West replaces Dallas Ferguson, who resigned on July 11 to take the head coaching job with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen.
“I am very pleased Lance West has accepted our offer to become the next head coach of the Alaska Nanooks hockey team,” Alaska director of athletics Dr. Gary Gray said in a statement. “I am equally confident his many years of experience as one of our assistant coaches, along with his outstanding recruiting skills over those past several years, will serve us well as he takes on his new leadership responsibilities. Lance will work hard to advance Nanook hockey within the WCHA.”
“I am humbled and honored to be named the hockey head coach for the University of Alaska Fairbanks,” West added. “I want to thank Dr. Gray and rest of the athletic administration for this opportunity and want to extend a special thank you to Dallas Ferguson for everything he has done for my family and I over the last nine years. Dallas has been nothing but a great role model, mentor and friend.
“Over the past nine seasons, I have seen the passion and love the alumni, boosters, fans and the community of Fairbanks has for the Nanook hockey program. I look forward to trying to challenge myself to exceed expectations and know we have the foundation in place to be successful.”
A four-year letter-winner as a forward at Alabama Huntsville, West was hired in Ferguson’s inaugural year as head coach prior to the 2008-09 season. West also served as a volunteer assistant coach and video coordinator for the Nanooks throughout the 2007-08 season, while also working full-time at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ student recreation center as the facility manager.
Prior to moving to Fairbanks, West served as an assistant coach to his alma mater for seven seasons (2000-07), helping the Chargers to win two College Hockey America regular-season championships, four conference tournament appearances and one NCAA tournament appearance in his final season (2006-07). West had previously served as the volunteer assistant coach for UAH from 1995 to 1998, helping the Chargers capture two NCAA Division II national championships in 1996 and 1998.
As a player, West was considered an offensive-minded centerman who amassed 43 goals and 65 assists for 108 points in 106 career games. As a senior, West served as team captain and received the UAH hockey team’s Coaches Award.
West graduated from Huntsville with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology with a minor in chemistry and also earned a Class B teaching certification from UAH.