Eaves returns to Division III roots as St. Olaf head coach

More news about: St. Olaf

Courtesy of Mike Ludwig, St. Olaf College

NORTHFIELD, Minn. - Mike Eaves, who spent the last 14 seasons leading Division I Wisconsin, was named head men's hockey coach at St. Olaf on Friday. 

Eaves led Wisconsin to seven NCAA appearances, including a national title in 2006 and a runner-up finish in 2010, while compiling a 267-225-76 record in Madison. His teams won at least 20 games eight times and won back-to-back postseason league championships in 2012-13 (WCHA) and 2013-14 (Big Ten). 

"Mike is a proven winner at every level he has coached and embodies everything our department and college stand for," St. Olaf athletic director Ryan Bowles said. "He is committed to our mission of preparing our student-athletes for life after college. The future is bright for Ole men's hockey and we are excited to welcome Mike and his wife Beth to the Ole family."

"It's a unique situation to do something special," said Eaves, who began his collegiate coaching career at Division III UW-Eau Claire in 1986. "St. Olaf is truly committed to academics, it's in a great college town, and the campus community is very supportive."

St. Olaf, which has played in the aging Northfield Ice Arena for decades, will unveil plans and a campaign for an on-campus ice arena later this summer as Eaves begins his tenure.  "I'm excited for the opportunity and the future of this program," he said. 

Eaves moved on to Division I St. Cloud State in 1987 before having stops with the Philadelphia Flyers, Hershey (AHL), SM-Liiga (Finland), Shattuck-St. Mary's, and the Pittsburgh Penguins before his time at Wisconsin. He was tabbed to serve as hockey director and head coach of the US National Team from 2000 to 2002 and to coach the US National Junior Team, which won the 2004 World title.

A two-time All-America selection as a player at Wisconsin, Eaves played on an NCAA championship team in 1977 and remains the Badgers' all-time leading scorer with 267 points. He was a member of the 1976 and 1978 US National Team before playing seven years in the NHL with stints with Minnesota and Calgary. Eaves retired in 1986 after collecting 90 career goals in 370 NHL games. 

Eaves will start at St. Olaf on June 13.