Minnesota assistant John Hill and Northern Michigan assistant Dave Shyiak are the two finalists for the vacant head coaching position at Alaska-Anchorage, according to athletic director Dr. Steve Cobb. The vacancy was created when Dean Talafous was fired last month, after five years at the helm.
Cobb, chair of the three-person search committee, received at least nine applications, according to the Anchorage Daily News. The committee met to narrow down the choices to a final two; each will be interviewed on campus during the next week.
Hill is a former Seawolf team captain, and was an assistant coach under UAA’s first head coach, Brush Christiansen, from 1991-95. Hill went on to become an assistant at Colorado College from 1995-99, before following head coach Don Lucia to Minnesota. Hill’s only head coaching experience came with Dubuque of the USHL from 1989-91.
Shyiak has been an assistant at Northern Michigan under Rick Comley for seven seasons. He has head coaching experience in the British Columbia Junior A Hockey League and the Rocky Mountain Junior A Hockey League. Shyiak was co-captain of Northern Michigan’s 1991 National Championship team.
Hill is scheduled to interview in Anchorage next Monday and Tuesday. A reception for Hill will be held on Monday evening and will be open to the public. Shyiak will be on campus Wednesday and Thursday, April 18-19. The public is invited to meet Shyiak at a reception on Thursday evening.
Christiansen, who coached for 17 years, and Talafous are the only two head coaches the UAA program has ever known.
Other applicants for the opening, according to the Anchorage Daily News, included St. Cloud State assistant Doc DelCastillo; former Seawolf captain and successful area high school coach Dennis Sorenson; former UAA assistant Mark Ostapina, the head coach at Division III New England College; and Wisconsin assistant Pat Ford.