The major piece of the
University of Vermont athletic puzzle fell into place with the
hiring of Robert Corran as director of athletics Wednesday. Members
of his new community, including the people who will work for him,
like the initial fit.
"As you get to know Bob Corran, you
will feel what I felt from the first moment I encountered him: the
quality of his character and the timbre of the leadership that he
will bring to our campus," UVM president Daniel Fogel said.
Corran, former six-year athletic director at the University
of Minnesota-Duluth, gained universal approval with coaches,
administrators and associates in the application process with his
ambition and infectious optimism.
"I got to meet him last
week when he was visiting campus. I'm very impressed," said former
UVM men's basketball player and athletic council chairman Barry
Stone, who has been involved with the school's athletics for almost
a half-century. "I think he'll be very successful."
really jumped out for me was his background, his experience, his
education and the way he presents himself. He has a real focus, a
plan for what he wants to do," UVM field hockey coach Nicki Houghton
said. "I would hope that in the next two years, we're going to see
real, significant differences."
Coaches hailed Corran's
record of success at UMD -- where 14 varsity teams have won 11
conference championships in 2002-03 -- and a reputed willingness to
make tough decisions as welcome signs of change in the department's
"I think what's happening now is that we're all
going to be held to another standard. When you want to get things
done, people are going to be held accountable," said 17-year UVM
men's basketball coach Tom Brennan, who led his team to its first
NCAA bid in March.
"For many, many years, this was a
fabulous place to coach, because there was never a great deal of
pressure. You really didn't have to worry about getting fired as
long as you didn't do anything stupid. But now, I think the bar's
been raised, and all the coaches like that. We want that."
UVM's most storied program, the men's hockey team, last
enjoyed national prominence in 1996 with a trip to the Frozen Four.
Coach Mike Gilligan is hopeful that Corran's appointment will help
the program regain a place at the top of the ECAC.
happened is that we've gotten behind the eight-ball a little bit.
Everyone else is going the civic center route; everyone else is
really pushing the envelope in admissions and financial aid;
everyone else is keeping up with each other in terms of compensation
packages, recruiting expenses. These are the things that are going
to have to be addressed to give us a chance at the Frozen Four
again," Gilligan said.
"I certainly think that if he does
some similar things that he did at UMD, we could be back in the
One of Corran's competitors for the position, UVM
assistant athletic director Jeff Schulman, is excited about the
prospect of helping Corran's transition.
"None of us knows
exactly how our responsibilities might shift, but we're excited to
have him here," Schulman said. "He's a great person with great
experience, and we as administrators are here to support him and
help build the success of UVM athletics."