St. Cloud, MN – It’s inherent in the profession of collegiate coaching that opportunities arise and tough decisions have to be made. For SCSU women’s hockey head coach Eric Rud, the time was right to move back over to the men’s side of things. It was announced by the Miami RedHawks of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference on Monday, May 13 that Rud will be joining newly installed head coach Chris Bergeron as an Associate Head Coach for the RedHawks. The transition all began on March 19th when Miami announced they would be releasing 20 year head coach Rico Blasi. This opened the door for Miami Alumnus Chris Bergeron who was named head coach 18 days later. As is typically the case, a new head coach also means new assistants leading to the addition of Rud to the newly installed staff.
“The more people I spoke to about Eric throughout this process, it became evident that he was the perfect fit for our staff.” said Bergeron. “He is a veteran coach who has both head and assistant coaching experience. He has a track record of being a tireless recruiter of great hockey players and even better people. We are extremely excited to have him as part of our program.”
The 46 year-old Rud, an Alumnus of Colorado College, had several stints at St. Cloud State starting with the 2006 season joining the coaching staff of Bob Motzko. This lasted until 2010 when he was hired by the Green Bay Gamblers as it’s head coach compiling a highly successful season going 41-15-0 and reaching the league finals. Following the season, he was hired by his alma mater, Colorado College, as an assistant coach where he remained through the 2013-14 season before being hired as head coach for SCSU women’s hockey.
The hiring of Bergeron is with the intent to resuscitate a RedHawks program that has not not had a winning conference or overall record since the 2014-15 season. Since finishing second in the conference in 2014-15, the RedHawks have gone 25-60-13 in conference and 47-81-19 overall and have advanced to the NCAA tourney just once in the past five years. It hasn’t been easy for the RedHawks since joining the NCHC. The glory years of 8 straight NCAA appearances and 2 consecutive years in the Frozen Four in 2009 and 2010 are a thing of the past when they were members of the Central Collegiate Hockey Conference. Bergeron was the architect in reviving a Bowling Green program that was on the verge of extinction in 2009 compiling a 171-154-44 record and leading the Falcons, who had won the NCAA Championship in 1984, to it’s first NCAA appearance this past season since 1989-90.
“As we are right now, the priority is to solidify our staff. Bergeron said. “Then honestly, we start to work on the type of culture that I would like to have and we build a foundation off of that.”
Along with the hiring of Rud, the RedHawks also announced the hiring of Barry Schutte as Associate Head Coach and Jimmy Spratt as Director of Operations.
The hiring of Rud, Schutte and Spratt gets them one step closer in that direction.
The departure of Rud leaves a vacancy for the head women’s hockey coaching position at St. Cloud State University. Athletic Director Heather Weems told me “the position posted Friday, May 10th, so we are moving forward with a search with the goal of having a person named early to mid-June.”