Former Wisconsin top assistant Pat Ford was named associate head coach at the University of Findlay.
“This just shows how committed the administration is to hockey here at Findlay,” said Oiler head coach Craig Barnett. “It’s incredible to be able to obtain someone with Pat’s experience. Findlay is definitely committed to hockey at this level and this addition to our staff should show all of college hockey that we are determined to make a name for ourselves.”
Ford, a 1990 graduate of Wisconsin, had served as assistant coach with the Badgers under retiring head coach Jeff Sauer since 1994, following two seasons at Northern Michigan and a stint as graduate assistant at Wisconsin in 1991-92. He played for the Badgers from 1984-88. Among the players Ford recruited to Wisconsin was Dany Heatley, a Hobey Baker finalist and the winner of the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s 2002 Rookie of the Year.
In all, Ford was responsible for landing for the Badgers two Hobey Baker Finalists, three All-Americans, two NHL first round draft picks, and four current NHL players. While he was at Wisconsin, the Badgers made six trips to the NCAA tournament including a loss in the 1992 Championship to Lake Superior while Ford was a graduate assistant. Wisconsin also won two WCHA tournament titles and one WCHA regular season title during his stay.
The hiring comes just as College Hockey America, Findlay’s conference, becomes eligible for an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
“The timing is terrific,” added Barnett, who has a 97-93-12 record in seven years at Findlay. “We will be competing for the first-ever NCAA automatic bid in the CHA this year, which helped us. Also, the fact that the people at our school are great and that the Findlay environment is great, are the reasons why Pat gave us serious consideration.”
Ford replaces Rob Haberbusch, who left the Oilers after five seasons to become assistant coach at Iona. Findlay also named former Ferris State and St. Norbert goaltender Mike Szkodzinski as graduate assistant coach. Szkodzinski, a former CCHA All-Rookie Team member and Division III All-American, was an assistant at Wisconsin-Eau Claire last season.