Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hastings named Mavericks coach

Pat Christman/The Free Press
About 24 hours after introducing Mike Hastings as a candidate for the Minnesota State hockey job, the university named him its third men's hockey coach in program history. He agreed to a four-year deal that will pay him $225,000 annually with a portion of that funded privately.

Here is the MSU press release about the signing.

You can also read my story in Sunday's edition of The Free Press here.

Meanwhile, here are a few nuggets from Saturday in interviews with Hastings, athletic director Kevin Buisman and MSU President Richard Davenport:

• Davenport said Hastings was the No. 1 candidate going in and that Hastings confirmed that immediately: "After my first one-on-one meeting with him, I made up my mind." ... Buisman also said that Hastings' name consistently and independently came near the top of every list he asked for from trusted hockey people.

• What happened between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning (when the two parties agreed in principle on a contract)? Hastings said there were family things to get in order, like explaining to his children about a possible move. "And I'm sure Mankato was trying to do their due diligence."

• Hastings thinks the pieces are in place for some real improvement at MSU, between the current players, incoming freshmen and what appears to be some newfound commitment to hockey: "I think it's a program that's on the rise; I really do. ... There's a lot there to work with."

• Hastings returned to Omaha on Saturday morning and will come back to Mankato on Sunday afternoon. His first official day of work is Monday, and there will be a press conference at 10:15 a.m. at the Verizon Wireless Center. He has some work to do from the get-go, meeting his team, talking to assistant coaches (and deciding on their future), etc. Then he'll be off to do some recruiting and scouting.

• I couldn't get much for player reaction tonight. But Johnny McInnis, via Twitter, said: "Excited to get to work. I think people understand what we have here as a program and are capable of doing something special. It's time to prove it. As always, it's a great day to be a Maverick." ... I'm looking forward to talking to more players once they meet with their new coach.

• Hastings has had many brushes with greatness in terms of working with coaches. He has spent the last three seasons working for Dean Blais and a year prior to that on the staff with Don Lucia. As a player at St. Cloud State (two years before a lower vertebrae injury ended his playing career), he played one season when Herb Brooks was the coach there. Before he became he Omaha Lancers' coach, he was an assistant on that team, working for Mike Guentzel, now the associate head coach at Minnesota and a person many thought might be a top candidate for the MSU job. He also played junior hockey for Frank Serratore, now the coach at Air Force.

What do you think?


hockeyfan said...

It will be interesting what he does about the assistant coaches and if he will bring in a goalie coach.

MSU Grad 97 said...

Don't care who the coach is; just win, baby!