Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Osiecki Takes Over at Ohio State

So Ohio State went the outside route in hiring Wisconsin assistant Mark Osiecki to coach the Buckeyes. Good move for OSU, Big Ten or otherwise - Osiecki is a proven coach and recruiter, and they needed a shakeup at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus.

I was in the tail end of my first season as Michigan State's SID when John Markell took over the Ohio State program and then led it to new heights in his 14-year tenure. That elevation included six NCAA Tournament invitations, topped by an NCAA Frozen Four appearance in Boston in 1998. Perhaps things simply stagnated for both Markell and the Buckeyes after so long together, but he should be thanked for his contributions while this new chapter in program history unfolds. Markell's tenure also followed a 20-year stretch by Jerry Welsh, so Osiecki becomes just the third head coach behind the Buckeye bench since 1975.

A member of Wisconsin's 1990 NCAA Championship team who helped the Badgers get back to the national title game this spring, Osiecki spent seven successful seasons as the coach and general manager of the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers before returning to his alma mater. Prior to his juniors stint, he also helped North Dakota claim a national crown in 1996-97.

Now he's taking the reins of a program that seemingly has the resources, along with potential that hasn't always been realized. Don’t expect the Buckeyes to suddenly sell out all 17,500 seats at Value City Arena on a regular basis, but hopefully Osiecki can get OSU to compete regularly for the CCHA title and an annual NCAA berth.

Now if he could just do something about the fact that the Buckeyes are forced to play at the old OSU Ice Rink when they host the first round of the CCHA playoffs …

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