Largen stays home, will guide UAF hockey
The University of Alaska Fairbanks is keeping it in the family, keeping the family home and doing it with a youth movement.
On Monday, the school announced the hiring of the current assistant coach and Fairbanks native, Erik Largen, as its new head hockey coach.
At 31, the former UAF netminder becomes the youngest bench boss in Division I. There are currently 60 teams.
"Wouldn't matter if I were 60 or 31. The pressures are still the same like I've got to make sure that we're taking care of our players, that we're pushing them to the highest standards. There's a lot entrusted into me. So 31, 61, it doesn't really matter to me,” said Largen.
His appointment comes following a lengthy search which included at least one candidate rejecting the job. In early April the school interviewed and offered the position to former Miami (Ohio) University assistant Brent Brekke but he turned it down.
At the press conference on campus Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Keith Champagne said despite the bumpy search process Largen is their guy.
“Performance is best measured in the long run and if I look at who’s sitting next to me I fundamentally believe it’s the right decision for this community, this institution and for everybody who wants to come to the University of Alaska Fairbanks to play hockey here," Champagne said.
Largen takes over for Lance West who spent 10 years as an assistant at UAF. West guided the Nanooks this past season on an interim basis following Dallas Ferguson's departure to Calgary of the Western Hockey League.
He returned to the program two years ago where he began as a player from 2006-2008 after a head coaching stint at Division III Marian University in Wisconsin. Additionally, he spent time in junior hockey for two years with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs.
His hiring bookends the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) which went young this spring with its new coach. The Seawolves hired 35-year-old Matt Curley.
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