More on Becanic, plus a poll

I’ve talked to several players about head coach John Becanic’s firing now, and not one of them saw it coming. The feeling described by everyone I talked to was shock, they all thought Becanic was doing a good job. He was described by everyone as a good and friendly guy — Shane Harper described him as “one of the greatest people I’ve ever met.” The other sentiment that was universally expressed was about how much Becanic cared for every player on the team and made everyone feel equal. I know you can’t expect players to bash an outgoing coach in the media, but the feelings expressed sounded pretty genuine to me.

So yesterday I posted the first installment of my end-of-season blog series, the theme of which was the season of the unexpected. Does this fall into the category of unexpected for me?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t. The fan sentiment was clear when his name was booed during the pregame introductions for the last few home games, and when Soetaert didn’t exactly give Becanic a ringing endorsement during our exit interview, I figured I’d better be on guard for “the call,” which came this morning.

It’s really too bad, because I really like John. Like the players, I think he’s a good guy, and from a media standpoint he was a dream to work with because he’s social and eager to talk. Even when the tape recorder was off he was just enjoyable to be around, often chatting for lengthy periods after the interview was over. I’m going to miss that, and I can only hope his replacement is half as easy to work with.

But I also have to admit that I understand why it happened. The Tips never really found any consistency during Becanic’s two seasons. I think his coaching improved as I believe he did a better job this season than he did last season. But the standards in Everett are high — perhaps impossibly high — and you had to ask whether Becanic was capable of getting the Tips to the Memorial Cup. Even though Becanic got better, I’m not sure it was enough to convince me he’s the right coach for that task. Everett’s roster appears set for a concerted cup run two seasons from now. If that’s the case you probably want your coach to have at least one season with the team beforehand. If the Tips weren’t certain Becanic was going to be the guy, then they probably had to make the move now.

Now, who comes in to replace Becanic? I think the fact the Tips are going to take their time in making a hire is a hint. Soetaert mentioned the fact that several coaches are still under contract right now, and that he’s going to wait and see who’s available, starting in June. That just happens to be after the professional seasons have concluded. Sounds like the Tips might make a play for a name coach. Why not? It worked with Kevin Constantine.

So now it’s your turn to sound off on Becanic’s dismissal. Feel free to provide your thoughts in the comments section. (And the end-of-season series will resume either tomorrow or Sunday)

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