Wisconsin’s Osiecki to Ohio State

    Wisconsin assistant Mark Osiecki was named head coach at Ohio State on Saturday. Osiecki’s father, Tom, was a successful coach at Burnsville (Minn.) High School and is an assistant with the University of Minnesota women’s team. That hiring news in Columbus, Ohio, had to battle with spring football for attention and was hidden well at the Columbus Dispatch. Here’s a story courtesy of the Wisconsin State Journal:

The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey program is losing its top assistant coach to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.

Mark Osiecki was named Saturday as the head coach at Ohio State,  Chris Schneider, the Buckeyes’ associate athletics director for sport administration, announced.

Osiecki replaces John Markell, who had a record of 280-267-56 in 15 seasons with the Buckeyes. His contract was not renewed, it was announced in March.

Osiecki was the top assistant and recruiting coordinator for the Badgers the last six years. Prior to coming to UW, he was the head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Gamblers in the United States Hockey League for seven seasons.

 It marks the second assistant coach to leave the Badgers’ program. Kevin Patrick announced in March that he was leaving UW to become the head coach of the USHL’s expansion franchise in Muskegon, Mich.

"I can’t express how excited I am at the opportunity to take over the hockey program at an institution as great as Ohio State," Osiecki said. "The locker room is filled with good players and I look forward to building on the tradition of the coaches who have come before me."

Osiecki, who was chosen over Cornell assistant coach Casey Jones, and Boston College assistant Mike Cavanaugh, brings success and experience at a variety of levels to the Ohio State program.

"We are extremely excited to have Mark Osiecki join the Ohio State family as the next head coach of our men’s ice hockey program," Schneider said. "It was an extremely competitive pool of candidates with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. Mark is well respected in the hockey community as someone of strong character who has a history of developing players to be successful at every level, not just on the ice but also in the classroom and community."

At UW, Osiecki was the recruiting coordinator and defensive coach under Mike Eaves. The Badgers advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four championship game this past season and won the national title in 2006. The squad made four NCAA tournament appearances and five appearances in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Five during his tenure. In 2007 four incoming Badgers were first-round picks in the NHL Entry Draft, and five were selected among the Top 50 in the 2008 league draft to set an NCAA record.

Osiecki has coaching experience at the international level and was on the staff of the United States team that captured gold at the World Junior Championship this past winter in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He won silver medals as head coach for the United States Under-18 Team at the 1999 World Championship in Slovakia and as an assistant coach for the U.S. Under-18 Team at the 2000 World Championship in the Czech Republic.

 He led the United States Junior Select team to a gold medal at the 1999 Freedom Challenge in Lake Placid, N.Y. and served as video coordinator for Team USA at the 2006 World Championship. He also was a staff member for the 2008 and ’09 U.S. Junior National Camps in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Osiecki was with the Gamblers in the USHL from 1997-04 and led the team to the Clark Cup in 2000 and was the National Junior A runner-up that same season. The 1999 USHL Coach of the Year, his squad won a league-record four-consecutive division titles from 1999-02. Known for developing players, more than 65 of the Gamblers moved on to NCAA Division I hockey playing careers and 17 were drafted by NHL teams, with 12 of those players spending time in the National Hockey League. The squad recorded USHL records for fewest goals against in a season, team shutouts in a season and road wins in a campaign.

Osiecki started his collegiate coaching career as an assistant coach and strength and conditioning coordinator at North Dakota under Dean Blais. During the 1996-97 season with North Dakota, he helped direct the Fighting Sioux to the NCAA title and WCHA regular-season and playoff titles.

A three-year letterwinner on defense for Wisconsin from 1987-90, Osiecki served as an assistant captain for the 1990 NCAA Championship team. During the national championship season, he collected career highs with 38 assists and 43 points and earned a spot on the Frozen Four all-tournament team. The squad won conference regular-season and tournament titles during his career and he was the recipient of the Seventh Man Award.

Osiecki was selected in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft by the Calgary Flames. He enjoyed a six-year career, including stints with the Flames, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota North Stars, before a wrist injury cut his career short. He also was a champion on the professional level, wining the IHL title with both the Salt Lake City Golden Eagles in his first year as a pro in 1991 and the Kalamazoo Wings in 1994. Osiecki represented his country as a player, competing for the United States at the 1992 World Championship in Prague, Czech Republic.

A 1994 graduate of UW with a bachelor of arts degree in history, Osiecki and his wife, Robin, also a Wisconsin graduate, have a daughter, Emily, and a son, Jake. He is a Burnsville, Minn., native, and won two state championships playing for Burnsvile High School.

Nate Guenin, former Ohio State captain (2006) and current member of the St. Louis Blues’ organization, played for Osiecki with the Green Bay Gamblers.

"Coach Osiecki brings instant credibility to our program," Guenin said. "He is intense and a hard worker who will get the most out of each player."

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