I figured it’s time I weighed in with a few thoughts about all the news out of RPI lately. Way overdue, maybe (my thoughts, not the news, although… maybe that too!).
Before I say anything else, let me wish Coach Appert all the best in the future. He was always very friendly and appreciative to me, and he unquestionably did a lot of good things for the RPI hockey program, including getting involved with charitable endeavors and reaching out to hockey alumni.
What he didn’t do, unfortunately, was have a lot of success on the ice. I’m not going to delve into reasons now, but I think it’s fair to say that some of the blame has to lie at his feet, whatever certain recently vocal alumni may think about extenuating circumstances.
A quick aside on that topic: while it’s unsettling to see the names of unquestionably distinguished alums who felt disrespected at being left out of the recent coaching search, I also think it’s interesting to see what names were not mentioned, including some that I know are in the Troy area and have been involved with RPI hockey recently. And as important as Frank Chiarelli and Mike Sadeghpour are to the history of RPI hockey, I see nothing in their resumes to suggest that they are in any way authorities on what makes a good hockey coach. Joe Juneau may be, but I can’t help wondering if the only quote attributed to him in recent articles was taken out of context, since it mentions neither Seth Appert or RPI.
But one way or the other, the deed is done. Hiring Dave Smith, whose on-ice record isn’t much better than Appert’s, started another whole firestorm of bemoaning and criticism, but that’s what was done and what happens next, we shall see.
The only thing I will go on record as saying is that I am NOT one of those who feel you have to give a new coach four years, or even five years, before you can expect to see improvement. I firmly believe there is much more talent in the RPI locker room than recent results would suggest. While I agree that we can expect the best results from Coach Smith when he’s had time to make the team truly “his,” if he’s a better coach than Seth Appert, he should be able to get better results with the same team.
If a 5-year timetable for an ECAC championship is good enough for our AD, Dr. McElroy, it’s good enough for me. Let’s go, Red!