Penn State Hockey Assistant Coaches Keith Fisher, Matt Lindsay Leave Their Marks On Program
Penn State men’s hockey assistant coaches Keith Fisher and Matt Lindsay may not get the attention that head coach Guy Gadowsky gets, but they’re just as important as anyone around the program.
Like Gadowsky, Fisher and Lindsay bought into the dream of Penn State hockey before the team even competed as a Division I program. The duo defected from Princeton along with Gadowsky to join Penn State ahead of the 2011-12 season, helping the club-level Penn State Icers earn a 29-4-1 record in its final season before the university made the switch to Division I play.
The assistant coaching duo does essentially everything Gadowsky does behind the bench during games and on the ice at practices, but their work away from Pegula Ice Arena extends far beyond wins and losses.
“They’re everything to me,” Gadowsky said. “They have the added responsibility of being on the road a lot more. Basically, they are the ones in charge of making sure that we have the correct fit of [recruits] coming in.”
The assistant coaches do a lot of the leg work in the recruiting process that’s built Penn State into a threat in collegiate hockey.
“They do a lot of research and homework on [recruits] in terms of how good they are, how they play, and if they are a good fit for our university and program,” Gadowsky said. “They are absolutely vital to the success of this program. I feel that it’s pretty much a fact that they are two of the very best in the business as coaches, as recruiters, and as people and representatives [of Penn State].”
Alternate captain Chase Berger notes the pair does a lot of behind-the-scenes work to keep the team on track.
“I think they’re huge,” Berger said. “Obviously overlooked a little bit, but I think Lindsay’s so smart. He knows the game so well; tactically, he’s great. Fisher is so good with the guys and keeps guys loose. They’re so good at their job. Maybe they’re overlooked because they’re so good and helping us so much when no one else is looking.”
Sophomore wing Brandon Biro appreciates how good Fisher and Lindsay are at communicating with the players on and off the ice.
“They give us speeches before games; they’re always around talking to you and making sure you’re doing alright, talking about your classes,” Biro said. “Just seeing how you’re doing is the biggest thing that they do.”
Sophomore defenseman Kris Myllari was recruited to Penn State by Fisher and Lindsay, and his relationship with the coaches has continued to develop as he’s grown as a player.
“They’ve been extremely important,” Myllari said. “They’re the ones that brought me here in the first place, and they really help you develop your game and become better. They’re really good for helping to manage stuff too; when you make a mistake on the ice they give you a little confidence boost, make sure you don’t get too down or too high, and they’ve been really instrumental in keeping this team even-keeled throughout my time here.”
Fisher and Lindsay will be behind the bench this weekend when the No. 14 Nittany Lions take on No. 18 Wisconsin at the Kohl Center in Wisconsin. Game one of the series gets started at 9 p.m. Friday and will be broadcast on BTN.