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Michigan State hockey names Adam Nightingale head coach

The former Red Wings video/assistant coach and head coach of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program is the new head coach at Michigan State.

Detroit Red Wings v Los Angeles Kings Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images

Adam Nightingale will be the new head coach of the Michigan State men’s ice hockey program.

In the final two weeks of April, Nightingale was overseas competing for the U18 World Championships with Team USA.

Team USA took silver, losing to Sweden in the finale, 6-4.

“I’m extremely thankful and humbled to have the opportunity to lead at Michigan State University,” Nightingale said in a statement. “Spartan hockey is a source of pride for the university, the East Lansing community, and the entire state of Michigan. I’d like to thank Athletic Director Alan Haller, Deputy AD Jennifer Smith, and everyone involved in the search process for the opportunity to come back home and once again be a part of this storied program.

“We will hire a staff that is well equipped to support our student-athletes and will be committed to developing them as a person, not just a hockey player. We want to bring in high-level players with aspirations to work hard and help them develop to the point where they have the opportunity to play in the National Hockey League.

“Our staff will put a premium on player development so that we can play an exciting and skilled brand of hockey. We will continue the traditions of hard-working student-athletes who are standouts not only on the ice, but also in the classroom and in our community. We look forward to building the program back to where our proud alumni and fan base know it should be, which is the top of college hockey.”

In mid-April, we reported on four individuals who would be a good fit at Michigan State’s men’s hockey program. Besides Nightingale, Minnesota State’s Mike Hastings, American International’s Eric Lang, and Western Michigan’s Pat Ferschweiler made the list. Nightingale was declared a “favorite” having previously attended MSU in the early 2000s.

As head coach of the development team, Nightingale has coached several of hockey’s top prospects, including Michigan’s Luke Hughes and Minnesota’s Chaz Lucius. He has also served as video coach for the Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings.

Nightingale played for Michigan State and was an assistant captain from 2003 to 2005. He was also the director of hockey operations at MSU from 2010 to 2014, a video coach with Shattuck St. Mary’s from 2014 to 2016 and an assistant coach under Jeff Blashill with the Red Wings in 2019.

“It brings me great pride to bring Adam Nightingale back to Michigan State University as the new head coach of Spartan hockey,” Alan Haller, MSU vice president and director of athletics, said. “Adam has a passion for the school and the program, and his combination of skill development, player development and recruiting ties promises to make the next era of Spartan hockey a successful chapter in the storied history of a proud program.”

Michigan State parted with Danton Cole after his fifth season. In those years as head coach, Cole led MSU to a record of 58-101-12. Prior to coaching Michigan State, Cole held the same position as Nightingale as the head coach of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program.

During the 2021-2022 season, Michigan State lost 15 of the final 16 games and finished in last place in the Big Ten. Haller noted that a “fresh start” is what the program needs most. Interestingly enough, the Munn Ice Arena renovations are coming along nicely, and will debut this season.

Michigan State hasn’t made an NCAA Tournament appearance since 2012.