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.
Thank goodness. I was hoping this could get done sooner, but such is life. Better late than never. There was no chance he could be an effective recruiter in the last year of a contract. Coaching just doesn't work like that anymore.
Sandelin has been a bit of a controversial figure at UMD, mainly because there is a shockingly snobbish contingent of UMD fans who want an alum to have the coaching job.
All in all, he's done a pretty good job. They've made the NCAA Tournament twice in his tenure, which mark their first two national tournament bids since 1993. It's a step in the right direction.