Sandelin Signs Two-Year Extension

Coming off Minnesota Duluth’s best season in five years, men’s hockey coach Scott Sandelin signed a two-year contract extension Friday which will take him through 2011-12. His base salary will be $150,000, said athletic director Bob Nielson.

Sandelin, 44, guided the Bulldogs to a 22-13-8 record in 2008-09, a Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff title and into the NCAA Division I tournament. It was the best UMD performance since going 28-13-4 in 2003-04 in advancing to the Frozen Four. The Bulldogs were one game away from the 2009 Frozen Four, losing to Miami of Ohio 2-1 in the NCAA quarterfinals March 28 at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis.

Sandelin, 144-173-45 in nine seasons, is entering the final year of his previous contract and the extension adds two years. He earned $137,500 last season.

"It’s exciting to look forward now and start building on last season," Sandelin, a Hibbing native, said Friday. "We lost some great players, but we also have great players returning and some good freshmen, and that can’t help but make all of us feel like good things are ahead."

Sandelin’s assistant coaches, Steve Rohlik and Brett Larson, also have had their one-year contracts extended for another year.

While Sandelin and Nielson have been working on contract negotiations since April, Nielson said not to read anything into the time needed to complete the deal. Nielson said contract language and procedural steps lengthened the process. Sandelin’s contract also has compensation clauses which Nielson didn’t specify.

"I see a lot of momentum building in the program," said Nielson. "The tremendous finish the team had, doing something no other WCHA team had done, winning three league playoff games in three days, and then getting within a couple of goals of the Frozen Four.

"It’s a great way to prepare for entering our new building during the 2010-11 season."

The Bulldogs open 2009-10 with an exhibition home game with the University of British Columbia on Oct. 3 and the regular schedule begins Oct. 9 at home against Lake Superior State.

Western Collegiate Hockey Association

Men’s Base-Salary Contract Information

Source: University and media reports


Alaska Anchorage — Dave Shyiak, $110,000 in 2009-10, contract through 2011-12


Colorado College – Scott Owens, financial terms unavailable, contract through 2012-13


Denver – George Gwozdecky, $355,356 in 2008-09 (incentives and compensation included), contract long term


Minnesota – Don Lucia, $222,789 in 2007-08, contract through 2011-12


Minnesota Duluth – Scott Sandelin, $150,000 in 2009-10, contract through 2011-12


Minnesota State- Mankato – Troy Jutting, $153,246 in 2009-10, contract through 2012-13


Michigan Tech – Jamie Russell, $116,759 in 2008-09, contract through 2011-12


North Dakota – Dave Hakstol, $210,000 in 2007-08, contract through 2011-12


St. Cloud State – Bob Motzko, $167,000 in 2008-09, contract through 2014-15


Wisconsin – Mike Eaves, $229,511 in 2008-09, contract through 2013-14


16 thoughts on “Sandelin Signs Two-Year Extension

  1. Well i guess it had to happen after that late run. Despite 9 years of sub-par play and a below .500 average, UMD seems willing to keep losing to save some money.
    It’s amazing how winning 6 of his last 7 games prevented him from being fired despite a sth place finish for the year.
    Well, Scott, best of luck. I hope you win every game this coming season. Id like to see a consistant team with some offensive punch and a spirit that plays to win, not not lose.
    Go dogs.

  2. wow, love the positive comments from the positive message posting above, the bulldogs have good recruits and a strong core of returners who know what it is like to win.. with the wcha being so competitive what good did it do the teams who finished 1st second third or fourth at the end of the season?? it’s how you finish the playoff run….ask the badgers fans and the gopher fans…..or the sioux fans (whose team finished in first with a great win loss record and where did that get them?)the dogs had a great run here’s hoping there is more to come.

  3. Wow, you go Gwoz! I would not have expected him to be the highest paid coach in the WCHA. But he does have to afford his wardrobe.

    This is the right choice for the team right now. We need to get into the new arena before we go on a coaching search, and we want the best players we can get coming into that arena, and those guys don’t want to wonder who will be coaching them.

  4. These types of decisions are why UMD continues to be subpar and will continue to be that way even with a new rink. Look at the coach’s record. Not exactly wonderful. But he shows just enough one season and the fools in the athletic department sign him to a new deal. Guess what is likely going to happen with some key players lost? Back down we go. Even when Sandy has good players, he doesn’t do as much as he should with them the majority of the time. Yet he gets an extension. The standards in Bulldog hockey is a flat out joke. You think recruits don’t notice that?

    Recruits aren’t going to come here because of a rink alone. You have to have something worthy to hang their hat on beyond that. Even the novelty of the rink will wear off in a year or two. You have to win more.

    The only time I remember opposing fans more happy about an opposing coach being signed to a new deal was when Craig Dahl got his his contract extended with SCSU. That should tell you something.

  5. Recruits aren’t going to come here??? They have a first round pick and a third round pick in this year’s incoming freshman class! How many other WCHA teams can say that? The funny thing is that if the Bulldogs would have taken care of business the last home series against UAA they would have finished in the top half of the league. Everyone wants to blame Sandelin for that (and that’s fair!) but the same people don’t give him any credit for going out to CC getting a sweep and then going to St. Paul and running the table against three really good hockey teams. A two year extension is probably fair. It appears this program is headed in the right direction but you can’t ignore some of the disappointments the previous years. Some of the assistant coaching moves made prior to the season appeared to give the team more of an offensive punch. Hopefully this team will carry to momentum from last season into this year and make the entire season as fun as the playoff run was.

  6. Dear “Bad,”

    Who should be coaching this team instead?


  7. The program is headed in the right direction? Based on one year? You have got to be kidding me. Look at the overall sample and it isn’t quite that rosy. Not to mention, the best player on the team is gone and he was THE reason we did anything last year. Let me repeat it he was THE reason. Oh and before you say it, try not to insult our intelligence by acting as if a 1st team all American goalie is easily replaced. Even Stalock took a few years to find himself and Hjelle isn’t as naturally gifted as Stalock.

    Draft picks are nice but Sandelin has generally proven incapable even with those occasional high draft recruits. Even a joke coach like Jutting gets more out of his talent than Sandelin. Recruits are going to catch on in increasing fashion.

  8. What?–


    Do you even watch the WCHA at all?

    Jutting might be on par as a regular season coach, but Sandelin has proven time and time again that he is much more capable of getting a team to the Final Five.

    Regular season success is nice, and it would be great to have had more top five finishes, but when you can’t win that home playoff series and it costs you and NCAA bid, what have you really accomplished?

  9. What-

    Clearly you don’t know much about the game of hockey. As far as losing “THE REASON” UMD won the Final Five. You apparently missed the 9 goals the ‘dogs score at the Final Five, the 7 goals in two games they scored at CC and the 5 goals against Princeton (news flash Stalock had none of them, I figured you needed me to point this out). Stalock was an important part of that run but to say he was the only reason really shows your hockey intelligence. And regarding Hjelle he steps into a team that is much better than when Alex stepped in. Look at the defense for next year Palm, Montgomery, Lamb, Huttel, Olsen (the first rounder) and Kishel…that’s a pretty solid group. Not to mention the firepower upfront with the Connolly’s and Fontaine. They have a few freshman who are going to turn some heads as well. This team is going to score a lot more goals than they did when Alex was a freshman. Hjelle doesn’t have to be an All-American for this team to make a run deep into April he just has to be above average and that shouldn’t be an issue. Why do we have so many negative fans? There is only one other team in the WCHA that will hang a banner next year (regular season champ UND) everybody relax!

  10. what?
    u lost your credibility when you chose to talk about the great teams that mankato has produced, you solidified your knowledge base in hockey,,,in other words, you don’t know much

  11. A couple of observations from one of the UMD “Old People” fans:

    As long as our current Chancellor at UMD demands that the women’s hockey coach gets a matching salary to the men’s coach, we will NEVER get a big name, big salary coach behind our bench. UMD just can’t afford that.

    Sandy is an outstanding recruiter!!

    However, Sandy has, far to often, flat uninspired teams that fail to show up. We see that when we play against teams above and/or below us in the standings. We’ve seen huge weekends at the DECC, with top of the league teams, including arch rival Minnesota, where the opponents, the fans, everyone in the arena is all jacked up and the Dogs come out flat as a pancake. Or, a team such as a beatable Anchorage the final home series this past season come to the DECC, and despite UMD’s talent advantage, the Anchorage teams desire to win simply carried the day over a somewhat less interested UMD team. The Dogs just don’t seem to play up to their own talent level far to many times during the regular season? The Coach can’t go out there force the players to move their feet and play with desire, but this, lack of a sense of urgency, seems to be a constant pattern with our program. Maybe I’m crazy, but I thought all year that the Dogs had the talent this year to finish in the top 4 in the WCHA. How many UMD fans from the playoff series with C.C. through the Final Five and NCAA’s said “See, I told you, look how good these guys are. Where was this fired up team during the regular season?”

    As always, I wish Scott and the team well this season and our family will be at all the games cheering them on. I expected that if we did not get past C.C. in the playoffs that Scott would be gone. When we finished on such a high note, I expected his contract to be extended. I gave Scott, Steve and Brett as much credit as I did the players at the end this year. Too often the coaches get the blame when things go bad but not the credit when things go well. I don’t thinks that’s fair, but that’s what we see in all sports.

    For those who assume with all the seniors we lost as, well as Stalock and Oberg that we will probably have a mediocre season, the 1984 Frozen Four Bulldogs which included Hobey Baker winner Tom Kurvers were picked to finish below 500 hundred in the WCHA that year. “Not enough talent”. I guess you never know??

  12. Dog Fan has a lot right here…
    But the fact is, if UMD wants to elevate to a real contender in WCHA and NCAA, it can’t settle for 30 GAMES BELOW .500 AFTER NINE YEARS!
    Can you imagine Minneosta, Wisconsin, Denver, North Dakota, Michigan, Maine — any decent hocket school settling for a full seaon of games below .500 after nine seaons? Of course not. And note several of those schools are as small as UMD or smaller.
    The problem is, UMD administration and especially UMD fans seem to tolerate mediocrity. As lons as that continues, that’s what you will get.
    Simply put, I do not think the coaching contract decision should have been made based on the last six wins, but on the last FIVE SEASONS which saw consistant 8th place finishes and teams, WHILE WELL RECURITED AND TALENTED, simply not performing on the ice. (The years with Niskanen and Raymond flat-out sucked)
    I agree with Dog Fan. I’ll be there again (it was darned close to letting those seaosn tickets go after another 8th place, however) and I still wear my Dogs hats and shirts and will steel cheer for them.
    But good recruiting isn’t enough. The program still lacks consistancy, a winning attitude and BUZZ. Other than abut 2,500 of us loyal fans, no one seems to care any more.
    It’s UMD’s job to change that. Get them on TV (UMD needs to do their own TV broadcast and give it away) and get them winning and create a buzz.
    Or wee’ll see a beautiful new half empty arena.
    And another 8th place finish.

  13. BBP, you are right about some things as well. Does the UMD administration have any interest in generating new fans and excitement for the program? This was a great year for UMD athletics with the FF championship and the football championship. It’s been awhile since they’ve had great raw material. UND has an insane amount of marketing done for their program. UMD could do the same.

  14. RWD brings up a very good point, as usual.

    UMD’s marketing and promotions or lack there of.

    The Bulldog Club is now in name only as NOTHING is coming out of UMD. They might as well just call it the Bulldog “Fund”. The Committee’s & teams of Club Members that were set up to generate fund raising has basically dried up. No direction from on campus.

    There is no one organizing on campus . UMD removed the past Director of the Bulldog Club this summer as they were unhappy with his performance. They didn’t replace him.

    There is no longer the Bulldog Buddies program, which shows UMD can’t be bothered to engage with young fans. They told me they had no one to run the program. I asked them what the Director of the Bulldog Club does all day, and they just smirked.

    The Bulldog Club isn’t really a “Club” anymore since they don’t organize any pre game parties before UMD hockey at the DECC, which Club Members have been pushing for, for years. They took parking passes away unless you give the Club a small fortune. Even the little gifts and trinkets they would give us are now a thing of the past, unless you give the Club a small fortune.

    There is really no feeling of camaradieie among UMD sports fans. Basically no events, no perks, parties, etc. The UMD Alumni Club has their act together and has get togethers during the season before events, the Bulldog Club, nothing. Other schools, some smaller than UMD, make an effort!

    The Vice Chancellor in charge of all this seems very disinterested.

    One of the ways to keep people interested, and get them to renew season tickets, is to have that feeling of belonging and comaraderie. Often, that is the difference during lossing seasons, as to whether people renew tickets or not. Do they feel a connection and loyalty to UMD athletics, or not.
    UMD season ticket holder fan base has been slowly dwindling for years and they don’t seem to get it?

    UMD has dropped the ball on this.

  15. Dog Fan, RWD and BBP all made some great points. The problem is the Chancellor won’t read any of these comments because this is not a story about the women’s hockey team. And that is very sad but very true. A TV deal would be huge for this program.

  16. FYI

    The UMD National Champion Football Team & The UMD Final Five Champion Hockey Team will be recognized at the Duluth Huskie’s game on August 5th at Wade Stadium.

    Sandelin is supposed to throw out the first pitch that night too.

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