Former University of North Dakota defenseman Jason Herter, a noted recruited in junior and AAA midget hockey, has agreed to join the Minnesota Duluth men’s staff for 2011-12, head coach Scott Sandelin said Monday.
Herter, 40, a native of Hafford, Saskatchewan, spent last season in his first year as coach and general manager of the Fargo (N.D.) Force of the U.S. Hockey League. Fargo went 33-22-5 during the regular season before being eliminated in the second round of the league playoffs by eventual Clark Cup champion Dubuque (Iowa). He replaces Brett Larson, who left UMDâ€™s staff last month, after three seasons, to become coach and general manager of Sioux City (Iowa) in the U.S. Hockey League.
â€œJason is absolutely a good recruiter and has been an exceptional coach with Fargo and before that with the Russell Stover U16 AAA team,â€ said Sandelin, who is scouting a USA Hockey U16 Select development camp in Rochester, N.Y..
â€œHeâ€™s played in our league, he knows a lot of players in the USHL and has connections in Canada. Heâ€™s excited about joining us and fits well into our plans.â€
Herter coached with Russell Stover, based in Overland Park, Kan., through 2008.
Herter interviewed at UMD on Wednesday, was offered and accepted the job Friday and is expected to sign a on-year contract Wednesday in Duluth. Also interviewing last week were Alaska Fairbanks assistant Brian Meisner, 41, a Cloquet native, who played at St. Scholastica and is entering his fourth season with the Nanooks; and former Michigan State assistant Brian Renfrew, 39, who spent eight seasons with the Spartans, but was not retained when Tom Anastos replaced Rick Comley as Michigan Stateâ€™s head coach in March.
Sandelin, 46, a former North Dakota defenseman entering his 12th season, said he had 45 formal applications for the job before choosing three finalists. He headed a selection committee that included Plante, athletic trainer Suz Hoppe and UMD captain Jack Connolly of Duluth.
Herter, who couldn’t be reached for comment Monday, said through the Fargo Force website:
â€œI am excited about the opportunity to further my coaching career at the NCAA Division I coaching level and join a program that is at the top of college hockey. It is bittersweet to leave the Fargo Force as I have enjoyed working with the players, coaches, and staff for one of the best organizations in the USHL.â€
It’s expected Herter will earn approximately what UMD’s assistant coaches were paid Last season. Larson made $68,000 and assistant coach Derek Plante, in his first season, $64,000. Planteâ€™s contract has already been renewed for 2011-12, said UMD athletic director Bob Nielson.
Sandelin signed a five-year contract extension last month that will take him through 2016-17.
Herter was an assistant under Dean Blais when the Fargo Force began in 2008-09, but when Blais took the Nebraska-Omaha head job in 2009-10, Steve Johnson was hired as Fargoâ€™s head coach. Herter wasnâ€™t retained and did some scouting for a few U.S. Hockey League teams that season.
Last September, Johnson became a St. Cloud State assistant and Herter was named Fargoâ€™s head coach for 2010-11. Fargo assistant Byron Pool will take over as interim head coach for the Force.
In three years at North Dakota (1988-91), Herter had 118 points in 119 games and ranks among the schoolâ€™s top five defensemen in career scoring. He was a No. 1 pick by Vancouver in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft and played one game with the New York Islanders before spending 11 years in minor league and European hockey.
Also, Fargo Force forward Austin Farley, 17, of Park Ridge, Ill., 5-foot-6 and 150 pounds, is expected to commit to UMD for 2013-14.