MINNEAPOLIS — When Greg “Boom” May came to the Minnesota Gophers as their director of hockey operations two years ago, he made no secret of his ultimate goal. With a few successful stints as a high school coach on his resume, his next career hurdle was to be a college head coach.

This week, that hurdle was cleared. After leaving the Gophers at the end of last season and spending a few months as the athletic director at St. Thomas Academy, May was named the head coach for a college team he maybe knows better than any other, Augsburg University.

“I played there, my wife played hockey there, my brother played there and my brother’s wife played there,” May said of the Auggies. “You use the term ‘dream job’ kind of loosely at times, but it’s not every day you get to go back to your alma mater to be the head coach. It’s very special, and when I got the call it was a very humbling opportunity and one I felt I just couldn’t pass up.”

May played one season for Chris Brown, the former Auggies head coach who left the Minneapolis school last month to be an assistant coach at the University of Alaska. In May’s two seasons with the Gophers, he impressed the coaching staff not only with his administrative duties but with his work on the ice at practice.

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“It became very clear that he was going to be an excellent head coach whenever that opportunity came about,” Gophers assistant coach Garrett Raboin said. “We just couldn’t be more happy for him and he’s going to do a great job there.”

Hockey operations director Greg May (right) spoke with forward Brannon McManus during a Minnesota Gophers practice at the NCAA Regional in Loveland, Colo., in March 2021. May was named athletic director at St. Thomas Academy on May 25, 2021. Brian Deutsch / University of Minnesota Athletics photo
Hockey operations director Greg May (right) spoke with forward Brannon McManus during a Minnesota Gophers practice at the NCAA Regional in Loveland, Colo., in March 2021. May was named athletic director at St. Thomas Academy on May 25, 2021. Brian Deutsch / University of Minnesota Athletics photo

The good news for the Auggies is they had just one loss last season. The bad news is that thanks to the pandemic, they only played five games, finishing 1-1 in the MIAC. For May, the immediate challenge comes from the calendar. He accepted the job on Sept. 14 but does not actually start until nearly two weeks later, finishing up at St. Thomas Academy first.

“For the next couple weeks I’m going to try to juggle two jobs,” said May, 36. “I need to be there for our staff and for our players at Augsburg ASAP, if not yesterday. I’ll try to get a player meeting here soon and try to set some expectations.”

He admitted that only staying at STA for a number of months was not his expectation when he took the job, but the Augsburg opportunity was too good to pass up.

“I had no vision of being here as short as I was, but as you know, when a door opens you kind of have a decision to make,” he said. “When the door happens to be your alma mater and one that’s very close to your family, it felt like I needed to walk through it.”

May was the head coach at Farmington for two seasons, leading the Tigers to the 2016 state tournament, and coached the Blake School for three seasons before moving to the Gophers job. The Auggies open the season Nov. 5-6 at home with a two-game series vs. St. Norbert.