EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State has hired Danton Cole to try to turn around its struggling hockey program.
Cole takes over as the Spartans' coach after Tom Anastos stepped down last month. Michigan State went 7-24-4 this past season and is now hoping one of its former players can improve the team's fortunes.
The 50-year-old Cole worked previously with USA Hockey's national team development program. He played at Michigan State when the Spartans won the national title in 1986 and made additional Frozen Four appearances in 1987 and 1989.
The team announced the hiring Tuesday.
"This is a position to which I've always aspired. I wasn't sure the timing would ever work out, but I'm very fortunate," Cole said. "My mom and dad both went to Michigan State — I didn't grow up around MSU, I grew up at MSU. It has been an enormous part of my life."
Cole guided Team USA to the gold medal in 2012 and 2014 at the IIHF Under-18 world championship. He also played 318 games in the NHL over six seasons with Winnipeg, Tampa Bay, New Jersey, the New York Islanders and Chicago. He was with the Devils in 1995, when they won the Stanley Cup.
"Danton Cole has a wealth of experience throughout the game as both a player and a coach, and an understanding of what it takes to win championships at every level," Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said.
The Associated Press