Danton Cole, who most recently served as the head coach at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, was today named a head coach at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. As one of two head coaches at the NTDP, Cole will guide the U.S. National Under-17 Team during the upcoming 2010-11 season.
“We’re excited to bring someone with Danton’s qualifications to our National Team Development Program,” said Jim Johannson, USA Hockey assistant executive director of hockey operations. “He will be a great contributor in the overall development of our elite American players.”
“Danton has a wealth of experience at the professional, collegiate and international levels,” said Scott Monaghan, director of operations for the NTDP. “He’ll be a great asset in preparing our players to compete on all stages.”
Last summer, Cole served as the assistant coach for the U.S. Under-18 Select Team at the 2009 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament in Slovakia. In addition, his international résumé goes beyond coaching, as he played for Team USA at three International Ice Hockey Federation World Men’s Championships (1990-91, 1994).
Cole spent the past three seasons as the head coach and associate athletic director at UAH, where he guided the Chargers to their second-ever College Hockey America championship in 2010, as well as the second NCAA Division I tournament berth in program history.
Cole also brings experience coaching at the professional level, having previously served as the head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, from 2002-05. During that span, he became the winningest coach in team history with a 116-72-17-3 record, while guiding the Griffins to the Calder Cup Playoffs in both 2002-03 and 2003-04.
Cole then spent part of 2004-05 and all of the 2005-06 season as the head coach of the United Hockey League’s Motor City Mechanics, before joining the college realm as an assistant coach at Bowling Green State University in 2006-07.
The Pontiac native’s coaching career began in the 1999-2000 season when he was named an assistant coach for Grand Rapids, then of the International Hockey League. He spent one more season with the Griffins before earning his first job as a head coach with the Muskegon Fury of the United Hockey League in 2001.
During the 2001-02 season, he guided the Fury to a 48-22-0 record and the Colonial Cup Championship.
As a player, Cole appeared in 318 games in the National Hockey League from 1989-96, including stints with the Winnipeg Jets, Tampa Bay Lightning, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders and Chicago Blackhawks. Cole was part of the Devils squad that earned its first Stanley Cup in 1995.
Prior to embarking on his pro career, Cole was a four-year letter winner at Michigan State University from 1985-89. While a Spartan, Cole appeared in 180 games and compiled 163 points (69-94). He was part of the Ron Mason-led Michigan State squad that captured the 1986 NCAA National Championship. In 1989, he received the Big Ten Medal of Honor as MSU’s top student-athlete in both scholarship and achievement.
Photo by Doug Eagan/UAH