Scott Sandelin says he can finally enjoy Minnesota Duluth’s 2011 NCAA hockey championship and get on to the business of the 2011-12 season.
He received word Sunday that Princeton’s Guy Gadowsky was chosen as the first men’s hockey coach at Penn State as the Big Ten school prepares for the program’s inaugural year in 2012-13.
Sandelin, 46, had been on the State College, Pa., campus Wednesday and Thursday last week, with his wife, Wendy, a Penn State graduate, to be interviewed as one of three finalists along with Wisconsin women’s coach Mark Johnson and Gadowsky.
While there were rumors Penn State wouldn’t name a coach until after this week’s American Hockey Coaches Association annual meetings in Naples, Fla.,Â Sandelin said he talked with Penn State associate athletic director Joe Battista on Saturday and got the news of the hiring Sunday. Sandelin, UMD’s coach for 11 years, said he was never offered the position.
“I know I have a pretty good situation at UMD, but I was intrigued. I thought ‘Let’s see what it’s all about at Penn State,’ but I don’t know if I would’ve taken the job if I had gotten an offer,” Sandelin said Sunday. “There are a lot of things you have to consider, with your family and where you live, and if its the right thing at the right time. It was a whirlwind situation coming like it did, right after our season ended.
“We’ve got a good program at UMD with good things ahead. Really, I’m thrilled not to be going anywhere.”
UMD’s coaching staff, however, is headed to the coaches convention Tuesday and Sandelin said he’ll talk about a contract extension Monday with UMD athletic director Bob Nielson and likely Chancellor Lendley Black. At the meeting, Sandelin said he’d like to agree in principle to terms and sign a contract after the convention ends May 1.
Sandelin signed a two-year contract with UMD in July of 2009 with a annual base salary of $150,000. One year remains on that deal. In 11 seasons he’s 192-200-52, and is 71-40-15 the past three years, the program’s best win-loss streak since the mid-1980s. The Bulldogs have been in three NCAA tournaments the past eight years with a 7-2 mark, including 4-0 this season in winning the Division I title April 9 in St. Paul.
“I’m glad the Penn State decision has been made and that I’m part of UMD,” said Sandelin. “Now I’ll get a chance to wear my NCAA Champions T-shirt with pride this week.”
Sandelin, the 2011 Division I coach of the year runner up, came to UMD in 2000 shortly after North Dakota won the 2000 NCAA title. He was an associate head coach that season under North Dakota head coach Dean Blais.
The Penn State hiring continued an extremely active few days for the Division I men’s coaching carousel.Â In the same week, Union College’s Nate Leaman took the Providence College job; his assistant, Rick Bennett was promoted to head coach at Union; former Colorado College assistant Norm Bazin was named head coach at his alma mater, Massachusetts-Lowell; George Roll was fired at Clarkson University; a report had Northeastern University coach Greg Cronin headed for the American Hockey League; and Jeff Blashill of Western Michigan earned a contract extension.
In all, there have been eight coaching changes since the end of 2010-11, with Michigan Tech, Clarkson and Princeton still seeking replacements. It’s believed to be the largest one-season turnover in Division I history.