Denfeld News

Aug. 15, 2015
Duluth News Tribune

Larson rejoining UMD men's hockey program as assistant coach

The last time Brett Larson stood on the Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey bench, the Bulldogs won the 2011 NCAA Division I championship.

Now he’s back for more.

The UMD alum was rehired as an assistant coach Friday.

Larson spent three seasons (2008-11) at UMD before departing for the United States Hockey League and then the past two seasons serving as Ohio State associate head coach under former UMD colleague Steve Rohlik.

He replaces Derek Plante, who stepped down in June for personal reasons following a five-year run at UMD.

"I could not be more thrilled to be coming home to work at my alma mater," Larson said in a news release. He could not be reached by cell phone Friday. "I loved my time playing and coaching at UMD and cannot wait to once again be part of the Bulldog family."

The Duluth native and 1991 Denfeld High School graduate patrolled the Bulldogs blue line for four seasons, totaling 24 goals and 43 assists for 67 points in 133 games. He captained the Bulldogs during his senior year in 1994-95. As a sophomore, Larson and the Bulldogs captured the WCHA regular-season title and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA playoffs.

He spent 12 years playing in the professional ranks before turning to the coaching profession.

Larson was hired on Scott Sandelin’s staff in 2008, and the Bulldogs had an amazing run. They were 70-40-15 during those three seasons, qualified for the WCHA Final Five tournament three times and the NCAA tournament twice before winning their first crown at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center.

Larson also coached and/or recruited one Hobey Baker Award Memorial Award winner, four All-Americans, eight future NHLers and one 2014 U.S. Olympian. In May 2011, Larson left UMD to take over the head coaching and general manager duties with the USHL's Sioux City Musketeers. He spent two seasons in Sioux City, Iowa, tutoring a pair of current Bulldogs in junior center Jared Thomas and junior defenseman Dan Molenaar.

Larson also served as head coach for the gold medal-winning Team USA at the 2012 World Junior A Challenge before joining Rohlik in Columbus, Ohio. The Buckeyes were 32-33-8 the past two seasons.

"I am extremely excited to welcome Brett back to our staff," Sandelin said in a release. "His coaching strengths and recruiting experience will be a great addition to our program."

Larson, who received a bachelor's degree in criminology from UMD in 2004, turns 43 on Thursday ― one day before his first official day with the Bulldogs. He and his wife, Kelly, have one son (Lane) and one daughter (Calla).

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