Despite success, UMD fires women’s hockey coach

The next time you wonder what’s the difference between men’s and women’s college sports, look no further than the University of Minnesota Duluth, which has announced it won’t renew the contract of the women’s hockey coach, Shannon Miller, because of “financial considerations.”

“We deeply appreciate and are proud of what Shannon has built and accomplished at UMD,” said Athletic Director Josh Berlo. “She established a winning program, raised it to the highest level of competition and sustained a national championship tradition over the last 15 years. Today’s decision about Shannon’s contract was an immensely difficult and financially driven decision. Unfortunately, UMD Athletics is not in a position to sustain the current salary levels of our women’s hockey coaching staff. However, we remain committed to supporting the Bulldog women’s hockey program.”

When’s the last time you saw a men’s collegiate coach fired after winning five NCAA championships, developing 28 current and former Olympians, and running up a .713 winning percentage?

Miller makes $215,000. The Duluth News Tribune says she was willing to take a salary cut.

“We’re coming out of a recession,” she told the paper. “They are making cuts at the university. Of course I would have taken a pay cut and possibly my staff would have taken one.”

“Shannon has made a lot of sacrifices for UMD,” the UMD athletic director said. To ask her to take a significant pay cut, we did have discussions but I would say that we determined it was best that, we determined that the contract couldn’t be extended.”

Scott Sandelin, the men’s hockey coach, makes a base salary of $235,000.

The women’s game attracts only a fraction of the fans that the men’s hockey program attracts, however. The men have an average attendance of about 6,000. A little over 1,000 people attend a women’s UMD hockey game.

(h/t: Ann Arbor Miller)