There will be a new head coach at Michigan State for the 2022-23 season after Danton Cole was relieved of his duties on Tuesday.
Cole leaves Michigan State after five seasons on the Spartan bench, posting a mark of 58-101-12.
“Over the last month, I spent time evaluating where we currently stand as a hockey program, (and) it’s become clear to me that it’s in the best interests of the program to make a change in leadership and begin a new era of Spartan hockey,” Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller said in a statement. “Danton Cole is a Spartan alum who put his heart into this job, and we appreciate his efforts and dedication.
“I believe a fresh start is what the program needs most. We have a proud championship history and a passionate alumni group. With a renovated Munn Ice Arena opening this fall and a renewed commitment to the success of the program, great things are on the horizon for Spartan hockey.”
Cole took over in 2017-18, inheriting a team which won just seven games in 2016-17. In his first season, MSU posted a 12-22-2 record (6-16-2-1 Big Ten). The following season, MSU was 12-19-5 (8-12-4-2) as six Spartans earned all-Big Ten honors, including Taro Hirose being named Big Ten player of the year. In 2019-20, MSU posted Cole-era highs in both overall victories (15) and Big Ten wins (11), posting a 15-19-2 overall mark and a 11-11-2 conference record to finish sixth.
Playing a mostly Big Ten schedule during the COVID-impacted 2020-21 campaign, MSU finished with a 7-18-2 record (5-16-1 Big Ten). This past season, MSU opened with an 11-8-1 record before losing the next 13 contests and 15 of the final 16 games to close the season. The Spartans finished with a 12-23-1 record (6-18-0-1 Big Ten).
In his five seasons, Spartans players have collected 15 all-Big Ten honors and 72 academic all-Big Ten accolades.
Prior to his arrival at MSU, Cole served as coach for the U.S. National Team Development Program for seven years. His college coaching career also includes a stint as head coach at Alabama Huntsville where he went 23-59-12 in three seasons. He led UAH to the College Hockey America tournament title in his third season with the school in 2009-10, earning the program’s second-ever berth in the NCAA tournament, before moving on to USA Hockey in 2010.
A Michigan State alum, Cole’s playing career at MSU began in 1985-86. In his four years at Michigan State, the Spartans went 131-44-8 (.738), winning an NCAA national championship (1986), making three NCAA Frozen Four appearances (1986, 1987, 1989), capturing two CCHA regular-season titles (1986, 1989) and two CCHA tournament championships (1987, 1989). Cole ended his Michigan State career with 69 goals and 94 assists for 163 points. He shares the MSU career games played record of 180 contests.