Shawhan is a 20-year veteran of coaching with over 10 years in college and 10 years in junior hockey. He has been an assistant coach for the Huskies for the past three seasons under former head coach Mel Pearson.
“I’m thrilled to introduce Joe Shawhan as the head coach of our historic hockey program,” said Michigan Tech athletic director Dr. Suzanne Sanregret in a statement. “He has been an instrumental part of our success over the last three seasons, and winning has followed him in every program he has been a part of.
“This search process was different then the last in that we are looking for a coach to build upon our recent success and raise the program to yet another level. We were also looking for a leader who has integrity, character, and a genuine interest in developing players to be leaders both on and off the ice. We also want a coach that has strong relationships and networks for recruiting, will continue to recruit to the style of play that we have come to enjoy, and engage with our community. Coach Shawhan has all of these characteristics. He is a tremendous human being who will coach our hockey student-athletes for life. I look forward to working with Joe in the years to come. I am confident in his abilities as a coach, teacher, and professional, and he will continue to grow and advance Michigan Tech hockey.”
“I am honored and excited for the opportunity to remain a part of the Michigan Tech family,” Shawhan added. “The past three years have been an amazing journey. Sharing in the passion this community has for this university and hockey program has been an experience most only dream of. Tech hockey has a colorful history painted by legendary individuals and teams. My family and I are excited to be part of the next chapter.
“I would like to thank President Mroz, Vice President Cook, and especially athletic director Suzanne Sanregret for entrusting me with this opportunity. I also want to thank Mel Pearson, Bill Muckalt, and John Rockwell for convincing me to come to Houghton three years ago.”
Shawhan was brought on staff at Tech in July 2014 to work with the goaltenders and defensemen. Goaltenders Jamie Phillips and Angus Redmond flourished under Shawhan, breaking Tech records and leading the Huskies back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since the ’80s.
Phillips left as Tech’s all-time shutout leader, was a two-time All-WCHA selection, named the WCHA Outstanding Student-Athlete, and was a finalist for the Senior Class Award, and the Mike Richter Award. He signed a two-year contract with the Winnipeg Jets after his senior season in 2015-16.
Redmond played one season at Tech, going 22-10-5 with four shutouts. His 22 wins were tied for ninth in the nation and set a Michigan Tech record for wins by a freshman goaltender. Redmond was a WCHA All-Rookie selection and signed a three-year contract with the Anaheim Ducks earlier this offseason.
“My goal is to continue the work of my predecessors that allows each individual to grow into the person they are capable of,” said Shawhan. “Our culture is our strength and our great student-athletes drive our culture. The rest takes care of itself.”
Before coming to Tech, Shawhan spent six seasons at Northern Michigan. He was a volunteer assistant in 2007-08, the director of hockey operations in 2009-10, and an assistant coach for four seasons. Shawhan was also an assistant coach at his alma mater, Lake Superior State, from 2005 to 2008.
As the head coach and general manager of the Soo Indians from 1995-2005, Shawhan compiled a 474-162-43 record to become the winningest coach in the history of the NAHL. He had two 50-win seasons, six 40-win stints, and two seasons with over 30 victories. Under Shawhan’s guidance, the Indians never recorded a losing record, captured three NAHL titles, and earned four trips to the USA Hockey national tournament. He was a three-time recipient of NAHL Coach of the Year honors and had more than 120 of his former players go on to play Division I college hockey, including Cam Ellsworth (Michigan Tech) and Hobey Baker Award winner Ryan Miller (Michigan State).
Shawhan earned four letters as a goaltender for LSSU from 1982 to 1987, where he amassed 1,130 saves. He led the CCHA in both GAA and save percentage during the 1985-86 season and left the program tied for first all-time in career GAA at 3.83.
An active member of USA Hockey, Shawhan led the 2004 U.S. Junior National Team to a silver medal at the 2004 Viking Cup as head coach and bronze medal in 2002 as an assistant. He also served as the head coach of Team Michigan U-17 and U-18 five times and was a member of the USA Hockey Tier I Oversight Committee.