University of Nebraska Omaha head hockey coach Dean Blais announced today that Troy Jutting has been named the team's new assistant coach. Jutting takes over for Brian Renfrew who left Omaha after one year to take a position with the Winnipeg Jets of the National Hockey League.
Jutting is well known to fans of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, having served as the head coach of Minnesota State for the last 12 years.
“We are fortunate that we have been able to add someone of Troy's experience to our staff,” said Blais. “After so many games coaching against us, he knows our program and our players. Just as important, he knows the WCHA and what it takes to be successful there. I think he can help us as we compete for league and national championships.”
While leading the MSU Mavericks, Jutting compiled a career record of 184-224-55 and was named the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Coach of the Year in 2002-03 and 2007-08. In both seasons, MSU finished in the top five in the WCHA. In 2007-08, he also was a finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award as the nation's top Division I coach.
In all, Jutting had a 26-year affiliation with the Minnesota State program, a term than included 14 winning seasons. Prior to taking over as head coach in March of 2000, the native of Richfield, Minn. was an assistant coach with the Mavericks from 1990-2000, contributing to MSU's move from Division II to Division I. He played for the Mavericks from 1982-86. In 136 games, he earned 145 points and still today ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in goals, assists, points and single-season goals. As a senior, he finished sixth in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association in scoring and earned all-conference honors. He was a member of three NCAA Division III tournament teams including one that appeared in the D-III final four.
Like I said when he was dismissed by Minnesota State, Jutting is good people. He also knows the game. If he brings a more physical element to the UNO program through coaching style and recruiting, it wouldn't be a terrible thing for UNO. No question Blais can compete for high-end players.
(This should also tell you how badly Jutting wants to coach. He could have sat out the season and been paid by MSU to work as a special assistant, whatever that would have meant. Instead, his salary comes off MSU's books, and he gets to coach again. Everyone wins in that scenario, it seems.)
UNO disappointed a tad last season, finishing seventh after a horribly-timed slump at the end of the season. All the Mavericks needed over their last four games was two points, and they would have been home for the first round of the WCHA playoffs. Instead, UNO received zero, and ended up losing in two games at St. Cloud State in the first round.
Blais and Jutting -- along with new assistant Steve Johnson, who replaced new MSU head coach Mike Hastings -- will be charged with keeping a similar collapse from marring the reddish Mavericks' 2012-13 season.