After a lengthy search with twists and turns, the University of Alaska Anchorage finally has its man to coach the hockey program: Matt Curley.

UAA's interim athletics director, Tim McDiffett, told reporters Saturday afternoon that Curley stood out during the team's search for new leadership.

"It became clear after talking with Matt and his mentors that he possesses a great hockey mind and was focused on preparing himself to be a great Division I head hockey coach," McDiffett said.

 
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Curley thanked UAA leadership, as well as McDiffett, for offering him a "tremendous opportunity" Saturday.

"These don't come along often -- I'm tremendously excited and honored to be the next head coach here," Curley said.

The Seawolves went overseas to bring in Curley, who's been coaching Red Bull Salzburg U20, a first-division junior team in Austria.

But his roots are American. Born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Curley played collegiately as a defenseman for Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. Following his playing career he served as an assistant coach in junior hockey and then later at Bentley University. Curley joined Salzburg's program in Austria, his first as a head coach, in 2016.

The process to settle on 35-year-old Curley -- the fourth candidate to be offered UAA's head-coach position -- has been a long and difficult one.

Earlier this month, the arduous task began with Denver assistant coach David Carle, a former Anchorage resident, who turned it down. Carle, 28, was the front-runner but elected to return to Denver and a program two seasons removed from a national title. University of Massachusetts-Lowell assistant Cam Ellsworth and Providence assistant Kris Mayotte also turned the job down.

Curley comes to Anchorage with a big challenge: attempting to rejuvenate a program which won only four games all of last season. In February, the school parted ways with Matt Thomas after five seasons.

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