By Jess Myers
ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Eric Rud was in a boat on Lake Winnibigoshish in northern Minnesota, reeling in walleyes as much of the state celebrated the opening of the 2019 fishing season Saturday, May 11. Roughly 48 hours later, Rud’s new full-time job is to help reel in talented RedHawks.
Monday morning, Miami University in Ohio announced the completion of new head hockey coach Chris Bergeron’s staff, with Rud as an associate head coach. This leaves a vacancy at St. Cloud State, where Rud has been the head women’s hockey coach for the past five seasons.
“The more people I spoke to about Eric throughout this process, it became evident that he was the perfect fit for our staff,” said Bergeron, who took over the Miami program on April 5 after nine years at Bowling Green State of the WCHA. “He is a veteran coach who has both head and assistant coaching experience. He has a track record of being a tireless recruiter of great hockey players and even better people. We are extremely excited to have him as part of our program.”
Originally from Inver Grove Heights, Minn., Rud was a standout defenseman at Simley High School and at Colorado College where he was named the WCHA’s defensive player of the year twice. He was an assistant coach for the Cedar Rapids Roughriders from 2002-04 and was the head coach for the Green Bay Gamblers in 2010-11. Rud was an assistant coach on the St. Cloud State men’s team from 2006-10 under Bob Motzko and at Colorado College for two stints (2004-05, 2011-14) before taking the women’s head coaching position for the Huskies in 2014. He also had two coaching stints in juniors in the United States Hockey League.
Rud, 46, had a 48-114-16 record in his five seasons behind the bench for the women’s team, but his former boss saw good things from the program.
“I think Eric came in and was able to really build culture within our program, and to create belief in where we were going,” said Huskies athletic director Heather Weems. “He really began to look at recruiting avenues where we could talent and how you put that together to create a skilled team.”
Weems, who went through a hockey hiring process with the Huskies men’s team a year ago when Motzko went to the University of Minnesota and was replaced by Brett Larson, said they are already in the process of finding the next women’s head coach for the program. The job was officially posted last week.
“Per university policy it will be posted for a couple of weeks. We’ve already got a search committee put together and they will begin their process in the next couple of weeks,” Weems said. “Full interviews and on-campus will hopefully happen in the first week of June.”
Miami, which is located in Oxford, Ohio, was 11-23-4 last season, and finished last in the eight-team NCHC for the second consecutive season, leading to the dismissal of former head coach Enrico Blasi. His departure from the school came almost exactly a decade after the RedHawks were less than a minute from winning the NCAA Frozen Four title, before surrendering a lead late and falling to Boston University in overtime.
“It was a difficult decision because I enjoyed what I was doing. I really enjoyed the kids and our program,” Rud said on Monday. “When you’re around people you like, it’s difficult to make a decision that changes all that. But I just felt like this opportunity was too good not to explore and to jump into. It’s just a great spot.”
In addition to recruiting, Rud indicated that he expects he will work primarily with the RedHawks defense while assistant coach Barry Schutte, who came over from Bowling Green with Bergeron, will work with the forwards.