Friday, June 05, 2015

Scott Borek Becomes Associate Head Coach at Providence

Providence College Associate
Head Coach Scott Borek

The small number of UNH hockey fans who follow the USCHO fan forum have probably noticed the recent posts speculating on coaching changes. The rumors had veteran Associate Head Coach Scott Borek leaving UNH to join Nate Leaman's staff at Providence College and UConn Associate Head Coach Mike Souza replacing Borek at UNH. The guessing game picked up steam and credibility yesterday when the Providence Journal's Assistant Sports Editor Mark Divver tweeted "Hearing Scott Borek is favorite for @friarhockey associate head coach job".

Moments ago, it became official with Providence College announcing that Scott Borek is the new Associate Head Coach at Providence College.

The Associate Head Coach position for the 2015 National Champion Providence Friars became vacant on May 23rd when Steve Miller announced he was leaving Providence to be with his wife and children in Denver. PC Head Coach Nate Leaman, winner of the 2011 Spencer Penrose Award while at Union College, hired Miller last summer. He was responsible for coaching the defensemen and power play unit. Previously, Miller had been at Denver University for 20 years where he recruited and coached 41 NHL draft picks.

Coach Borek has been with Head Coach Dick Umile at UNH since the 2002-03 season. Over those 13 seasons, the Wildcats compiled an overall record of 281 wins, 174 losses, and 60 ties and a Hockey East record of 183-99-48. UNH qualified for the NCAA Tournament for 9 consecutive seasons from 2003 through 2011 and once again in the 2012-13 season. The Wildcats lost to Minnesota in the Championship Game in Coach Borek's first season in Durham. During Coach Borek's tenure, the Wildcats were the Hockey East Regular Season Champions in 2003, 2007, 2008, and 2010.

During games and in practice, Borek has been primarily responsible for coaching the forwards and the power play. During the second half of this season, I noticed that Coach Borek coached the defensemen during games. I've watched a number of UNH practices in recent years and it's obvious Coach Borek takes a major responsibility in managing the sessions.

Scott Borek has earned a reputation for being a tireless, successful recruiter of young talent. He has been the driving force, literally and figuratively, in gaining commitments from 6 UNH players who became NCAA First Team All-Americans - Mike Radja, Kevin Regan, Blake Kessel, Bobby Butler, Paul Thompson, and Trevor van Riemsdyk. He also recruited 4 players subsequently named NCAA Second Team All-Americans - Trevor Smith, Brad Flaishans, Matt Fornataro, and Brian Foster. 16 of Coach Borek's recruits at UNH were NHL draft picks including James van Riemsdyk, the 2nd overall selection in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

Eight of the young players recruited by Coach Borek went on to score 100 or more points in their UNH careers. In addition to All-Americans Matt Fornataro, Mike Radja, Bobby Butler and Paul Thompson, standout scorers Mike Sislo, Phil DeSimone, Kevin Goumas, and Grayson Downing earned membership in the UNH Century Club. Bobby Butler was a Hobey Baker Award Finalist in the 2009-10 season.

Stevie Moses, who recently signed a $1 million contract with the Nashville Predators and excelled for Team USA in the IIHF World Championships last month, is another one of the UNH stars recruited by Scott Borek. Three years after graduating from UNH, Moses broke the single-season goal scoring record in the Kontinental Hockey League - the second best professional hockey league in the world. In an extensive interview I had with Stevie last winter, he expressed high praise for Coach Borek:
"I had a lot of (recruiting) interest when I was playing juniors. It came down to Maine, UNH, Dartmouth, and Boston College. Maine, UNH and Dartmouth wanted me to come in 2008 and BC wanted me to do an extra year of juniors and come in 2009. I committed early in my junior year of high school so it was two years before I was going to enroll."
"Scotty Borek was the first of all those schools to talk to me. I went up to UNH for an interview so I had been talking to them for the longest. I felt it was the best fit for me. Of course, growing up in Massachusetts, BC was intriguing but when it came down to it, I really felt good with Coach Umile and Borek and Coach Lassonde at the time. I really had good talks with them all. It made it an easy decision."
"I think Coach Borek is a great recruiter and a good assessor of talent. I think Coach Umile puts a lot of trust in him. When Coach Borek says this player is going to fit into our system, Coach Umile listens to him."
"Scott and Dave (at the time) do a lot of the recruiting. They must have watched me play 50 to 75 times before I committed. They followed all the recruiting rules by the book. They also spoke with my parents. My Dad’s been a huge part of my hockey career. He was my coach and my parents still watch every game I play in. My Dad spoke to Scotty a lot and he and I trusted the UNH coaches."
"Obviously, it was an early decision. I was pretty young, 16 years old I think, and it was the right decision for me."
In 2009, Coach Borek organized the first annual University of New Hampshire Hockey Team Camp. The summer showcase has attracted some of the top 13 and 14-year-old players from all over North America including notables Connor McDavid, Aaron Ekblad, and Sonny Milano. The teams and their young stars gain exposure to top college and prep school coaches.

The naming of Scott Borek as the Associate Head Coach at Providence College represents a home-coming of sorts. After he suffered a playing career ending spinal injury as a sophomore at Dartmouth, he became a volunteer assistant coach for his last two years in Hanover. In 1985, he landed his first assistant coaching job at Providence College. He and Coach Umile were assistants for Head Coach Mike McShane, another former UNH player, for three seasons. Then, in 1988, Borek moved over to Brown University as an assistant to Head Coach Bob Gaudet (a former Dartmouth assistant coach and current head coach). Borek spent 4 seasons with Brown before landing the head coaching job at Colby College.

The official announcement of Borek to Providence leads to the second strand of the rumor mill. Various sources have speculated that former UNH captain and star Mike Souza will be the top candidate to replace Coach Borek at UNH. More on that story in a subsequent post.


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