ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Sertich steps down after 18 years

It would not be technically accurate to call it a dismissal or a resignation, but Mike Sertich's long and proud tenure as UMD hockey coach will end with the end of this season.

It would not be technically accurate to call it a dismissal or a resignation, but Mike Sertich's long and proud tenure as UMD hockey coach will end with the end of this season.
Sertich and UMD athletic director Bob Corran came to, as they say, an "understanding" on Monday that Sertich's 18-year position would end with this season, and it was so announced at a Tuesday afternoon press conference at UMD's Hall of Fame room.
The Bulldogs are struggling through a stretch where they've lost seven of their last eight games, and after losing 10-0 and 4-1 at North Dakota last weekend, Corran, who attended the 4-1 Saturday game, said he talked to Sertich after the game. "I've never seen Mike quite so down," Corran said.
"Mike and I had a couple of meetings over the last couple of weeks," Corran added. "When we met yesterday (Monday), we discussed things, and when that meeting was over, Mike had decided that this was the right thing for him to do, and this was the right time to do it. He's resigning as hockey coach and will accept an administrative role in the department.
"I think he's come to some peace with this thing. Right now, we want to be as helpful as we can for him. We've talked about some things; we want to take advantage of Mike's skills and background and interests."
Sertich, who played high school hockey at Virginia and at UMD, began coaching as Gus Hendrickson's assistant at Grand Rapids High School. When Hendrickson was hired at UMD, Sertich came with him and assisted him for seven years before Hendrickson was fired.
Sertich, 52, originally was hired on a one-year interim basis, and has a 347-322-44 record over his 18 seasons. The Bulldogs currently are in eighth place with an 8-14 WCHA record and an overall 12-16 mark, which is a marked improvement in the rebuilding phase over last season's 7-27-4 record.
"We had a long, quiet trip back from Grand Forks Saturday night," said Sertich, who said he is not sure yet what position will be available for him. "Bob called me in Monday morning, and we discussed it."
Sertich started in the 1982-83 season and was named coach of the year after the Bulldogs finished fourth in the WCHA. They won their first WCHA titles the next two seasons, and Sertich became the only coach ever to win three straight coach-of-the-year honors. The Bulldogs also won the championship in the 1992-93 season, but they have struggled in an expanding WCHA since then, finishing seventh twice, fourth, then sixth, fifth and ninth.
There may have been some feelings of the inevitability of this move felt by Sertich this season, his second in a three-year contract. Rumors that he would be "bought out" or fired have circulated, even by some staff members since last summer.
In discussing those, Sertich quoted Bob Dylan. "I told my brother, you don't need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows," he said.
Corran said he was concerned about Sertich's health, including recurring back problems that may require surgery. He added that he was not referring to the removal of darts and arrows from critics, which was something that bothered Sertich deeply in recent years.
Sertich was determined to lead the Bulldogs back to contention, and they were 11-11 until the current plunge, which started by being swept at the DECC by St. Cloud State and Minnesota on back-to-back weekends.
Sertich's assistants, Jim Knapp and Glenn Kulyk, have both been with him for his entire coaching tenure, and their tour of duty may end with Sertich. "The staff will be the prerogative of whoever we hire as coach," said Corran, who added that he has no candidates in mind.

What To Read Next
The system crashed earlier this month, grounding flights across the U.S.