Former players issue vote of no-confidence in UAA athletic director

Beth Bragg
UAA athletic director Steve Cobb

The UAA Hockey Alumni Association, which counts more than 300 former Seawolves among its membership and says it has raised more than $100,000 for the school's athletic department, on Tuesday issued a vote of no-confidence in athletic director Steve Cobb.

The resolution was adopted Sunday night during an emergency meeting held in the wake of the Alaska State Hockey Association's vote of no-confidence, which was emailed to university and state officials on Saturday.

"I wouldn't have any comment on that at all," Cobb said Tuesday. "We're busy trying to finish the (school year), having our Athlete of the Year banquet and hiring a new coach."

The resolutions come at a time when UAA is in the process of hiring a new hockey coach. The second of four finalists is in town Wednesday for interviews and meetings with the alumni and the general public; the first candidate was here Monday, and the others are scheduled to visit next week.

Mark Filipenko, president of the alumni association, said the group of former UAA hockey players feels alienated.

"This didn't happen overnight," he said. "It's something that's been ongoing for many years."

Like the state hockey association, the alumni association's goal is a change in leadership. The resolutions themselves wield no power other than perhaps the power to influence opinion.

UAA chancellor Tom Case, who is among the recipients of the resolutions, could not be reached late Tuesday afternoon.

Since the alumni group it was formed a few years ago, the alumni group has raised more than $100,000 for UAA hockey and the athletic program, including $55,000 for an endowment fund, Filipenko said.

Future contributions could go away, he said.

"Last year we had a vote to pull all support from the program, and we did not because of some people that asked us to stay around, that there will be changes if the program doesn't have a good year," Filipenko said. "There was a coaching change, correct. However, not a lot's changed.

"... I would say, and I hate to say it, but from the group's standpoint, the support will be lost. Individual people may still support it. "

The alumni's resolution says Cobb "shunned" alumni and the hockey community. Filipenko said the group has offered ideas for beefing up attendance at Sullivan Arena -- things like getting big corporations to sponsor specific nights at the arena, or expanding the beer section -- but he said the university never addressed its ideas.

Things reached a tipping point, Filipenko said, when UAA went looking for a new hockey coach. Both resolutions criticize Cobb for not involving alumni or anyone from the hockey community in the search for a coach to replace Dave Shyiak, who was fired last month after going 80-177-33 in eight seasons.

Cobb has said the university requires search-committee members to be school employees.


Reach Beth Bragg at or 257-4335.