Montana State (D2) hockey drops series to country’s top te...
Date: Dec 14, 2018
From the Utah Statesman
By Jason Walker
The USU hockey team will have to fill a large void with the departure of longtime coach Jon Eccles.
The news that Eccles would step down was announced on the team’s Facebook page April 27. Eccles was an assistant coach for the Aggies from 2003-2009 before taking over as head coach halfway through the 2009 season until the end of the 2017-18 season.
The 15-year coach said it was “a good time” for him to step down, citing more time to spend with his family and in his work. Eccles was not paid for his services as a coach and currently works full-time as a real estate agent.
“I always believe things happen for a reason. I don’t know what it is, I feel good with it,” Eccles said. “I’m not saying I would never come back. I’d love the opportunity to come back, but we’re going to see how things go.”
During Eccles’ tenure as head coach, Utah State had an overall record of 264-87-16 with six seasons of 25-plus wins. Eccles led the team to the postseason in all but one of his 10 seasons, including seven bids to the national tournament, making it to the semi-finals in 2012-13. In the postseason, Eccles had a record of 14-16-1.
In the team’s most recent season, it finished second in the ACHA D2 West region and went 1-2 in group play at the national tournament in Columbus, with the one win coming against Penn State, which finished the regular season as the No. 1 overall team in D2.
Eccles’ individual accolades include winning ACHA West Coach of the Year three times (2010-11, 2014-15 and 2017-18), and being selected as an assistant coach with the ACHA D2 Select Team in 2013 and 2017 and traveling with said team in Europe.
In 2011, Eccles was the runner-up for Utah State Coach of the year (to Stew Morrill) and was the only club coach in the running.
Along with coaching the team to success, Eccles also influenced the growth of hockey out west, which has generally been a bit of a step behind the east. He created the Beehive Showcase which, according to USU hockey, is the longest running showcase in the West. Eccles was also intregul in the creation of the Mountain West Collegiate Hockey League conference back in 2014.
USU hockey has not announced a new head coach, but have already begun the search and have multiple candidates.
Moving forward, Eccles said he still plans to have a role in the ACHA West Region. Eccles has served as the Regional Coordinator for the West Region for the last five years.
(Originally published at http://usustatesman.com/jon-eccles-stepping-down-as-hockey-head-coach/)