After five seasons at the helm of Michigan State’s hockey program, Danton Cole is officially out, the university’s athletic department announced Tuesday.
During his time as head coach, which began in 2017, Cole led the team to an overall record of 58-101-12. Michigan State finished higher than last place in the Big Ten Conference only once and never won a single Big Ten Tournament game.
“Over the last month, I spent time evaluating where we currently stand as a hockey program,” Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller said in a statement. “It’s become clear to me that it’s in the best interests of the program to make a change in leadership and begin a new era of Spartan hockey. Danton Cole is a Spartan alum who put his heart into this job and we appreciate his efforts and dedication.
“I believe a fresh start is what the program needs most. We have a proud championship history and a passionate alumni group. With a renovated Munn Ice Arena opening this fall and a renewed commitment to the success of the program, great things are on the horizon for Spartan hockey.”
Cole, who is a Michigan State hockey alum, did not inherit a great situation, but things have been far from great lately. After bringing the team to the verge of an NCAA Tournament appearance back in December, Michigan State went into total free fall mode, losing 15 of its final 16 contests. It’s also hard to forget that MSU lost miserably in its Big Ten Tournament games against No. 2-seed Michigan.
The Spartans finished the 2021-2022 season with a record of 12-23-1 overall, and a mark of just 6-18 in conference play.
At the end of MSU’s season, Haller had been non-committal on the future of the head coaching position. The Spartans had previously decided to part with assistant head coach Joe Exter. Now it looks like a complete regime change will be underway, effective immediately.
Michigan State’s hockey program has not appeared in the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament since 2011-2012 when it lost in the first round.