Danton Cole Named New Michigan State Head Coach
CHN Staff Report
Danton Cole was named the new head coach at Michigan State today. He replaces Tom Anastos, who stepped down at the end of the Spartans' season.
“This is a position to which I’ve always aspired," Cole, a Michigan State alumnus, said. "I wasn’t sure the timing would ever work out, but I’m very fortunate. My mom and dad both went to Michigan State – I didn’t grow up around MSU, I grew up at MSU. It has been an enormous part of my life. Once I got into coaching, it didn’t take long for me to realize I wanted to get back on campus and try to accomplish what we did when I was playing for the legendary Ron Mason."
Cole, 50, has spent the last seven seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program, coaching the Under-17 and Under-18 teams. He led the Under-18 Team to a pair of gold medals at the Under-18 World Championship in 2012 and 2014.
Cole was a freshman on Michigan State's 1986 national championship team, and scored 69 goals and 163 points in his four-year career with the Spartans. He was in the running for the previous head coaching opening at MSU when Anastos was hired in 2011.
“As a program, we want to compete for Big Ten championships and be a part of the NCAA Tournament, because as I experienced as a player, once you get in the tournament, you’re on the doorstep of a national title," Cole said. "We’re going to identify and recruit young men that want to be Spartans and share our vision of excellence on and off the ice. Another priority will be to continue working toward a renovation of Munn Ice Arena, providing our student-athletes and fans a world-class facility and tremendous home-ice advantage.”
Cole played 318 games in the NHL after leaving Michigan State, with 58 goals and 118 points, including a Stanley Cup championship with New Jersey in 1995. He ended his playing career in Grand Rapids of the IHL, and transitioned to being the team's assistant coach in 1999-2000.
In his first pro head coaching job, Cole won the United Hockey League championship with Muskegon in 2001-02, then went back to Grand Rapids as head coach.
Cole's first experience coaching college hockey came at Bowling Green in 2006-07 as an assistant. The next year, he got the job as head coach at Alabama-Huntsville, which he led for three seasons, going 23-59-12.
In addition to his regular duties, Cole was an assistant coach for the 2013 U.S. World Junior team that won a bronze medal.
“Danton once told me that being the head coach at Michigan State was his dream job," MSU athletic director Mark Hollis said. "But what really impressed me was when he volunteered to assist me in doing whatever it took to help Spartan hockey be successful – even if it meant finding someone else to coach. I was struck by his willingness to put the program above himself. That selfless nature and devotion to Spartan hockey will serve Danton well as he guides the Spartans for years to come."