Dennis “Red” Gendron, who has won two NCAA Hockey National Championships and an NHL Stanley Cup as an assistant coach, has been named University of Maine head men’s ice hockey coach by UMaine President Paul Ferguson and Director of Athletics Steve Abbott.
Gendron’s first college hockey coaching experience was with the Black Bears, where he assisted Coach Shawn Walsh with the 1993 NCAA Division I National Championship team.
Gendron replaces Tim Whitehead, who was released from his contract April 9. Robert Corkum has been serving as interim head coach since April 10.
In his 34-year coaching career, Gendron has worked with championship teams at all levels.
At Bellows Free Academy in Vermont, he guided squads to four state championships in the 1980s. Gendron earned three NHL championship rings as a coach and has twice had his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. He was an assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils when they captured the Stanley Cup in 1995, and was an assistant and head coach, respectively, with their AHL team in Albany when the Devils won the Stanley Cup in 2000 and 2003.
The last two seasons, Gendron was associate head coach at Yale University; the Bulldogs earned the 2013 NCAA Division I National Championship.
“Our primary goal in this search was to find an individual who could bring the best balance to our men’s hockey program as a nationally competitive team on the ice and support our student-athletes’ preparation for the future based upon solid academic foundations,” says President Ferguson. “We are so pleased to have found that individual in Red Gendron, who personifies that balance. His personal passion for the Black Bears and UMaine is extraordinary and will no doubt unite the Black Bear Nation.”
Abbott says Gendron “truly appreciates both the history of this great hockey program and the potential that exists here to compete for Hockey East and national championships. He is an enthusiastic competitor who loves this university and is passionate about Maine hockey.”
Abbott received names of recommended candidates from a seven-member search committee chaired by Dr. George Jacobson, professor emeritus of biology, ecology and climate change, and the university’s former NCAA faculty athletic representative. Abbott forwarded the recommendation to President Ferguson for a final decision.
“President Ferguson asked our committee to identify the best candidates for head coach of the University of Maine men’s ice hockey program,” Jacobson says. “We were focused and diligent in identifying the characteristics of the ideal coach, in finding candidates who fit the needs of our program and in evaluating candidates. The final group included several coaches who could have filled the role with distinction.”
In the past three weeks, Jacobson says the search committee met with candidates in person and talked by phone, and reached out to others in college and professional hockey circles to identify and evaluate finalists for the position.
“We intensely challenged one another and the candidates. In the end, the candidates themselves demonstrated who best matches the culture of our institution and the great Black Bear hockey community in Maine and around the world,” Jacobson says. “Coach Gendron has excellent understanding of leadership and motivation. He is highly intelligent, well-educated and articulate. And he knows the game of ice hockey at the highest level.”
Gendron says the experience he and his family had in Maine in the 1990s was life-changing.
“All of the wonderful things that have happened to us since that time would not have been possible if not for the University of Maine, Shawn Walsh, Grant Standbrook, and all of the champion players and coaches who were part of our first Maine experience. The energy and passion within and surrounding this program are inspiring and have not diminished in my absence,” Gendron says.
“I am fully aware of what this program means to our current players, our alumni, the university and to our fans throughout the state, and I am equally aware of the championship-caliber results they demand from their Black Bears,” he says. “Thank you to President Ferguson, Director Abbott and the wonderful professionals who served on the committee for granting me the opportunity to lead this storied program.”
Gendron earned a master’s degree in education from UMaine in 1993. USA Hockey uses Gendron’s book, “Coaching Hockey Successfully,” as the advanced-level manual for its coaching education program.
Prior to Gendron’s two seasons at Yale, from 2005–11 he was an assistant coach at the University of Massachusetts, helping the Minutemen reach the 2007 NCAA Tournament. In the 2004–05 season, Gendron was head coach and general manager of the Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League.
Gendron spent 11 seasons in professional hockey with the New Jersey Devils organization. From 2002–04, he coached the Albany River Rats of the American Hockey League. From 2000-02, he scouted for the Devils and from 1996–2000, Gendron was an assistant coach of the Albany River Rats, leading the team to two appearances in the AHL conference finals.
From 1994–96, Gendron was assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils, where his responsibilities included on-ice practice and video/statistical analysis. The team won the 1995 Stanley Cup after finishing as Eastern Conference finalist in 1994. During the 1993–94 season, he was a technological specialist for the Devils.
Gendron came to the University of Maine in 1991, where he was an assistant coach for three seasons. His responsibilities included bench coaching, practice planning, and coaching the forwards and power play on one of the best teams in college hockey history. For 11 years, Gendron was a head and assistant coach in Vermont and New Hampshire.
Gendron also has international coaching experience. He has guided eight USA Hockey Teams, including the U.S. National Junior Team on three occasions.
Gendron is fluent in French and speaks some Russian. He graduated in 1979 from New England College in Henniker, N.H., where he was a three-year hockey captain.
He and his wife, Janet have two daughters, Katelyn and Allison.
Contact: Laura Reed, 207.581.3646