After detailing his expertise and experience as a recruiter, Dave Peters sounded a bit like a coach trying to seal the deal with a prize prospect when he made his case for the job as UAA's hockey coach Monday night.
"If I was UAA, I would not let me leave here," he said.
Peters, the associate head hockey coach at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire for the last 14 seasons, emphasized his success as a recruiter during at a public forum that drew about two dozen people who quizzed Peters on topics ranging from his knowledge of junior hockey in western Canada to whether he and his wife are prepared for Alaska's long, dark winters
Peters is one of six men who are interviewing for the UAA job. Each is appearing at a 30-minute public forum while in Anchorage for interviews; one candidate was here last week and one will appear each night this week.
The school is searching for a replacement for Dave Shyiak, who was fired in March after eight straight losing seasons.
Peters repeatedly emphasized his ability attract players and the importance of being able to project a player's development potential.
He has been a chief recruiter at three colleges, he said, and he helped all three to rebuild by bringing in top players.
"I feel like I'm as good a recruiter as there is in the country," he said. "... That's where my experience is, and that's where our programs improved.".
Recruiting is among Peters' chief duties at Dartmouth, which had suffered nearly 20 straight losing seasons when he joined the program in 1999. He was part of turnaround that has put the Eastern College Athletic Conference team into the top 20 rankings several times in the last decade.
He also coaches the power play and works with forwards.
Before Dartmouth, Peters was an assistant coach at Providence (1993-98) and at Kent State (1990-93).
None of his jobs have been at powerhouse programs with great name recognition, he said, so he has learned to find impact players the big schools have overlooked. Dartmouth, for example, was the only school that recruited Lee Stempniak, now of the Calgary Flames.
"You have to find players that are a little bit under the radar," he said, pointing out that he has found his fair share in western Canada, which is prime hunting grounds for UAA hockey. Among his western Canada recruits are T.J. Galiardi of the San Jose Sharks and Tanner Glass of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Though assistant coaches generally do the bulk of recruiting in Division I college hockey, Peters said he would be involved in that aspect even as a head coach "since it's my strength." Spring, summer and fall all offer opportunities for coaches to identify prospective recruits, he said.
Peters, a 1982 Boston College graduate, said he was interested in the UAA job as soon as he heard it was open.
"I told my wife, 'That's an unbelievable opportunity,' and I feel I'm the right guy for it."
He said he and wife are ready to leave Hanover after 14 years in part because their only child, a son, is about to enter boarding school, giving them the freedom to move.
His first priority in Anchorage would be to meet with returning players, he said.
"I'll let them know they have a coach, and they have a leader, and that I'm here to help them achieve their goals," he said.
Reach Beth Bragg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4335.
By BETH BRAGG