St. Cloud State announced Wednesday that head coach Craig Dahl has resigned to pursue private business interests. SCSU Director of Athletics Dr. Morris Kurtz made the announcement, including the fact that recently-hired assistant coach Bob Motzko will assume head coaching duties until a national search for a coach has been completed.
“I felt it was time for me to turn the reins over to someone who would continue to build the program as I have done over the last 18 years,” said Dahl. “I also feel it is the proper time for myself personally, to enter into the business sector. I have enjoyed my 25 years as a college coach. I appreciate all of the support and relationships that I have developed with past players, coaches, and administrators, that I have had the privilege of working with during my coaching career.”
Dahl completed his 18th season as head coach of the Huskies in 2004-05, marking the longest tenure of a Husky hockey coach in the history of the program. He has been the team’s only head coach since SCSU moved to the Division I level in 1987-88. He has 338 wins with the Huskies (338-309-52), eclipsing the previous record held by longtime coach Charlie Basch. Dahl completed his 25th season as a collegiate coach last year and has an all-time coaching record of 414-396-54.
Under Dahl, the Huskies won the Broadmoor Trophy as WCHA playoff champions in 2001, and made a total of five NCAA tournament appearances, including four straight from 2000-03. Dahl was named WCHA Coach of the Year in 1998.
Dahl coached five All-Americans and one Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist (Mark Hartigan, in 2002). He has also seen 12 of his former players reach the National Hockey League, including current players Bret Hedican (Carolina Hurricanes), Mark Parrish (New York Islanders), Matt Cullen (Florida Panthers), Tyler Arnason (Chicago), Ryan Malone (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Duvie Westcott (Columbus Blue Jackets). Malone was named to the NHL’s All-Rookie team in 2003-04.
“Craig has built a rock-solid foundation on which the future of Husky hockey will continue to build,” said Dr. Kurtz. “He is a man of integrity and strong character, and has defined Husky Hockey for the last 18 years. He also truly believes in the concept of student first and athlete second.”
Said St. Cloud State President Roy H. Saigo, “I also applaud Craig’s focus on the student-athlete knowing that the emphasis must be on academics. The entire institution wishes Craig well as he seeks other opportunities. He has been an outstanding coach and mentor at the university.”
Dahl began his collegiate coaching career at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minn., in 1980, and spent five seasons with the Royals. Dahl was named the MIAC Coach of the Year in 1985. He was the head coach at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls for one season before coming to SCSU as an assistant coach to Herb Brooks during 1986-87. The 1987-88 season was the first for Dahl as head coach at SCSU and also marked the Huskies’ first year as a Division I independent.
The Albert Lea, Minn., native attended the University of Minnesota on a football scholarship in 1971. He transferred to Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., where he graduated in 1976 with a degree in physical education and social sciences.