A year ago, former Alberta Golden Bear Kris Knoblauch was considered a rising star among WHL coaches. Friday, Knoblauch was unceremoniously fired by the Kootenay Ice.
Somebody needs to ask if the University of Alberta’s search for a new head coach for their hockey program – a job that will apparently go to former Golden Bear Ian Herbers – or how the school went about that process played a part in Knoblauch losing his job with the WHL Ice.
Likewise, did former interim coach and current Golden Bear GM Stan Marple, who had a hand in assembling the eight-member selection committee and is a long-time friend of Herbers, follow the required procedure and process in the hiring? Did Marple’s handling of the hiring contribute to the decision by Kootenay GM Jeff Chynoweth to fire Knoblauch Friday, the same say he interviewed for the U of A job?
There are, to understate, legitimate questions about that.
WHAT HAPPENED HERE?
According to a report by Evan Daum in the Edmonton Journal, Marple flat-out denied on Sunday by way of a text message that Herbers, who was coaching with the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL, was even a candidate for the job, which came open when Marple was bumped to GM..
"He has not been interviewed, nor did he apply … he is coaching in the AHL next year. Why would he come here?" Marple reportedly said in the text last Sunday after inquiries by Daum. Daum’s full story is here. A follow up story about Herbers impending hire is here.
So how, given CIS and U of A protocols on hiring, could Herbers possibly get the job if he didn’t apply? And why did Chynoweth fire Knoblauch, who led the Ice to the 2011 WHL championship and compiled a record of 82-47-7-8 in two regular seasons and a 16-7 mark in two playoff appearances, the same day he interviewed for the U of A job?
As Daum points out in his report, Kootenay and Chynoweth were apparently happy enough with Knoblauch that he received a contract extension that would take him through the 2013-14 season. Now, without any explanation from the Ice, he’s out of work in Kootenay and Herbers is in at the U of A.
QUESTIONS . . .
Did Marple and the U of A seek and get permission from Chynoweth and the Ice to talk to Knoblauch about the job? If not, why not?
Was word that Knoblauch was a candidate and/or was going to interview for the U of A job leaked to Chynoweth and the Ice after the proper protocols about talking to him had not been followed?
Was Knoblauch, who played five seasons for the Golden Bears and won a national title in 2000, led to believe he’d have the inside track for the U of A job if he applied, only to find out that wasn’t the case when Herbers showed interest in the position? Did Marple lobby for Herbers as a candidate?
Why did Marple lead Daum to believe Herbers wasn’t even a candidate rather than simply decline comment on hiring process?
I don’t have the answers to these questions, but they need to be asked. I imagine Daum will be all over all of the above with Marple and the selection committee soon enough, as he should be.
The way this process unfolded doesn’t pass the smell test.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.