The University of Maine announced today that Tim Whitehead has been fired from his job as head coach for the Maine Black Bears Men's Hockey Team. University officials say they will buy out the remaining year of his contract and begin the search for a new head coach.

Whitehead took over the team in 2001 after the death of beloved coach Shawn Walsh. He started strong, going 154-69-26 in the first six years. But then, things started to falter and the next six years the team dropped to 96-102-28. This year, the Black Bears managed to overcome a disappointing season and rally to the playoffs, but were once again unsuccessful. It was the third straight losing season out of the last six.

With ticket sales down, the University decided to make a change. Whitehead said in a statement, "The Maine hockey fans are the best in the country, and they have a lot to look forward to for next season and beyond. I love our returning core of players and our incoming recruits. I'm confident this team will build on our strong second half this season, and that they will compete among the top programs in the nation next year."