Monday, August 19, 2013

Gwozdecky Opens Up About DU In Tampa

From: Tampa Bay Times
by Damian Cristadero

New Lightning assistant George Gwozdecky said he did not expect to be fired in April by the University of Denver. And while he said, "There will always be some wounds," he added, "I've got a lot more positive feelings about our years there and the people that I've worked with and the great players that I've worked with rather than with one person's decision."

Gwozdecky, 60, was fired after 19 seasons with the Pioneers and national championships in 2004 and '05. He won at least 20 games in his final 12 seasons, but the team exited in the first round of the NCAA playoffs in five of the past six seasons.

"The consistency of success I was proud of," Gwozdecky said. "That's a lot of work by our assistant coaches and staff and players. So, yeah, (being fired) kind of caught me off guard."

Gwozdecky was in Tampa Tuesday and spoke on many topics.

On the shock of being fired by Denver: My better half, she's still on the war path. I say that a little bit sarcastically because once we decided -- once Jon and Steve offered us the opportunity and we decided this is what we wanted to do -- she was all in. But with her, and I think with me, there will always be some wounds. But we've got 19 years of great memories. I think we did things the right way. We had success. But like in any part of life, whether it's the National Hockey League or college hockey, sometimes things just don't work out. The bosses have their prerogative to make decisions based on the direction they wanted to go. 

On if he saw the split coming: No. I had been assured that the contract was going to get done.

On if Denver was as forthcoming as it should have been: Oh, I don't know. I've learned that sometimes you take things for granted. Hockey at DU, we weren't high maintenance. We just kind of did our job and every year it's, 'Okay, hockey is going to the national tournament. They've won 20, 22, 25, 26 games and they're selling out every game. So, that's kind of the golden goose. We don't worry about them.' ... The focus of concentration was on other sports. You didn't really have to worry about men's hockey. I wish I could give a better answer or give you a better understanding, but I really don't have one.

On any lingering hard feelings: I don't think you ever get over being jilted, whether it's your first high school dance and you ask the pretty girl in the corner and she says 'get lost.' That's kind of tough to take, the rejection. But I've got a lot more positive feelings about our years there and the people that I've worked with and the great players that I've worked with rather than with one person's decision [read entire article].

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't think it was a one person decision. I don't have any inside info but I can guess on a couple of other people besides Peg.

dggoddard said...

DU's big problem is they don't have enough high level donors who want to support Athletics.

When it came time to re-do Tierney & Gwozdecky's contracts, the money wasn't there.

Coombe slashed Athletics budget by $500,000 last Spring and either George or Bill had to go....

Ring_of_Fire said...

Unless the "one person" George is talking about is Dan Ritchie, there is no way in hell that his dismissal was a "one person decision"...

At a University like DU, decisions of that magnitude are handled by the Board of Trustees. Sure, Peg, Ron Grahame, and General Counsel Paul Chan were consulted for their opinions, but ultimately it was up to the BOT...and, if you're to believe the scuttlebut around campus, the BOT ultimately does whatever Dan Ritchie wants them to.

Ring_of_Fire said...

FYI, DG, the decision to slash the Athletic Department's budget was also the BOT's.

dggoddard said...

Agreed.

The fact that a 19-year employee who had brought glory back to the university was shit-canned without knowing who or why was behind it is pretty telling in and of itself.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ring, Considering all that Ritchie has done ,and is continuing to do for D.U.(latest: 27 mill. for the new engineering school) I think the scuttlebutt is correct and would agree with it.

Ring_of_Fire said...

4:48 - I don't really disagree with your sentiments regarding Ritchie, but there's a propensity here (and other places...) to blame Coombe for a fair number of sins for which he is only very peripherally responsible.

Coombe is mostly in charge of the day-to-day operations of the university and coming up with fancy-sounding platitudes like "we are a private University, dedicated to the pulic good". Oh, and doing an terrible job of waging the mascot war. In the end, Coombe has little discretion when it comes to items like setting University-wide budgets - those items are the purview of the Board of Trustees.

dggoddard said...

Good points.

CU is facing athletic budget cuts and almost every other school in the nation is in the same boat.

Someone screwed up the Budget last year and there doesn't seem to be anyone taking responsibility.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking Gwoz knows exactly who was responsible. It was Peg.



Fire the DOPpES!!!!

Anonymous said...

Ring I'm the previous poster that you are responding to. I,in turn, also agree with you . Next hockey game let's have a beer and talk about the future of D.U. hockey which I feel good about in spite of them letting Gwoz go.

Anonymous said...

Gwoz can't pretend he didn't see it coming.

He'd been fighting with Peg and the BOT for YEARS over contract size and structure, program funding, fundraising, NCAA travel, etc.

Anonymous said...

Gwoz's agent over played his hand .He had three aces and kept raising. Dan boy was holding a full boat. Gwoz would have been much better served if he did all of his own negotiations.
If you guys are ever looking for a rep ,make sure you don't hire that guy.

timt89 said...

This article is just one more example of the class and professionalism that Gwoz showed to the media and the public. While he tried to answer the question honestly, he did it in the right way.

As far as many of us are concerned, he will always stand close to Murray Armstrong for what he has done to build the DU hockey program. He will be successful in Tampa or wherever he goes. Hopefully, someday when all of this dies down, I hope he will get formally recognized for his efforts at DU. Look what the guy accomplished in 19 years...Amazing!

Anonymous said...

When Peg fired Gwoz I decided not to make make an alumni contribution. Tell you what - if Coombe fires Peg this season, I’ll match her salary this year as my contribution. But only if he fires her. Until Coombe-daddy fires Peg I won’t give a dime.

Anonymous said...

I'm betting that many of the NHL players that Gwoz coached feel much the same as 6:31. No Gwoz = no NHLers making a contribution. Why would Stastny, Bozak, Carle, etc make a contribution after Peg peed on the birthday cake?

Anonymous said...

Why would they make a contribution? Hmmm, let's see...cause they played at DU and want to see DU hockey succeed. That would be one reason.

dggoddard said...

Gwozdecky's in a great situation in Tampa. He built two college hockey programs from the ground up and accomplished everything one could in the college game.

Hope he thrives in the NHL.

Dunker said...

Anon 6:31. Why would you want Peg fired? She has been a great AD; just look at our success and her great hires. Peg did not fire Gwoz. She just delivered the message.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Dunker but Gwoz said it was Peg. I believe him.

Ring_of_Fire said...

Anon 1:46:

When did Gwoz say that his dismissal was solely Peg's decision?

Also, if you don't mind, I'd like to see your source on this. And, no, your personal "recollection" or "inference" from something that was said at a press conference or in an interview doesn't count as a "source".

I ask because I believe I've read/watched everything publicly available on this subject; and, as far as I know, at no time has Gwoz ever identified any one person as being solely responsible for the decision that was made.

I could be wrong, though...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, we want a sworn deposition with a photo of Gwoz' hand on a bible: hahaha

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't believe anything Mike Chambers has to say unless it is confirmed by three priests and two rabbis.

Anonymous said...

If it's posted on the internet then it must be true.




Fire the DOPpES!

Dunker said...


I cant believe you erased the comment from the person who said he never heard or read anything where Gwoz stated that Peg fired him. You are not the censoring kind.

Dunker said...


OOPS!! It's back!!