Wisconsin Assistant Patrick to Leave for USHL
by Dan Myers/CHN Staff
MADISON, Wis. Wisconsin assistant coach Kevin Patrick will leave the program at the conclusion of the season to become the head coach of the Muskegon Lumberjacks, a team that will begin play in the United States Hockey League next season.
"We've known for several years that he needs to get out from being a passenger in the car and get behind the wheel and drive himself," said UW head coach Mike Eaves. "He needs to be a head coach. He's been offered several jobs but they just haven't worked out.
"He deserves this, he's earned this and we couldn't be happier for him."
Patrick has been at Wisconsin the last five years, he helping guide the team to its sixth NCAA championship and posting a 30-10-3 record in 2006. The team finished second this season in the WCHA and has compiled a 107-70-22 during Patrick’s five seasons with the program.
Eaves said Patrick has served in a utility role of sorts with the Badgers. He was a defenseman at the University of Notre Dame and has a history of coaching defensemen at previous assistant coaching stops with Bowling Green and Union. But in Madison, Patrick worked with both forwards and blueliners and is a valuable recruiter.
"He's been able to move back and forth and learn a few things," Eaves said.
Patrick will open his final playoff run with Wisconsin on Friday, as the Badgers open a best-of-3 series with Alaska-Anchorage at the Kohl Center.
"His first year, he came in with a bang and now we have to try and send him out with a bang," Eaves said.
In a statement, Patrick said, “I am truly excited for the opportunity to be the leader of the Muskegon team and to be a part of the premier junior hockey league in North America as it begins its next venture into the state of Michigan. It is a great opportunity for me to be in a passionate hockey community as I know the people of Muskegon will be great fans and supporters of the USHL.”
Patrick spent the 1997-98 season as assistant coach and assistant general manager for the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL. He has also been actively involved with USA Hockey, coaching at Select Festivals in 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2009.
“I have recruited extensively in the USHL over the last 12 years and now it will be great to come back as a head coach to such a great league,” said Patrick. “The USHL has continued to set itself apart with outstanding organizations that are run with a high degree of professionalism and quality coaches that develop these young men both on and off the ice.”