MSU coaching search begins; here are some potential candidates

By @MichaelCaples –

Michigan State announced today that head coach Tom Anastos is stepping down after six years behind the Spartans’ bench.

Here is a list of potential candidates to become the seventh head coach in Michigan State program history; suggested candidates are in no particular order, and this is all speculation at this point:

Danton Cole – USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program

Danton Cole played for Michigan State from 1985-1989 before embarking on a professional hockey career that featured 318 NHL games and a Stanley Cup championship with the New Jersey Devils. Cole, 50, went from player to assistant coach with the IHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins in 1999-00, and he has been building his coaching resume ever since. The Pontiac native served as head coach of the Griffins from 2002-05 before two years with the Motor City Mechanics of the UHL. In 2008, after a year as an assistant coach, Cole became the head coach of Alabama Huntsville, where stayed until 2010. From 2013 on, he has been one of the two head coaches for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor/Plymouth.

George Gwozdecky – Valor Christian High School (Denver, CO)

George Gwozdecky got his coaching start at Michigan State in 1984-85 under Ron Mason, and worked for five seasons for the Spartans before leaving to take over the Miami hockey program. After five seasons with the RedHawks, Gwozdecky, 63, left for the University of Denver; he guided the Pioneers for 19 seasons. After two seasons as an assistant coach for Jon Cooper in Tampa Bay, he is now working as the head coach of Valor Christian High School in Denver.

Chris Luongo – USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program

Chris Luongo played for MSU from 1985-1989 before a career that spanned 15 years and stops in the NHL, IHL, AHL and DEL. The Detroit native began his coaching career as an assistant coach with Wayne State in 2006-07 before heading down to Alabama Huntsville in 2008. From 2010-12, Luongo served as head coach of the Chargers’ program. He returned to his home state to serve as an assistant coach for the NTDP in 2015, and has been with the national program ever since.

Damon Whitten – Lake Superior State

Damon Whitten started his coaching career with Michigan State in 2004-05, three years after concluding his playing career with the Spartans. After assistant coach positions with Wayne State, University of Alaska-Anchorage, and Michigan Tech, Whitten, 39, just concluded his second season as head coach of the Lake Superior State Lakers. LSSU posted a six-win improvement in Year 2 with Whitten, recording a 14-22-5 record in 2016-17.


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