Alaska has named Nebraska-Omaha assistant coach Doc DelCastillo as the seventh head coach in Alaska history.
“I have spoken with hundreds of people during the search process,” said UAF athletics director Forrest Karr. “Everyone has different opinions, but everyone that knows hockey agrees on one thing – Doc DelCastillo is an excellent role model and an outstanding hockey coach. Doc will not get outworked and he will make everyone in the department of athletics better.”
Spending the last five seasons as assistant coach at UNO DelCastillo shouldered the majority of the recruiting responsibility for the Mavericks.
“I really appreciate the opportunity that Forrest Karr, the search committee and the community has given our family,” said DelCastillo. “There have been a lot of sacrifices to earn an opportunity like this one and it has been a goal for our family for a long time.”
A proven recruiter, DelCastillo successfully elicited a core group of skaters in his time at UNO, including Mavericks’ All-American forward Scott Parse CCHA Player of the year 2006, Hobey Baker Finalist 2006 and 2007 and Bill Thomas CCHA Rookie of the Year 2005, who helped reshape the hockey program and earn the Mavericks a trip to the NCAA tournament in 2006.
“Several D-I athletic directors advised hiring a proven recruiter, as successful recruiters usually end up winning head coaches,” Karr said. “Doc’s recruiting history speaks for itself. His efforts have helped elevate two D-I programs, both within D-II athletic departments.”
The 37-year old started coaching at his alma mater in 1998 and spent four seasons with the Huskies. While he was there, SCSU had the second-highest winning percentage in college hockey, finishing just behind Michigan State with a record of 83-34-6.
DelCastillo helped guide SCSU to 89 victories and the program’s first-ever WCHA Final Five championship in 2001. The Huskies gained three NCAA tournament bids during the DelCastillo era and won the NCAA scoring title in 2001 and power play crown in 2001 and 2002.
He got his start in coaching as an assistant with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL from 1992-93, before becoming an assistant with the Omaha Lancers in 1993-94; Omaha won the Clark Cup that season. From 1994-97, DelCastillo served as head coach and general manager of the Rochester Mustangs of the USHL, where he posted an 88-75-7 record. He guided Rochester to a runner-up spot in the 1996 Clark Cup finals. He completed his USHL coaching experience as associate head coach and assistant general manager for the Omaha Lancers in 1997-1998; Omaha won the Clark Cup that season.
A St. Paul, Minnesota native, DelCastillo was a standout winger for St. Cloud from 1988-92 where he won the Huskies’ Sam Lopresti Award for Most Determined Player for the 1990-91 season and again in the 1991-92 season. He was elected co-captain of the SCSU hockey team for the 1991-92 season. He received his bachelor’s degree in elective studies from St. Cloud State in 1995 and completed his master’s degree in sports management as a coach while at SCSU.
“Doc has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to learning and will be expected to uphold the hockey team’s well established academic tradition,” said Karr.
DelCastillo and his wife, Sue, have five daughters, Britni, Brandi, Bryna, Brook, and Brylei. They plan to make arrangements over the next few weeks to make the move from Omaha to Fairbanks as soon as possible.
“I can’t thank the committee enough for their diligence and time searching through the wonderful group of candidates,” Karr said. “They did a great job helping us narrow down the group to pick the very best candidate for our needs. On behalf of the UAF athletics department, I thank them for everything they did.”
DelCastillo is eager to get to know the team and its supporters.
“Just from the community gathering that took place when I was visiting the campus, I can see the enthusiasm in the community about Alaska hockey,” he said. “This is an exciting opportunity and I look forward to getting to meet and know as many people as I can.”