UAA Narrows Hockey Coach Finalists to Four

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by Jake Ryle

ANCHORAGE, Alaska--Less than one week after the coveted "Frozen Four" played for a shot at the NCAA Championship, the UAA Athletic Department has named the four finalists for the vacant hockey coach position.

The four candidates for the opening are: Chris Brown, Michael Corbett, Gary Heenan and Damon Whitten.

Of the four candidates--two have ties back to the University of Alaska-Anchorage. Both Brown, and Whitten were assistant hockey coaches for the program in albeit different decades. Brown was an assistant bench boss from 1997-2000; Whitten held the same position from 2006-08.

Brown has spent the last 13 years as a college head coach at NCAA Division III Marian College and Augsburg College. He's also considered a decorated athlete for claiming the 1994 NCAA Div.-III hockey national championship while captain of the Wiconsin-River Falls squad.

Corbett has been with the United States Air Force hockey program for the past decade, where he's served as the assistant coach for 9 years, and associate head coach for this past season. His accolades while playing hockey include being named a finalist for the 1997 NCAA Hockey Humanitarian Award, and was also named a two-time alternate captain for the University of Denver.

Heenan has served as head hockey coach at NCAA Division-III Utica College for the past 13 years. Before his time in Utica College, Hennan served as assistant hockey coach at Hamilton College.

Whitten has opted to take a different path than the other three candidates--as he's had experience being the Director of Hockey Operations at Michigan State from 2008-10. In 2010, Whitten made the transition over to being an assistant coach at Michigan Tech. He's served a graduate assistant role at Michigan State, and prior to that, he was the assistant coach at Wayne State for three seasons.

According to the UAA press release--following initial phone interviews, finalists will be brought to campus for in-person interviews. During the on-campus interview process, an open forum will be scheduled for the public to meet each candidate.

The Your Alaska Link sports team will be covering those open forums once they are announced.