhaps you forgot to listen when they gave the spelling lessons at your elementary school. ;)

Bottom line is that this was a poor decision by DU, was badly communicated, and one that will effect the hockey program in significant ways for years to come.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:32

There you go proving what the rest of the hockey community already knows. DU fans are arrogant douchebags that don't know the game. Good luck next year!

Twister said...

I fully intend to renew my season tickets. Do I despise the fact that Gwoz was shown the door? Yep. Do I wish DU had handled this differently? You bet. Do I think Peg or someone else from DU needs to step up, face the music, and offer an explanation? Absolutely. Still, none of that changes the fact that I love DU hockey. I'd much rather spend my money at Magness than at Avs games.

Fan support in 2013-14 will likely be more critical than ever--new coach, new conference, and a mix of players that could be quite different than what was originally planned.

Anonymous said...

Had heard a lot about the Tierney video so I watched it. Frustrating. A lot of comments here and other places about being upset but moving on or being upset but cant do anything. We can choose to support or not. A principled stand is based on principles and isn't just a shoulder shrug. So far I've seen one coach (Tierney) vote for Gwoz and no coaches voting for the board/AD. Program's obviously moving forward but either way what happened was wrong and wrong is still wrong. It doesn't get corrected by simply continuing to provide blind support. Actions have consequences.Plenty of bad figures in sports for my kids to see, but now there's one less good one to help balance out the equation.

Anonymous said...

“New coach, new conference, and a mix of players that could be quite different than what was originally planned.”

After looking at DU’s schedule next year, do you think we really have a chance to win more than a game or two?

Anonymous said...

DU may not be at the top of the league for a while, but I don't think we dip down into the single digits in wins.

The new coach may also excite good players to join us, especially if the coach has a pro background...

old pio said...

Just wondering, will the always-eager-to-please Magness staff confiscate Boone gear next year as a condition of sitting down? Will students wearing Boone images be required to cover it up, or change, or face arrest?

Max Power said...

Who knows what that crazy lady who wears gloves the whole time will do....

Anonymous said...

You’d actually have to go to the game for security to confiscate something. How many people will just stay home and watch or listen to the game next season?

Anonymous said...

1-5 in the NCAA tourney since '05 is a legitimate reason for an exit...I've been a lifelong DU fan as well and I've been calling for George's exit for the past two years. Put it this way, if you were a Broncos fan, would you really still want Mike Shanahan as your coach after so many playoff exits and misses after two super bowls? The answer is no.

Anonymous said...

7:18


Look how well that turned out.

Anonymous said...

7:18, I think college sports is greatly different than pro sports. Therefore, I think the factors that go into deciding whether or not to fire the head coach are also greatly different.

Pro players make their decision on where to play based largely on two factors (although its usually only the first factor) (1) who will pay me the most money? (2) will I win there? Pro coaches come and go all the time and are rarely a factor in a player's decision. Also, pro teams draft players (i.e. players basically have no say), while colleges recruits commit to a school (i.e. it's the players sole choice).

College kids obviously can't get paid (theoretically, at least). Their decisions are therefore based on a lot of qualitative factors. I think each kid has a different set of factors that weigh into their decision. CC recruits have a 3-some on a recruiting visit and they're sold. Unfortunately, DU doesn't offer 3-way parties as part of the recruiting process. They are going to weigh lots of factors, like the location, the "feel" of the school, the education, current players on the team, will they win, etc. At, or near, the top of the list is coaching (at least according to the multitude of tweets listed on DG's other article).

Therefore, I think losing your coach in college sports can have a much more dramatic effect on the program than at the pro level. And, has to be much more carefully weighed. I think that's why you see guys like Parker, Lucia, Eaves, Whitehead, Umile, etc. stick around for so long. They've all had stretches that should have gotten them fired under your criteria, but the school is often affraid to pull the trigger because it can doom the program.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:23

Yeah, John Fox took them to the AFC Championship game...

Anonymous said...

7:51...I agree with most of that, but if we want to look at college sports we can look right at Florida State football. Bobby Bowden gave FSU two National Championships, a dozen top 10 recruiting classes, and gained them national attention, much like George at DU. But, after several sub-par seasons, it was time for a change. And, it wasn't as if FSU was going 0-12, they were still making decent Bowl games. The change has worked, and I think this will be a positive for us as well...as long as we go in the right direction with the coaching search, or promote Steve Miller.

Anonymous said...

Now you’re channeling Peg’s theory about winning the big one. Too bad Fox was one and done even with Manning. Maybe DU can find the next Josh McDaniels of college hockey coaches.

DU/CC Dad said...

Vic Lombardi on CBS News 4 in Denver, on his commentary section at 10 PM on Thursday night, just mirrored the "WHY" of Gwoz getting fired. Maybe with the Post and CBS News 4 asking why, we might get some answers...and then maybe not.

Anonymous said...

DU's media handing of this has been atrocious.

You can tell they miss Erich Bacher.

My guess is that the Board has muzzled Peg from talking further...

DU's Board operates like the Mafia...

miller said...

I had a discussion yesterday with an athletic dept representative. He gave three reasons for George's dismissal:

1.) Could not come to contract terms
2.) George "shopping" himself to other schools
3.) Lack of victories in the NCAA tournaments

One of my questions to him was what if they had won a game in the tournament this year, would that have made a difference. After a few moments of silence, he said probably not.

I got a response to an email I sent Ron Grahame. One of the questions I asked him was why were no athletic dept officials at the press conference:

"The press conference was designed for George to say goodbye in an atmosphere void of any tension or distractions. If administrative staff attended the media would have turned it into a circus. George deserved the opportunity to go out on his terms."

You can draw your own conclusions.

On the Boone front, I attended the focus group last night. Nothing much to report. There were six of us there, all Boone supporters. One of the questions asked the group was what would it take to make the mascot search successful. We all responded bringing Boone back would accomplish that goal.

At the end of the session, the gentleman from the marketing organization that is conducting the focus group said, in so many words, that bringing Boone back is not an option that the DU administration is going to pursue. Shock and amazement.

Anonymous said...

What I gather from that is Peg hasn't talked with "representatives" in the athletic department because that doesn't make sense.

timt89 said...

Since I don't expect we will ever get a real account of what happened, I have taken the liberty of 'channeling' Peg Doppes. Maybe this will help us move from grief to acceptance.

Press Conference: Peg Bradley Doppes

"Let me begin by stating, while others provided input into the decision to release Coach Gwozdecky, the ultimate decision was mine. There was only one Murray Armstrong and there will only be one Coach George Gwozdecky. But, it is my firm belief there will be other great hockey coaches at the University of Denver, too.

I am here today to explain the reasons for my decision and take your questions. I would like to share why I made these changes with you.

We had different philosophies. As the program became more successful, we had to front load full scholarships for premier hockey players which hindered our ability to build the depth and experience necessary to advance in the NCAA's and, potentially, win more championships. In my opinion, this approach creates a winning program short-term but makes it difficult to maintain continuity. This is not to discredit our student athletes with professional ambitions but a recognition of the value of keeping and retaining more of our top hockey recruits as possible. Our scholarship players are a big investment and retention has to be a priority.

We have an expensive model. The cost of the program is much more than Coach Gwozdecky's contract. He has a veteran coaching staff that comes at a premium and are part of any financial deal to keep Coach Gwozdecky. We are the only D-1 program with a dedicated goalie coach. With flat attendance and a relatively small arena, it is difficult to match state funded operations such as Minnesota and Wisconsin with a similar operating structure. Some of the greatest success DU had in the past was developing associate head coaches who are currently running their own programs today. Many of the most successful hockey teams today are following a similar model.

Change is good. This is not a criticism of what who we are now but a recognition that we can do things differently and be successful. Who envisioned the day when three of the four schools in the frozen four were Yale, Quinnipiac, and Union? Who would have thought Ferris State would be in the finals the year before? I believe we must be true to who we are -- a mid-sized private university and seize on our strengths to build the next National Championship team. Our commitment to winning championships is not changing - our approach is.

Our admiration and appreciation for Coach Gwozdecky will never change but we must to be willing to accept the opportunity that comes with change.

Questions?"

Now I feel better! Who's the next coach?

Anonymous said...

Does DU have a chance to win 20 games next season? 10? 5? 1?