Thursday, April 5, 2012

Who's it going to be? A short list (updated)

The search is underway for Troy Jutting's replacement. In fact, Minnesota State officially posted the job online yesterday. Who's it going to be and when will he be named? As for the latter question, the sooner the better for MSU, its players and its fan base. With the semester ending in about month and the Florida coaches and conference meetings coming up in about three weeks, it would be ideal to have someone in place before both of those take place.

As for the first question, names are being floated everywhere you turn it seems. Here's a list of 10 possibilities, based on the usual suspects, a couple of my own ideas, as well as some rumblings around Mankato and college-hockey circles:

Current college assistants
Mike Guentzel, Minnesota associate head coach. If MSU is serious about stepping things up a notch, this probably should have been the first call made by Kevin Buisman on Monday morning. The Gophers are in the Frozen Four this weekend — and Guentzel certainly is getting a lot of credit for their turnaround — but MSU should at least gauge his interest, even if he is the supposed heir apparent at Minnesota.

Cary Eades, North Dakota associate head coach. Besides Guentzel, this might be the other big name out there that might immediately excite fans in Mankato. Word is that he's interested in running his own program and with the success the team formerly known as the Sioux have had under Dave Hakstol, that's not going to happen in Grand Forks anytime soon. UPDATE: Sources have indicated that Eades has already applied for the job and is very interested.

Mike Hastings, Nebraska-Omaha associate head coach. Like Guentzel, he's the likely heir apparent at his current school. But also like Guentzel, how long will he have to wait? Hastings was one of the most successful junior coaches in USHL history and also worked as an assistant under Lucia at Minnesota before moving to Dean Blais' staff. Insiders have said his personality would be a good fit in Mankato.

Eric Rud, assistant coach, Colorado College. Rud has been a hot prospect in recent years. A young up-and-comer in some minds. After a successful year in Green Bay of the USHL, he interviewed for the Michigan Tech job last year and also was rumored to be on the short list at Western Michigan before returning to CC, his alma mater. He also worked as an assistant at St. Cloud State.

Steve Rohlik, associate head coach, Ohio State. The former Wisconsin player was a long-time assistant at Minnesota Duluth before joining his college teammate Mark Osiecki at OSU. The St. Paul native also worked as an assistant at Omaha and coached high school hockey at Hill-Murray.

Junior coaches
Derek Lalonde, head coach/GM, Green Bay Gamblers. The former Denver assistant has had a great first season in the USHL. No other coach in that league's history has won more games in his first year (he surpassed Eric Rud's record). Lalonde spent five years at Denver; before that he was an assistant at Ferris State.

Other levels
John Harrington, former St. John's head coach. Harrington currently is the hockey director for the Herb Brooks Foundation after some time coaching in Europe. However, I've heard his name pop up several times since Jutting's reassignment was announced. Sounds like he's interested. "Bah" had a very successful 15-year tenure with the Johnnies. The former UMD player and assistant coach at Denver and St. Cloud State was also a member of the 1980 Olympic team.

Tom Ward, Shattuck-St. Mary's hockey director/prep coach. If he's interested, Ward shouldn't be hard to find. He's just down the road in Faribault. He's coached some of the best players to play college hockey over the last 10 years so — as well as Sidney Crosby. There are some MSU connections, too, as Des Christopher is an assistant at Shattuck and the Mavericks have had past (Ben Youds), current (Eli Zuck) and future (Teddy Blueger, Ryan Schwalbe) play there.

Could they also consider ...
Brett Petersen, Gustavus Adolphus head coach. His coaching credentials aren't all that different than Harrington's, considering he played at Denver and was an assistant at St. Cloud State before taking over the Gusties in 2000. His successful tenure includes a national runner-up finish in 2009.

Darren Blue, Minnesota State associate head coach. With all of the talk about change, it would be interesting to see how much, if any, consideration would be given to Jutting's longtime assistant coach. My guess is that they want to go outside the program. But it might be worth talking to him to see what he would do if he were in charge.

Do any of those names trip your trigger? Who do you like? Who's missing? Minnesota State's job posting says applications will be reviewed beginning April 10. This could move fast.


Jeff said...


You named a couple of D3 coaches in there. That seems to be quite a jump. Wouldn't that be a huge change in the way recruiting takes place as well as having much different pressures from fan bases, administration, etc?

I think I would be disappointed with Darren Blue, or anyone within the program. I think Blue is a great guy, but if this change was made for financial reasons and dwindling attendance that is not going to be welcomed well. In that case the question to me would be, what was the point?

Patrick Dempsey said...

Eades would be a great pick for Mankato. He's a fiery competitor and a very good recruiter. Guentzel and Hastings would be close seconds, but I think the realities of their situations at MN and UNO, respectively, probably take them out of consideration as Shane points out.

I like Ward, too, but I doubt he would leave Shattuck for Mankato. If he left, my bet is he would consider a Big Ten school as the only job to entice him away from Shattuck.

None of the others would make sense. Why fire Jutting if you replace him with someone with less experience?