College hockey: Brett Larson named head coach at St. Cloud State
St. Cloud State University Director of Athletics Heather Weems has announced the appointment of Brett Larson as the new head coach of the Huskies Men's Hockey program.
Larson joins the staff at St. Cloud State with a decorated college hockey coaching resume that includes helping lead NCHC rival Minnesota Duluth to one of its most successful runs in the history of that program - including two NCAA championships.
"Brett is a tremendously talented coach and has played a significant role in the success of the University of Minnesota Duluth's men's hockey program," said Heather Weems, St. Cloud State Director of Athletics.
"As an assistant coach during both of UMD's National Championships, and with a stop at Ohio State University during their program's elevation, Coach Larson has proven himself a top recruiter and helped to develop multiple players during their collegiate careers and as they advance to the next level of play.
"Throughout our search, Brett's name continually came up as a must-contact and he is well-respected across the hockey community. I am excited to welcome Brett and his family to St. Cloud State University and the St. Cloud community and look forward to his leadership as we continue the strong Huskies hockey tradition established by our impressive honor roll of coaches and alumni and seek our first national title.
Larson is the third coach at St.Cloud State in the history of the University's NCAA Division I men's hockey program, and SCSU's 17th head coach since the program started intercollegiate play in 1931-32.
"I am thrilled to welcome Coach Larson to the St. Cloud State community and look forward to seeing men's Huskies Hockey continue its tradition of excellence under his leadership," said Interim President Ashish Vaidya. "This is yet another reason to be excited as the University enters its sesquicentennial year of celebration in the fall."
Larson will take over a program at St. Cloud State University that was led by Coach Bob Motzko for 13 seasons. The Huskies have positioned themselves among the best NCAA Division I programs in the nation and in 2017-18, SCSU won the National Collegiate Hockey Conference regular season championships for the second time since 2014.
SCSU was ranked for nine weeks as the nation's number one team and finished the 2017-18 campaign with a 25-9-6 overall record and a 16-4-4 NCHC record.
"I want to thank the St. Cloud State administration and hiring committee for this great opportunity," Larson said. "I also want to thank Coach Bob Motzko and his staff here at St. Cloud State. Because of their hard work and dedication this is one of the best coaching opportunities in college hockey.
"I am honored to be taking over a program that is already filled with great student-athletes who are respected on the ice, in the community and in the classroom. I am thrilled to become the next head coach at such a well-regarded institution and with one of the top programs in college hockey."
Larson most recently served as an assistant coach at his alma mater Minnesota Duluth from 2015 to 2018. He also was an assistant with the Bulldogs from 2008-11 and helped Minnesota Duluth win an NCAA Division I national title in 2011 and once again in 2018. The Bulldogs made five NCAA tournament appearances during Larson's tenure, finished as the NCAA runner-up in 2017, won the NCHC playoff title in 2017 and the WCHA playoff championship in 2009.
At UMD, Larson coached and/or recruited one Hobey Baker Award winner, five All-Americans, eight future NHLers and one U.S. Olympian.
In addition to his time at UMD, Larson served as head coach and general manager with the USHL's Sioux City Musketeers from 2011-13. He spent two seasons in Sioux City and led that team to the USHL playoffs in 2011-12.
Larson, who served as the head coach for gold medal-winning Team USA at the 2012 World Junior A Challenge, returned to the collegiate ranks in 2013 when he joined the staff at Ohio State as an associate head coach. Many of the players Larson coached and recruited at Ohio State helped the Buckeyes advances to the Frozen Four in 2018.
A Duluth native and 1991 Denfeld High School graduate, Larson played college hockey as a defenseman at UMD for four seasons (1991-95). He scored 24 goals and 43 assists in 133 career games. He captained the Bulldogs during his senior year in 1994-95 and was a three-time WCHA All-Academic team award recipient. He also landed the team's Community Service Award and was named UMD's Most Improved Player as a junior.
An 11th round pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1990 National Hockey League draft, Larson went on to play 12 years in the professional ranks, including two (1990-2001) as a player-coach with the San Diego Gulls of the now-defunct West Coast Hockey League.
He also played with the Colonial Hockey League's Madison Monsters, the East Coast Hockey League's Louisville Riverfrogs, the International Hockey League's Utah Grizzlies, Las Vegas Thunder and Long Beach Ice Dogs in addition to spending another five years in Denmark, Germany and England. He wrapped up his playing days in 2006-07 as a player/assistant coach for the Florida Seals of the Southern Professional Hockey League. During the spring of 2008, Larson coached Team RBK (AAA selects) in the Twin Cities metro area.
Larson, who received his Bachelor's degree in criminology from UMD in 2004. He and his wife, Kelly, have two children (Lane and Calla).
The Huskies will open play in 2018-19 with an exhibition game at home against Mount Royal on Oct. 7, 2018, at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
THE LARSON FILE:
2015-Present: Assistant Coach Men's Hockey at Minnesota Duluth
2013-15: Associate Head Coach at Ohio State University
2011-13: Head Coach and General Manager - Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)
2012: Head Coach for Team USA at World Junior A Challenge
2008-11: Assistant Hockey Coach at Minnesota Duluth
Professional Playing Experience:
1995-2007: Pro Hockey Player with various teams and leagues in the U.S. and Europe.
1999-2000: Player/Assistant Coach with the San Diego Gulls
2006-07: Player/Assistant Coach with the Florida Seals
1990 NHL draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings
Minnesota Duluth - Received BA in criminology with a minor in coaching in 2004
3X All-WCHA Academic Team (1992-95)
Most Improved Player at UMD (1994)
Team Captain at UMD (1995)
UMD Community Service Award (1995)
Team Assistant Captain with the Louisville River Frogs (1996)
Team Captain with the San Diego Gulls (1998)
Team Captain with the Odense Bulldogs in Denmark (2004)
Team Captain with Bad Nauheim Red Devils in Germany (2005)
2009 WCHA Playoff Champion at UMD
2011 NCAA Northeadst Regional Champion at UMD
2011 NCAA Champion at UMD
2012 Gold Medal World Junior A Challenge
2014 Big 10 Runner-up at Ohio State
2016 North Star Cup Champion at UMD
2017 NCHC Playoff Champion at UMD
2017 NCAA Midwest Regional Champion at UMD
2017 NCAA Runner-Up at UMD
2018 NCAA West Regional Champion at UMD
2018 NCAA Champion at UMD
Board Member for the Northern Lights Foundation