Alaska-Anchorage head coach John Hill has resigned his position to become an assistant coach at Minnesota, ending a tenure that saw a modest turnaround after the Seawolves hit rock bottom with a one-win season in 2002-03.
On Friday it was announced that Hill, 44, has accepted the Gopher assistant’s position which opened up when Bob Motzko left to become an assistant coach at St. Cloud State.
“I would like to thank UAA for four wonderful years,” said Hill. “I appreciated the opportunity to come back to my alma mater as head coach and have appreciated the efforts of our staff and players. I feel the program is in good shape to move forward.”
“John inherited a tough situation here and we are grateful to him for his contributions in getting Seawolf Hockey headed in the right direction,” said Dr. Steve Cobb, UAA athletics director. “He accomplished many good things here and we wish he was staying, and, yet, we certainly wish him and his family nothing but the best.”
Hill’s return to Minnesota continues a lengthy relationship with Gopher head coach Don Lucia, under whom Hill was an assistant coach at Minnesota from 1999-2001 and at Colorado College from 1995-99.
“I am extremely happy to welcome John back to the Golden Gopher hockey program,” Lucia said. “His experience and knowledge of the game will undoubtedly be invaluable to our team now and in the future. I was looking for a coach that had tremendous experience, was passionate about the game and was an outstanding recruiter, and John has proven himself to be exceptional in every phase.
“When John was at Minnesota, he helped build our program to put us at the threshold of winning back-to-back national championships. His experience as a head coach in the WCHA will be a real asset to our team. John did a fabulous job at Alaska Anchorage in rebuilding the Seawolves program. With his experience and knowledge of our program, I expect a seamless transition as he returns to Minnesota.”
In four seasons at Alaska-Anchorage, Hill, 44, posted a record of 39-89-21 in a program that has not enjoyed a winning season since 1992-93. UAA went 1-28-7 in Hill’s second season behind the bench, but rebounded modestly the last two seasons with two titles at the Nye Frontier Classic, and an upset of Wisconsin in the WCHA first round in 2004. Those victories snapped a streak in which the Seawolves had lost 22 straight league playoff games dating back to 1993. The Seawolves nearly repeated that feat in 2005, falling two games to one to the Badgers en route to a season record of 12-19-6.
As a player, Hill captained Alaska Anchorage in 1983-84 and compiled 121 points during his four-year career as a Seawolf. He began his coaching career as a part-time assistant at UAA in 1988 before becoming head coach and general manager of the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints.
From 1991-95, Hill served as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Alaska-Anchorage before joining Lucia at CC.
Hill was born in Hampton, Va., and is a graduate of Bartlett High School in Anchorage. He and his wife, Patsy, will reside in the Twin Cities.