|New BG coach Williams views news as 'real plus' for program|
|Written by By KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Friday, 31 July 2009 08:32|
Although the future of the Falcon hockey program remains uncertain, Bowling Green head coach Dennis Williams was pleased with the university's $2.5 million commitment to the renovation of the Ice Arena.
The program has been targeted for possible elimination after next season to help the athletics department and the school deal with large budget deficits.
"It's a real plus from a coaching standpoint and a recruiting standpoint," said Williams, who was hired June 30 on a one-year interim basis.
He was an assistant coach at BG last season and played for the Falcons from 1997-2001.
"It's a nice piece of the puzzle for the coaches and the returning players, and it's good for recruiting," Williams said. "It's something that we can show the recruits, that things are moving along in the right direction in terms of the future."
BG will have eight seniors this season, but it has just one recruit so far for the 2010-11 season. The uncertainty over the program's future, which first surfaced in March, has certainly hurt BG's recruiting.
Williams hopes the $2.5 million will jump start the fundraising to save the program.
A number of former BG players and supporters of the program haven't donated because they didn't believe the university was committed to saving the program.
They also have been unhappy with the program's lack of recent success and the lack of financial support from the university and the athletics department for nearly two decades.
The Falcons won the NCAA championship in 1984, but they haven't had a winning record since 1997. BG has finished last in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association in three of the last four seasons.
Those players and supporters have asked for a money back guarantee of sorts for their donations if the program is cut.
BGSU president Dr. Carol Cartwright met with a number of former players and supporters during the Falcon hockey golf outing July 18.
The meeting became heated at times as the players expressed their frustration.
"I am confident that the funds necessary to ensure the future of the arena and BGSU hockey can be raised," Cartwright said in a letter dated July 28 sent to those who attended the outing.
Cartwright was traveling Thursday and couldn't be reached for comment.
"I am very sincere when I say we want this to work," she wrote.
The arena has largely been neglected and become one of the worst in college hockey.
The university announced in June that Bentz Whaley Flessner, a national fundraising consulting firm, would assess the potential of a fundraising campaign for the ice arena renovations and scholarship endowments for the program. It is hoped enough money can be raised to start an endowment to guarantee the future of the program or at least its 18 scholarships.
The study is expected to be completed by the end of August.
The university also formed separate committees to study the future of the arena and the athletics departments. Their reports have not been released.
The athletics department is facing a deficit of approximately $750,000. The hockey program lost about $600,000.
"We're waiting for the results of the feasibility studies, but the commitment of the $2.5 million from Dr. Cartwright is a great start," Williams said. "It's very encouraging."
|Last Updated on Friday, 31 July 2009 12:46|
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