Gophers’ Potulny to be head coach at Northern Michigan

Minnesota’s assistant coach agreed to a five-year heading coaching deal this morning.

by Drew Cove

Minnesota has another departure this offseason – this time it comes from behind the bench.

The Gophers’ assistant coach and former captain, Grant Potulny, left Minnesota to become the head coach at Northern Michigan University Tuesday.

“My family and I are very excited to be joining the Northern Michigan community,” Potulny said in a statement. “The hockey team has been a great source of pride for alumni, fans and students for the past 41 years. This is a wonderful opportunity, and I look forward to adding to the tradition and success of Wildcat hockey.”

Former Northern Michigan coach Walt Kyle was fired earlier in the spring, and Potulny’s contract runs for five years.

Northern Michigan’s team has struggled recently with lost recruits, though Minnesota head coach Don Lucia has praised Potulny’s recruiting prowess in the past.

Potulny leaves Minnesota after eight seasons as a part of the coaching staff, making it to six consecutive conference titles.

The native of Grand Forks, North Dakota, worked primarily with forwards and the power play, leading one of the most lethal offenses in the country.

Potulny also played with the Gophers as the team’s first three-year captain since 1947, and accrued 116 points in 146 games,, and won two consecutive national titles in 2002 and 2003.

On top of his coaching success at Minnesota, he was a part of the coaching staff with the United States National Team at the 2017 World Junior Championships, which ended up skating to a gold medal. He also was a part of the staff when the United States won in the 2013 tournament as well.

“Grant is very deserving of the opportunity to be the next head coach at Northern Michigan University,” said head coach Don Lucia in a statement. “He’s had a tremendous career at the ‘U’ as a player and as a coach, and it’s been enjoyable to watch him grow. There’s no question in my mind that he’s ready to be a head coach. Grant’s a great family man, and he and his family will be a tremendous asset in their move to Marquette.”