Minnesota assistant coach Grant Potulny was named new coach at Northern Michigan today.
Potulny, 37, was a member of the Gophers’ national championship teams in 2002 and 2003. He was the program’s first three-year captain since 1947, and graduated after the 2003-04 season having scored 68 goals and 114 points in 146 games.
“I did not know Grant before this process started,” NMU athletic director Forrest Karr said. “I saw his resume in with all the others. It looked interesting. We talked about him at our first meetings. I started making phone calls. The more I heard the more I liked. One thing in particular jumped out — after playing at Minnesota, the people who know him best, are most familiar, know what he’s about and what he prioritizes, understands the price it takes to have success — they brought him back. They brought him back when he was young, didn’t have a ton of experience, and trusted their program and recruiting to him. And he’s done an outstanding job in every way.”
The Northern Michigan position was open for five weeks since Walt Kyle was let go at the end of the Wildcats’ season. There were ultimately five finalists for the position, including other current assistants. Among those was Northern Michigan alumnus Dave Shyiak, a former head coach at Alaska-Anchorage and currently an assistant at Western Michigan, and was believed to be the frontrunner. Another NMU coaching alumnus and WMU graduate, Brian Renfrew, was also in the running at one point.
Potulny signed a deal for five years, with final financial terms still to be determined. Kyle was making $170,000 in the final year of his contract.
2017 NCAA Hockey Coach Openings
|Team||Previous Coach||New Coach|
|Rensselaer||Seth Appert||Dave Smith (Canisius head coach)|
|Northern Michigan||Walt Kyle||Grant Potulny (Minnesota assistant)|
|Niagara||Dave Burkholder||Not Filled|
|Nebraska-Omaha||Dean Blais||Mike Gabinet (UNO assistant)|
|Michigan State||Tom Anastos||Danton Cole (NTDP head coach)|
|Michigan||Red Berenson||Not Filled|
|Canisius||Dave Smith||Not Filled|
Mike McMahon has covered Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune since 2006 and he also has been a senior writer at College Hockey News since 2005.
You can follow Mike on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN and you can follow the site @TheMackReports.