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Replacing a Hockey Coach: What Should Michigan State Do Next?

With Tom Anastos gone, finding a new hockey coach is no easy task. Where will Mark Hollis look first? What should he look for?

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Anastos is indeed out after an underwhelming stint at his Alma Mater. Although officially he stepped down, I have a feeling that Anastos was given that opportunity thanks to his loyalty to the school and the program. Regardless of his track record behind the bench, he is a Spartan through and through.

Michigan State will join Nebraska-Omaha, Northern Michigan, and Niagra on the coaching search (so far). It’s not completely unreasonable to assume that State could compete with any of those programs for top-candidates.

Guess what, we’ve talked about this before! Let’s take a look at those same three candidates mentioned in the previous post...

1. George Gwozdecky

Current Position: Head Coach, Valor Christian High School (Highlands Ranch, CO)

As I’ve expressed, Gwozdecky is likely 99% fine with riding off into the sunset as a high school hockey coach in Colorado. He’s had a great career at every level and no one is gonna blame him if he wants to enjoy his semi-retirement.

2. Brent Brekke

Current Position: Associate Head Coach, Miami University

Brent Brekke is my personal favorite. Brekke is an awesome guy and an even better coach. Evidence of his coaching presence at Miami University is linked in my foremost article. Luring him from Oxford, Ohio (Oxvegas baybeeee) is going to be very tough, as he has already turned down the head position at his Alma Mater Western Michigan.

3. Rod Brind’Amour

Current Position: Assistant and player development, Carolina Hurricanes

Rod Brind’Amour is one of my all-time favorite players. Seeing him behind the bench would be great in terms of bringing in a guy who had a hall of fame caliber career in the NHL. Brind’Amour is an MSU alum who brings more than just that fact to the table. Bringing that Stanley Cup ring on recruiting trips certainly wouldn’t hurt either. His son is currently committed to Michigan State. Coaching experience is a bit suspect, but I have no reason to believe that one of the best leaders in hockey over the last 25 years would have trouble stepping in.

There are a number of ways that MSU could approach this search. When it comes to football I am a big fan of hiring up-and-coming coaches from smaller programs rather than going all-in for the biggest name or a big-name who has been fired. This is not to say that the two latter options can’t work out. Rather, finding a guy who can become a long-term guy (Tressel at OSU, Dantonio here) out of success at a smaller program is a good formula. That’s why I am very in favor of trying to lure Brent Brekke from Miami University.