Augsburg men’s head hockey coach Mike Schwartz is resigning his coaching position in order to focus on his responsibilities as the school’s director of athletic facilities, athletic department officials announced on Wednesday.
Assistant coach Chris Brown will be named interim head coach for the Auggies, said Jeff Swenson, assistant dean for athletics and recreation. Brown returned to Augsburg in 2005 for his second stint as an Augsburg assistant coach.
Schwartz served as head coach for the Auggies for 10 seasons (1996-2006), compiling a 124-110-30 record. Teams he coached made appearances in the MIAC postseason playoffs six times, compiling a 80-61-18 record in conference play.
“This is purely my choice and my timing to step down as coach,” Schwartz said. “As a coach, you don’t always have that option. The best thing for me is that I’m still staying here at Augsburg, and I’m going to channel my energy into my role as athletic facilities director, to benefit all our programs. I’ve got maroon (Augsburg’s school color) blood. I’m not going anywhere.”
In 2004, Schwartz was named the college’s director of athletic facilities, and will now focus solely on his role there. Schwartz manages the day-to-day operations for the Augsburg Ice Arena, Si Melby Hall and Edor Nelson Field. Augsburg’s athletic facilities have been the subject of major additions and renovations in recent years, including the addition of a new turf surface on Edor Nelson Field in the summer of 2004 and the upcoming south-wing addition project at Si Melby Hall and construction of new bleachers and a new seasonal dome for Edor Nelson Field.
“We want to thank Mike for the many things he has done for the men’s hockey program and our athletic department,” Swenson said. “He may be leaving coaching, but we feel very fortunate that he will continue in his role as director of athletic facilities.”
Schwartz, a 1983 Augsburg graduate and member of the school’s 1981-82 NAIA national championship team, was named head coach of the Auggies in 1996, replacing Ed Saugestad, who had compiled a 503-354-21 record at Augsburg from 1958 to 1996.
In Schwartz’s second season, 1997-98, the Auggies won the MIAC regular-season and postseason championships, advancing to the NCAA Division III national tournament and placing fourth. That season, Schwartz was named College Division National Coach of the Year by the American Hockey Coaches Association.
Schwartz coached four Augsburg Division III All-Americans — Todd Cary (1998), Ryan McIntosh (1998), Jaro Cesky (2003) and Aaron Johnson (2006).
“As much as this is a difficult time, it is also a time for optimism because Mike is staying at Augsburg,” Swenson said. “It is also a time for optimism because Mike is doing something he loves to do, in his role as director of athletic facilities. Under his leadership, we are looking forward to continued improvement of our athletic facilities, which will benefit the entire college, especially our athletic teams and programs. It is also a time for optimism because we are very fortunate to have Chris Brown ready to be our interim head coach and be the new leader for the Augsburg men’s hockey program.”
Brown returned to Augsburg in 2005 for his second stint as an Auggie assistant coach. He also serves the college as men’s athletic equipment supervisor, and will continue in that role while serving as interim head coach. He also was an assistant coach under Schwartz, in addition to serving as sports information director, in 1996-97.
Brown served for four seasons (2000-04) as head coach at Marian College (Fond du Lac, Wis.) and one season (2004-05) as head coach at Hamline University. He has a 69-56-8 career coaching record, including a 65-36-7 record at Marian, including two MCHA regular-season and two postseason playoff titles. He was named MCHA Coach of the Year twice and was a finalist for the AHCA’s Division III National Coach of the Year award three times. He also served for three seasons (1997-2000) as an assistant coach at Alaska-Anchorage.
As a player at Wisconsin-River Falls, he served as a captain for the Falcons’ 1993-94 NCAA Division III national championship team, scoring 43 goals and adding 57 assists in his career. He graduated from Wisconsin-River Falls with a degree in journalism in 1994, and later earned a master’s degree in organizational leadership and quality from Marian College.
Brown served as chairman of the NCAA Division III Men’s Ice Hockey national committee in 2005-06.