Buckeyes Tab Steve Rohlik as New Men’s Hockey Coach
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Steve Rohlik can wake up tomorrow without an interim tag in front of his name.
A native of St. Paul, Minn. and a graduate of Wisconsin University, Rohlik was named the ninth head coach in Ohio State men's hockey history on Wednesday. He had been tabbed as the interim coach after athletic director Gene Smith decided to part ways with Mark Osiecki on April 16, but now he will handle the big job in Columbus.
“We are pleased Steve has accepted our head coaching position,” Gene Smith said in a statement.
“He has made positive impressions within the athletics department, in the hockey community and with the men’s hockey student-athletes. He has a well thought-out plan for how to lead our hockey program into the future that is in line with the expectations we have for each of our head coaches.”
Rohlik joined the Ohio State staff in 2010 after 10 seasons as an assistant at Minnesota Duluth. He helped that squad advance to a pair of NCAA tournaments, including a Frozen Four appearance in 2004. They won the WCHA playoff title in 2009, and he was part of the staff that put together the roster of the 2010 NCAA Championship squad at Minnesota Duluth.
Rohlik (rah-lick) served the associate head coach for the Ohio State program under Osiecki the last three seasons and has 16 years experience as a Division I coach. During his career, he has recruited and/or coached two Hobey Baker Award winners, 12 All-Americans and 18 players who have reached the NHL.
“Steve has been an integral part of the hockey program and its recent success on the ice, in the community and in the classroom,” said Chris Schneider, a senior associate athletics director for sport administration who oversees the men’s hockey program.
“He has earned the respect of those in and around the program. We are excited to have him directing the squad as we begin play in the Big Ten.”
Last season was the final year of CCHA play for the Buckeyes, who will join the rest of their Big Ten brethren on the ice this fall. They are coming off a season in which they advanced to the league semifinals and saw 18 players named Ohio State Scholar-Athletes.
The Buckeyes had two All-CCHA players and Brady Hjelle was the squad's first AHCA First Team All-American since 1998, but Osiecki was relieved of his duties as head coach over a difference in opinion over the future of the program.
It’s a program that is now in the hands of Rohlik, who inherits a team that went 46-50-16 in three seasons under his former boss.
“I am honored and humbled by this opportunity to become the next coach at Ohio State,” Rohlik said Wednesday.
“I want to thank Gene Smith, Chris Schneider and the administration for giving me this chance. I look forward to leading this program into the Big Ten.”
Rohlik is a 1990 graduate of Wisconsin, where he was a four-year letterwinner for the Badgers. He wore the captain's C in both 1989 and 1990 and was a senior on the squad that won the NCAA title, as well as the WCHA regular-season and tournament crowns.
He was named the WCHA Tournament MVP that season and Rohlik scored 34 goals and added 47 assists in 166 games for Wisconsin. He was an eighth-round selection by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft (No. 151 overall), but ended up back in Madison as an assistant at Wisconsin in 1991.
He spent one season as an assistant coach at Stillwater High School (1991-92) before returning as the head coach at Hill-Murray High School, his alma mater, from 1993-97. Rohlik coached three seasons at Nebraska-Omaha, joining the program for its inaugural season in 1997-98.
In the team's first year as a member of the CCHA (its third year as a Division I team), the squad advanced to the 2000 CCHA Championship final.
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