A native of Dorchester, Mass., and a former defenseman for Boston College, Mark Dennehy skippered the Merrimack College hockey program for 13 seasons before being fired in March in a move that was highly unpopular in Eastern college hockey circles. When Dennehy arrived in North Andover, Mass., in 2005, the Warriors had not seen a winning season since they had joined Hockey East in 1989.
In 2010, he guided the team to the Hockey East quarterfinals and won the Bob Kullen Coach of the Year Award. Merrimack won 25 games in 2010-11 but was ousted in the NCAA regionals and failed to reach the NCAA dance since. But insiders appreciated one of the good guys in the game and understood the recruiting challenges Dennehy faced in a powerhouse conference with larger arenas and storied traditions.
Billy Jaffe: You went through an experience in coaching that people understand is part of the job, but do you ever really understand it until you go through it?