University of Maine men's hockey head coach Red Gendron watches the action during a game in January 2020. Credit: Peter Buehner / UMaine Athletics

Red Gendron is in the final season of his contract at the University of Maine.

This is his eighth season guiding the Black Bears men’s hockey team, but his future at UMaine is uncertain.

Gendron has not received a contract extension from UMaine athletics director Ken Ralph, which could indicate Ralph plans to let Gendron finish out his contract and then seek new leadership for the program.

Ralph said nothing has been decided and indicated that dealing with COVID-19 issues has been the top priority since March.

“It is public knowledge that coach Gendron’s contract goes through June 30, 2021,” Ralph said. “At this time coach Gendron and I are putting our efforts together to provide our players with the best possible experience during this very trying year. Red has been a true professional throughout these challenges and we will get to his contract when it is appropriate to do so.”

Assessing Gendron’s coaching performance during the 2020-21 season could be complicated for Ralph because of the coronavirus. An executive order by Gov. Janet Mills limits indoor gatherings to 50 people. That means UMaine’s hockey teams may be forced to play all of their games on the road unless the order is rescinded, the limit is increased or the university receives an exemption from the state.

Coming off UMaine’s 1-1 tie, during which it won the overtime shootout, and a 6-2 loss last weekend at the University of New Hampshire, Gendron’s career record with the program stands at 100-128-31. He is 60-80-20 in Hockey East regular-season games and 4-12 in league playoff contests.

Gendron’s teams have never reached the Hockey East semifinals, although the Black Bears finished fourth last season and were set to host the University of Connecticut in a quarterfinal series when the season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was UMaine’s highest Hockey East finish since the 2011-12 season, which was also the last time it reached the conference semifinals and qualified for the NCAA Tournament.

This year’s team was picked to finish ninth in the 11-team league in the coaches’ preseason poll.

Gendron, who is the highest paid head coach at the school but the lowest paid head coach in Hockey East at $213,282.08 per season, was abrupt when asked about his contract status.

“[It] won’t have any impact on me at all. I am coaching this team right here, right now,” the 63-year-old said.

“I am doing the best I can to help my kids succeed and that’s it.”

The native of Berlin, New Hampshire, who was a UMaine assistant on the first NCAA championship team in 1993, said he won’t answer any more questions about his personal status for the remainder of the season.

After three consecutive losing seasons, Gendron has led UMaine to a resurgence that includes two winning seasons in the past three. Last year was Gendron’s most successful, posting a 18-11-5 overall record (12-9-3 in Hockey East).

UMaine was 15-17-4 and 11-9-4 in Hockey East during 2018-19 and went 18-16-4 (10-11-3 HE) the season before that.

Gendron’s coaching resume includes 11 years in the New Jersey Devils organization of the National Hockey League. He was an assistant for the Devils, including the Stanley Cup-winning 1995 season, and also served as an assistant coach and head coach for their American Hockey League affiliate in Albany.

He was an assistant at the University of Massachusetts when the Minutemen reached the NCAA Tournament in 2007 and was the associate head coach at Yale University when the Bulldogs won their first and only NCAA title in 2013.