Guy Gadowsky Introduced as Men’s Hockey Coach
Touting values and a yearn to grab the spirit that Penn State possesses, along with his on-ice accomplishments, Guy Gadowsky was introduced as the program’s first men’s hockey coach on Monday afternoon. His press conference was held at Beaver Stadium, the home to legendary coach Joe Paterno, whom Gadowsky referenced many times.
Athletic Director Tim Curley said what set Gadowsky apart was his “passion for the student-athlete” and how that translates to the respect he has gained from his players at past stops at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and Princeton.
“Academics is a huge goal of what we [will] do. There will be a 100% graduation rate here… Aside from players signing professional contracts, we’re going to follow the values that Coach Paterno started here,” Gadowsky said when asked about building a program here at Penn State.
Gadowsky has brought programs that were in the cellar at the beginning of his two tenures as a head coach and took them to national prominence. Within three years at Alaska-Fairbanks, Gadwosky took a team that had won 15 combined games in his first two seasons and led them to 22 wins in their third season, good enough to be ranked #11 in Division I that year. He steadily improved the Princeton program once he arrived there in 2004 and took them to the NCAAs twice during his tenure, earning national coach of the year honors from Inside College Hockey during the 2007-2008 campaign.
In his seven years at Princeton, Gadowsky went 105-109-15.
When asked how he would use his experience rebuilding programs in building the Penn State program from scratch, he quickly refuted that opinion, saying that the values and tradition of winning are around found in Happy Valley and that Penn State will be a great sell when he begins recruiting players locally, across the nation and even from Canada and Europe.
According to Joe Battista, Associate Director of Athletics for Ice Arena and Hockey Development, Gadowsky was the number-one choice out of the three finalists his search committee came to a decision on. The other finalists were Wisconsin women’s hockey coach Mark Johnson and University of Minnesota-Duluth men’s coach Scott Sandelin who led his team to a national championship this year. When Gadowsky met with benefactor Terry Pegula, who donated $88 million to start the Division I program at Penn State back in September, at the Buffalo Sabres-Philadelphia Flyers playoff game this past Friday night, Pegula said that “this is our guy” immediately.
After the press conference, Gadowsky added that his hockey philosophy is modeled the team he watched playing in Edmonton growing up in the 1980s. Watching greats Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier instilled the fast-style type of play in him.
“We’re going to score goals,” Gadowsky said. “We’re gonna play fast. We might get caught in odd-man rushes every once in awhile and give up a few goals, but we’re going to try and score more of them.”
He will have a chance to begin to implement that philosophy beginning next year when he coaches the Icers club team for the season.
Gadowsky’s childlike excitement about being given the opportunity to lead this team into Division I competition during the press conference was very apparent. Aside from his team’s logistics, his thoughts on expanding youth hockey in the area and being a part in its development were very refreshing. It seems as though Penn State Hockey is in good hands for years to come.