It is the end of an era in Tiger hockey. After the annual post season review, Scott Owens announced that he is stepping down from his position as head coach. Owens is the longest tenured coach in the history of the team. After 15 years, his overall record is 324-228-54.
Throughout his tenure as coach, Owens led the Tigers to three regular season championships in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association as well as seven appearances in the NCAA tournament. With Owens, the Tigers made it to the Frozen Four in 2005 and then made it back to the quarterfinals in 2011. From the 2005-2006 to 2012-2013, Owen coached 16 All-American recipients and two Hobey Baker award recipients.
Owens graduated from CC in 1979 after four years of serving as the goaltender for the Tigers. As a coach, his players strived not only for achievement on the ice but also for achievement in the class room. Just this year, 17 CC players were named to the NCHC’s Academic All-Conference Team. After 15 years of dedicated service, Owens has made an indelible mark on CC hockey.
Now, with Owens stepping down, the time has come for a new coach to make their mark. The search for the new head hockey coach is spanning the country. Hundreds of candidates are being considered. The school has assembled a committee, known as the Hockey Coach Search Advisory Group, to comb through the candidates. The actual members of the committee, however, are being kept private.
Director of Athletics Ken Ralph said, “The reason we are not making the names public at this time is due to the fact that this is such a public position there are many people out there trying to influence the decision-making process. I do not want the Advisory Group members being harassed by others as they work through the process of helping to select a coach.”
But, Ralph did share that the advisory group, which was approved by President Tiefenthaler, includes himself, two current hockey players, two hockey alumni, an athletics staff member, a tenured faculty member, and members of women’s interests and minority concerns.
“The purpose of the Advisory Committee is to recruit, review, and research potential coaching candidates for recommendation to myself and President Tiefenthaler,” said Ralph.
President Tiefenthaler has a clear idea of the type of coach that she believes is right for CC. “We are looking for someone who knows and loves the game, is a teacher and mentor, is committed to both academic and athletic excellence, is a great role model, has strong communication skills, and is ambitious,” said Tiefenthaler.
When asked which one in her list of qualities is the most important for the selection of a new coach, Tiefenthaler answered, “Someone who is an excellent teacher and mentor.”
For Ralph, the most important quality is integrity. “The hockey coach does not only represent the hockey team but also the entire college. We want to win championships but we want to do so in a way that is consistent with our values as an institution,” said Ralph. “We are looking for an outstanding teacher who is passionate about the game of hockey. We are also looking for someone who can be a leader both on campus and in the community.”
In order to fill this sought after DI position, Ralph and the committee are looking at candidates from every level of competitive hockey. There are candidates from the junior ranks, the college ranks, and even the NHL. “We are only considering applicants with significant levels of coaching experience. This is not an entry level job so we are looking for demonstrated excellence in the field,” said Ralph.
As of now, no names of potential candidates have been released. With hundreds of candidates from across the nation, speculation is nearly impossible. Hopefully though, curious Tiger hockey fans will not have to wait very long.
On a timeline for the search, Ralph said, “We would like to have a coach named before our students leave for the summer. That being said, we will not rush our search just to meet a deadline but would rather make sure we hire the right coach.”
Who this right coach will be is a mystery that the CC community is eagerly waiting to discover.