UNO coach Dean Blais has started the difficult task of replacing associate head coach Mike Hastings and expects to interview candidates next week at the national coaches' convention in Florida.
"We need a person of Mike Hastings' caliber to replace Mike Hastings," Blais said. "Guys like that are hard to find, but they're out there. We'll interview a few of those who qualify, and whether or not we'll offer them or they'll accept, we'll see. We're not going to rush anything. We want to find the right individual for the job."
Hastings, who served under Blais all three of his seasons at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and was presumed to be Blais' eventual replacement, took the head coaching position at Minnesota State-Mankato on Saturday.
Hastings had spent 17 of the previous 18 years in Omaha, the first 14 as coach of the Omaha Lancers junior hockey team.
Blais said his preference for a replacement is probably someone at the college or professional levels because of the particular requirements associated with coaching at the college level.
"Mike was special," Blais said. "I knew he was a good coach from what he'd accomplished (in the USHL) and from his year at Minnesota, and that's why he was hand-picked.
"But the way the game has changed now, and with the way the NCAA is so strict on compliance and other rules, you need that kind of experience. And you have to have a lot of video experience, too."
Blais said he's gone through the process of double-checking with UNO recruits and that all are still on board despite Hastings' departure.
"You have to have the right personality, and Hasty had the right personality," Blais said. "He's a fabulous recruiter."
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