Miller, women's hockey coach, would have taken pay cut to stay at UMD

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A decision by the University of Minnesota Duluth not to offer a contract extension to Bulldog women's hockey coach Shannon Miller is not going over well with the coaching staff or the players.

Miller, who is the only head coach in the program's history, has posted a 375-137-48 record in 16 seasons and has won five national championships at UMD.

But the school's athletic director Josh Berlo announced Monday that Miller would not receive a contract extension because of "financial constraints."

That decision has created a firestorm of reaction from Miller and from some of her players.

The announcement comes as the Bulldogs are 12-5-3 on the season, and are currently ranked sixth and seventh in the NCAA Division I women's hockey polls.

Berlo told the Duluth News Tribune the school's athletic department can no longer afford Miller's $215,000 salary.

"Coach Miller was the highest paid NCAA Division I women's hockey coach from the most recent survey data we had. UMD is not in a position to sustain that. Athletics needs to make tough decisions in tough financial times and this was one of them."

In a press release from the university on Monday, Miller said she was "shocked and saddened" by the school's decision. When she talked to the media on Tuesday she had a little more to say, as noted in this report from WDIO.

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UMD is trying to solve a budget deficit, but according to an interview Miller gave to the Bulldog Hockey Blog, she would have been willing to accept a pay cut.

"Well obviously I would have taken a pay cut if they would have talked to me about it. We're coming out of a recession. They are making cuts at the university. Of course I would have taken a pay cut. Possibly my staff would have taken one. I think there should have been conversations about a pay cut for staff. I think there should have been conversations about budgets being cut. But let me be very clear Matt, those conversations should be held with the women's Division I hockey team and the men's Division I hockey team."

But those conversations never happened and Berlo said the school had to give six months' notification.

A search to replace Miller will begin at the end of the 2014-15 season

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