Cole Steps Down at Huntsville
CHN Staff Report
Alabama-Huntsville received another blow today when its head coach, Danton Cole, announced his resignation in order to be come head coach of the U.S. National Under-17 team in Ann Arbor.
Cole, a Michigan State graduate and former NHL defenseman, has worked in the national program before, most recently as an assistant for the U.S. Under-18 Select Team at the 2009 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament in Slovakia.
Alabama-Huntsville is already facing the prospect of playing this season, and into the forseeable future, as the nation's lone independent, following the dissolution of College Hockey America. After UAH was denied entry into the CCHA last summer, it was left with no options.
Cole has pieced together an independent schedule, but it was already going to be difficult to sustain. Now, the Chargers have to find a new coach willing to lead the program amid this uncertainty.
"I know our efforts over the last three years have left the program in great shape for the future," Cole said. "I cannot say enough about the Huntsville community and even though we are leaving, we will always be a part of the program and continue to be an advocate for the University."
UAH athletics director Jim Harris thanked Cole for his hard work.
"We wish Coach Cole and his family well with this new position back home in Michigan," Harris said. "I've enjoyed havinng Danton on our staff and I know he will be successful at USA Hockey.
"Danton has done an outstanding job advancing our hockey program with excellent recruiting classes and an upgraded future schedule that includes teams like Ohio State, Air Force and others in home and home series."
Cole spent the past three seasons as coach and associate athletic director at UAH, where he guided the Chargers to their second College Hockey America championship in 2010. As it turns out, both Cole and the previous coach, Doug Ross, led UAH to the NCAAs in their last seasons on the job, respectively.
Cole has also been head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, from 2002-05. During that span, he became the winningest coach in team history with a 116-72-17-3 record, while guiding the Griffins to the Calder Cup Playoffs in both 2002-03 and 2003-04.
Cole then spent part of 2004-05 and all of the 2005-06 season as the head coach of the United Hockey League’s Motor City Mechanics, before joining the college realm as an assistant coach at Bowling Green in 2006-07.
As a player, Cole appeared in 318 games in the National Hockey League from 1989-96, including stints with the Winnipeg Jets, Tampa Bay Lightning, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders and Chicago Blackhawks. Cole was part of the Devils squad that earned its first Stanley Cup in 1995.
Prior to his pro career, Cole played at Michigan State from 1985-89, appearing in 180 games and compiling 163 points (69-94). He was part of the Ron Mason-led Michigan State squad that captured the 1986 NCAA National Championship. In 1989, he received the Big Ten Medal of Honor as MSU’s top student-athlete in both scholarship and achievement.