DULUTH, Minn. — At a press conference Tuesday at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Bulldog head hockey coach Mike Sertich resigned effective at the end of the 1999-2000 season.
Sertich, who will continue to coach the team until then, has been the Bulldogs’ head man for 18 years and is one of only two individuals to be named Western Collegiate Hockey Association Coach of the Year on four occasions — including an unprecedented three straight wins from 1983-85.
Sertich, 52, sports a 335-306-44 lifetime record with the Bulldogs, including the most victories ever racked up by a UMD hockey coach. However, the past two seasons played a considerable part in his departure; the Bulldogs are finished last in the league in 1998-99 and currently sit in eighth place in the standings.
“I think its time to start a new chapter,” commented Sertich. “Whomever replaces me will have the daunting task of carrying out the Bulldog legacy.”
Minnesota-Duluth athletic director Bob Corran said that a national search to find Sertich’s replacement will start immediately.
Media outlets had been speculating since last year about Sertich’s potential resignation — rumors that were fueled when assistant coach Jim Knapp’s title was upped to associate head coach at the end of 1998-99.
Sertich, however, had some parting words of advice for the University.
“In order for this program to be successful, an arena has to be built on campus for the Bulldog hockey program to stay competitive,” he said. “Kids are not dumb; they can go to the Internet and look at the facilities and the atmosphere.
“The main attraction today is the facilities, not the coaches. This is the year 2000, and we should not have to go downtown to play and practice for Division I hockey.” UMD’s home arena, the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center, is located some five miles off-campus in downtown Duluth.
Sertich’s announcement makes him the third Upper Midwest college coach in less than two weeks to depart his position. Marian’s Paul Caufield left in the wake of a recent hazing incident, and Minnesota State’s Don Brose retired, effective at the end of this season, after 30-plus years in Mankato.