College Hockey:
Michigan Tech coach Russell resigns

Michigan Tech announced Wednesday that head coach Jamie Russell has resigned his position after eight seasons behind the Huskies’ bench.

“Jamie is a person of great integrity, and he has worked hard to fulfill the mission of our athletic department and university,” said Michigan Tech AD Suzanne Sanregret in a statement. “We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Russell posted a 70-197-37 record with the Huskies after being named to the position May 7, 2003. The Huskies’ best season under Russell came in 2006-07 when Tech went 18-17-5 and earned a trip to the WCHA Final Five.

MTU compiled a 4-30-4 record this season, which concluded last weekend in a first-round WCHA playoff loss at North Dakota.

“I will really miss the Tech hockey players who have cared so much and worked so hard,” said Russell in the same statement. “It has been a privilege working with this team, and I wish them every success in the years to come.

“I want to thank all the people in the community who were so loyal to the Huskies — through the good times and through the tougher times when we faced numerous injuries and the loss of some outstanding new recruits who were not to able to make it all the way to Tech ice. My family and I have enjoyed being a part of this community and will be saddened to leave, but look forward to the adventures ahead.”

In addition to the departure of Russell, Sanregret announced that assistant coach Pat Mikesch will not return. Mikesch spent the last seven years as an assistant under Russell.

“Our goal is to be successful in all aspects of the program-on and off the ice,” said Sanregret. “A quality hockey program is a valued part of Michigan Tech’s history and we will work diligently to re-establish our position.”

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  • Iceman77

    As an MTU graduate (class of 1985) I thought Jamie was the right hire and I still believe he is a class act. I have listened to many games on pasty.net and enjoy following the Huskies. It will be tough for the University to find a suitable replacement and immediately compete with the class of the WCHA. The conference is year-in and year-out the toughest. I look forward to the future of the hockey program at Tech and pray for the best for Jamie and the rest of the coaching staff. Let’s go youse Huskie!!!!!

  • Jason

    As an MTU graduate (class of 1997), I initially thought Jamie was the right hire. The problem is that MTU needs a truly magnificent coach, given the recruiting disadvantages it has. If they want to truly get back to competing year-in, year-out, they need to relax their academic standards, and use that plan to go all-out to bring a coach that knows he can recruit better, based on that relaxation. If not, Tech has to hope beyond hope that they are able to find a one-in-a-million coach that can deal with all the additional challenges, and still put a competitive team on the ice.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CDVJXN7JYCHS2GBITHR7X4TB3Q sisu

      Jason, Why do you say that MTU is at a disadvantage in Recruiting. Does North Dakota, Minnesota Duluth, Denver, Bemidji State have a advantage over MTU. The answer is NO. All of their other sports are Division 2. MTU has much nicer facilities than most of the schools in the WCHA. Mel Pearson, the Associate Head Coach at the University of Michigan for the past 20 yr is a good example of a great recruiter. When he was hired away from Mich. Tech. approx 20 yr. by Red Berenson, Michigan was in the lower third of the CCHA. In a few years they have been at the top of the CCHA. I have talked to a lot of the former players that played for Michigan, and they all said the reason they went to Michigan was because they liked the coaches that recruited them., and that Main Recruiter was Mel Pearson

      • WIBS04

        seriously? Michigan Tech has nicer facilities than Ralph Engelstad Arena? Amsoil Arena? Sanford Center?

        I think you need to wake up.

        who cares if the other sports are Division 2? they don’t go there to play other sports, they go there to play D-1 hockey and when you’re comparing the prestige of a program like Denver or North Dakota right now to Michigan Tech, it’s a no-brainer.

        You need to stop living in the past and drinking the water in Houghton. Apparently it’s tainted and making people oblivious to the problem there.

        Why are there all these Tech fans that somehow don’t get there program is at rock bottom?

      • Chris

        Denver and North Dakota are not d2 schools in other sports. Denver just joined the WAC and UND joined the Big Sky conference

      • Ridingtimes

        I have never been to MTU but the World Arena is so nice. I have even heard some DU fans say they like it better than Magness. You talk about recruiting..to me I think Alaska Anchorage would have it the hardest. CC has only 1900 students at the college I am pretty sure they have the smallest student body..But they always seem to have there nose in the WCHA top team. I am not saying they are always the best..but they sure can play with the likes of DU..Minnesota..ND and Wisconsin who always seem to have good teams. I felt sorry for MTU this year it must have been hard for those kids to go out and play after not winning a game in 26 straight.

      • Jason

        If you think that MTU is no more disadvantaged than ND, UMD, Denver, or Bemidji State, then you clearly have never been to these schools, nor have ever looked into their relative size, the size of the towns they’re in, their facilities, etc. Houghton (pop. 6,500) is four and half hours from Green Bay, which barely qualifies as a city of any kind. The school has a 4:1 male:female ratio, and only has 6,000 students. There are no other schools within 100 miles of it, so there isn’t anywhere else for these students to go to find women. Not to mention the academic standards. Try telling a recruit that he’s gonna be in the middle of nowhere, playing in front of 2,000 fans, having to work way harder to keep his grades up, and they get so much snow that it will be pretty difficult to go anywhere to get away. Then maybe you’ll agree that Tech needs a TRULY tremendous coach in order to be able to compete..

  • Gutpile

    I’m not close to the situation in Houghton, but seems to me, Russell’s departure was long overdue. The once mighty and proud Tech program can begin to re- build.
    All coaches eventually get fired (resign, asked to step down, asked to retire…it’s all the same, they want you gone). At the end of their tenures, all coaches would hope that they have left the program in better shape than when they were hired. In this instance, that is not the case….Tech is in far worse shape than it was when Russell was hired.

    • F2B&G

      I beg to differ. It was time for a change, but his successor will have more to work with than Russell did when he first arrived. The last three years on the injury front were brutal, and left him struggling to crash course a lineup consisting primarily of freshmen and sophomores. For whatever reason, he just couldn’t keep the team healthy, and that is the root cause of what led us to this announcement.

      • Gutpile

        Yep, good points, injuries are a bugger and you can’t win w/ freshman in the WCHA or any college league for that matter. However, three years of consistent injuries???? After one year of an injury plagued team, you have to re-evaluate what you’re doing. i.e. not in condition, not enough in season weight training, not enough off season WT, etc. If you have a coach that consistently has teams w/ injury problems for three straight seasons….it’s on the coach, he has to do something different. Knowing people that know Russell, he was described to me as a pretty arrogant guy and probably not a person that would change the way he trains his team.

        You can provide reasons, injuries being a good one, for Russell’s failure, but the bottom line is the man lost over 80 straight WCHA games. He should have been fired after 20 or 30 straight WCHA losses.

        I’m not a Tech fan, but I hate to see a former multiple Nat. Champion program like MTU be consistently bad. Russell was given more than enough time to see if he could cut it @ the DI level, Tech’s not easy to recruit too, but I think the AD and Administration gave him more than enough time to prove he belongs as a Head Coach in DI hockey.

        IMO, I don’t think he does. Hope to see Tech in the top half of the WCHA soon.

        • Tjbraun

          You are a retard, Jamie Russell did not lose 80 straight WCHA games. Why don’t you check your facts before you start spouting crap like that. Jamie Russell was a great coach for the program and has left it in better shape then when he was hired. Yes he failed to succeed in the Win column over the last 3 seasons and yes injuries were a huge part of that but the injuries were a huge variety of things from broken bones to freak blood clots.

          • WIBS04

            better shape than he left it? Have you seen their record the past 2 seasons?

            the year before he was hired Tech went 10-24-4. In the past 2 seasons Tech has won 9 games combined.

            There’s your stats right there.

            Michigan Tech has been the laughing stock of the WCHA and in my opinion, has gotten to the point where it’s not even funny, but just sad to see them lose week in and week out to much more superior programs in the WCHA.

            To say that Michigan Tech, a once proud program and national power in the 60′s and 70′s, is better now than when Russell got here is an absolute joke.

        • HkyFan

          Notre Dame won this year with 10 freshmen I believe…I’m just saying.

  • Knuff27

    Let’s be brutally honest here, the glory days of Michigan Tech hockey are over. No coach is going to be able to get them much above .500 in the WCHA. They just can’t bring in enough decent recruits to Houghton, MI. If you’re an 18-20 yo kid, wouldn’t you rather to go MSU, Mich, Minn, St Cloud, ND, Wisco, Denver, Colorado College etc. Michigan Tech would be waaaaay at the bottom of your list. It’s not the coaches fault, it’s just a really tough sell to decent recruits.

  • Gsylviajr

    Academics, geography and facilities make recruiting tough at Tech, but what about RPI, Cornell, Yale???—they make it all work

  • Dubbie31

    Good Luck Coach Russell

  • Jimmy not THAT jimmy

    I wish him the best of luck. Despite the W-L record whenever I saw him interviewed before or after a game, he was professional, upbeat and supportive of the players. Class act is right. I also graduated in 85 and if you back calculate my freshmen year was the last year that MacInnes was the head coach. After that, for many years the coaching position became a revolving door. No question that it is a recruiting challenge and I’m not sure what the answer is. But I will remain a Tech fan, if for nothing else to bother all the MSU, CC, Denver etc. employees who work for me :)

  • 95techgrad

    As a tech grad and only following casually over the last few years, MTU has seemed much more interested in its D2 sports and developing them then the D1 hockey program. Grated the hockey program has not given them much to talk about but it seems like if you visit the website or read alumni newsletters, all you read about is how good the women’s basketball team is doing or the football team’s latest game. Most of the alumni live in Detroit area or other major suburban areas and if we are talking college sports, is gonna be D1 sports. The only one MTU has to hang it’s hat on is hockey and IMO that don’t seem to realize the importance of it.

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