I'm sure a large segment of the UMD fan population would rather have seen this done a couple weeks ago, but UMD men's hockey coach Scott Sandelin is finally locked up for a long time.
More than a month after delivering UMD a national championship in men's hockey for the first time, Sandelin inked a five-year contract extension with the school.
The deal will raise Sandelin's salary to make it more competitive with the rest of Division I, though it doesn't make him the highest-paid coach out there.
Here is the official release from UMD on the deal, announced Tuesday afternoon.
Scott Sandelin, who shepherded the University of Minnesota Duluth to its first NCAA national men's hockey championship last month, has signed a five-year contract extension that will keep him behind the Bulldog bench through the 2016-17 season, it was announced today by UMD Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Bob Nielson.
The agreement calls for the 46-year old Sandelin to receive an annual base salary of $235,000.
“We are very pleased with the leadership Scott has provided to our men’s hockey program and are encouraged about what lies ahead for the Bulldogs, ” said Nielson. “He’s continually demonstrated the ability to bring in top quality student-athletes -- young men who excel both on the ice and in the classroom. This extension represents a commitment to both him and to UMD hockey.
Since assuming UMD's head coaching role in 1999-2000, Sandelin has compiled a 192-200-52 record, including a 70-40-15 mark (for a .620 winning percentage) during the last three seasons. In addition, his Bulldogs have made three NCAA playoff appearances -- 2004 (when they advanced to the Frozen Four semifinals), 2009 (quarterfinals) and 2011 (when they beat the University of Michigan 3-2 in overtime in the title game) while qualifying for six of the past nine Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Five tournaments. Sandelin, the 2003-04 Spencer Penrose Award recipient (American Hockey Coaches Association NCAA I Coach of the Year) and runner-up for that honor this past winter, has strung together three consecutive seasons of 22 victories or more -- a first for the Bulldogs since the mid-1980s. In all, the Hibbing, Minn., native has helped produce one Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner (Junior Lessard in 2003-04), five NCAA I All-Americans, and 14 All-WCHA selections and has seen 11 of his players go on to do time in the National Hockey League.
The 2011-12 Bulldogs will return some 16 lettermen -- including three of the top five scorers and their entire goaltending cast -- from last year’s club, which went 26-10-6 overall and 15-8-5 in the WCHA.
“I’m excited about the future of this hockey program and building on what we've done. It's a great time to be here,” said Sandelin, who will serve as an assistant coach for the U.S. at next winter's International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship. "I am extremely appreciative to the UMD administration for continuing to have faith in me and offering me this extension."
The biggest factors in this easy decision by UMD to lock Sandelin up: That 70-40-15 mark over the last three years, two NCAA trips in three years, and that little matter of a national championship.
Having 11 players move on to the NHL doesn't hurt, and UMD's academic success in recent years should be noted here, too.
The Bulldogs open defense of their national championship -- a phrase I look forward to using a few dozen more times this summer -- Oct. 7 at Amsoil Arena against Frozen Four semifinal opponent Notre Dame.