CHN Coach of the Year: Mike Hastings
CHN Staff Report
Mike Hastings, who led Minnesota State back to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 10 years, has been named 2012-13 College Hockey News Coach of the Year.
Hastings edged out other candidates, like Mass.-Lowell's Norm Bazin, who won the honor last season. Quinnipiac's Rand Pecknold, who led the Bobcats to a No. 1 ranking for the first time, was a candidate; as was Miami's Enrico Blasi, another past winner who led a team that had 18 freshmen and sophomores to first place in the CCHA; and Penn State's Guy Gadowsky, who led his team to a 13-14-0 record in the program's first season.
Hastings engineered a 12-win turnaround from a season ago. He was named head coach at Minnesota State last April 14, coming from Nebraska-Omaha, where he was an assistant.
When Hastings was hired, he addressed being the second-most penalized team in the WCHA last year.
"I don't see that being a great situation for us," He said last October. "You look at the amount of draft picks Minnesota and Wisconsin will parade on the ice sheet when we play, and if we're going to allow them to have 5-on-4s we might as well give them a gun. People can say go out and be intimidating, but I don't think that works anymore."
Minnesota State's penalty minutes dropped from 15.03 to 13.05 per game this season, one of the lowest totals in the nation.
That win total could still increase, with the Mavericks set to play Miami in the NCAA tournament this weekend, in Toledo.
Hastings, who played at St. Cloud State under Craig Dahl before a back injury ended his career early, is the all-time wins leader in the USHL, all with the Omaha Lancers. He spent 14 seasons there, then came back to college hockey to be an assistant at Minnesota. After one year, he left to go back to Omaha as an assistant at UNO under Dean Blais.
Previous CHN Coach of the Year winners
2012 Norm Bazin, Massachusetts-Lowell
2011 Mark Dennehy, Merrimack / Jeff Blashill, Western Michigan
2010 Enrico Blasi, Miami
2009 Keith Allain, Yale
2008 Red Berenson, Michigan
2007 Jeff Jackson, Notre Dame