ESPN 96.1’s Big Drew and Jim spoke with Grand Rapids Griffins coach Ben Simon on Tuesday afternoon, conducting an 11-minute interview with the Griffins’ new bench boss:
This serves as a fine complement to the Grand Rapids Press’s Peter J. Wallner’s interview with Simon:
Detroit Red Wings executives never interviewed anyone other than Ben Simon to be the next coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins.
A combination of what the Griffins assistant coach had done previously, what he presented in an interview nearly two weeks ago and a growing concern they could lose him elsewhere were enough to convince general manager Ken Holland and Ryan Martin, the assistant GM who oversees the Griffins, to name him the 11th coach of the AHL affiliate.
All that was fine by Simon.
“Ultimately, this is where I really wanted to be,” he said Tuesday after being named the 11th coach of the Griffins and successor to Todd Nelson.
Update: The Holland Sentinel’s Chris Zadorozny spoke with Simon and Wings assistant GM Ryan Martin as well:
“To Ben’s credit, three teams called to interview him,” Red Wings Assistant General Manager Ryan Martin said. “He interviewed with two of those three and one of those two he had gone down for a second or third interview and they were getting down to decision time and often time in sports, we wanted to make sure we didn’t lose a great internal candidate to somebody else.”
With Nelson being looked at by two NHL teams prior to him taking the job with the Stars, Martin and Red Wings GM Ken Holland knew they had an internal candidate ready to take Nelson’s job, if he were to leave.
“We realized Ben is probably going to have an opportunity or an offer to go somewhere else, there’s only so many head coach candidates out there,” Martin said. “Between Ken and myself, meeting internally as well as us discussing with Nelly, that, ‘We’d like to sit down with Ben and although it’s kind of backwards, we’d like to interview him for your job if you are to leave.’”