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Minnesota State's Mike Hastings named head coach at Wisconsin

The three-time Spencer Penrose Award winner, handed to the national college coach of the year, Hastings’ teams racked up an impressive 11-year run.

Minnesota State head coach Mike Hastings listens to a question during the Fargo regional media day Wednesday, March 22, 2023 at Scheels Arena in Fargo.
Rob Beer / The Rink Live

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin has named its new men’s hockey coach and it only had to look 300 miles to the west. Mike Hastings, the longtime Minnesota State Mankato coach, will be taking over the Badgers program after Tony Granato was fired earlier this month.

Hastings built a perennial contender in Mankato since his arrival in 2012. His teams have played in eight NCAA tournaments — bowing out recently to St. Cloud State in the Fargo Regional — and reaching the Frozen Four in back-to-back years of 2021 and 2022, the last of which they finished runner-up to Denver.

"Wisconsin is one of college hockey's great programs and I am both thrilled and humbled to have this opportunity," Hastings said in a statement. "I want to thank [Wisconsin athletic director] Chris McIntosh for his belief in me. Badger hockey has a lot going for it – great alums, fans, facilities, tradition, a terrific campus and city. I can't wait to get to Madison and start working with our team on building a winning culture on and off the ice."

According to a report by Badger Extra , Hastings is due to make $700,000 next season with the Badgers, not including escalators. That sum is about double what he was making at Minnesota State as part of a 10-year contract he signed in 2017.

Comparatively, The Rink Live reported in 2021 when Bob Motzko signed a three-year extension at Minnesota, the Gophers bench boss would receive an average of $600,000 per year, not including bonuses for conference titles or NCAA finishes.


The three-time Spencer Penrose Award winner, handed to the national college coach of the year, Hastings’ teams racked up an impressive 11-year run. He leaves the Mavericks with a 299-110-25 record. He was also named the WCHA’s coach of the decade for the 2010s.

"I am incredibly excited about Mike Hastings becoming our men's hockey coach," McIntosh said. "He has a tremendous history of success at Minnesota State and, before that, with the Omaha Lancers. In my conversations with Mike, it is clear that he shares the values we have at Wisconsin and I know he is committed to the academic achievement and personal growth of our student-athletes. He is a great fit for our athletic department and I can't wait for him to get started."

Last season he coached Hobey Baker winner Dryden McKay, a goaltender who won 38 games last season and finished with an NCAA-record 34 career shutouts.

"Coach Hastings has had a transformational impact and left an indelible mark on our program. His record of success on and off the ice speaks for itself and the goodwill and brand recognition he has created for Maverick hockey is immeasurable,” said Minnesota State athletic director Kevin Buisman. “I am confident he will continue to do great things in Madison and we wish Mike and his family all the best moving forward."

Hastings was an assistant coach of the U.S. Olympic hockey team for the 2022 Games in Beijing. He also recently was the head coach of the silver-medal winning U.S. squad in the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship.

In bringing Minnesota State Mankato coach Mike Hastings to Wisconsin as the new boss, the Badgers might be trying to replicate the formula Minnesota used so successfully five years ago.
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Wisconsin fired Grantato following a 13-23-0 season, by far the worst record in the Big Ten. They were led by 34-point producer in freshman Cruz Lucius and junior Mathieu De St. Phalle with a team-high 13 goals and 30 points.

The Badgers finished the 2020-21 season as the Big Ten regular season champions. But in Granato’s seven seasons, the former coach of the Colorado Avalanche finished above just .500 twice and compiled a 105-129-16 record overall.


Minnesota State head coach Mike Hastings talks with players in the second period against St. Cloud State Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.
Jason Wachter/The Rink Live

Rob Beer is the digital content manager for Forum Communications. A journalist with Forum Communications since 1991, he is the editor of The Rink Live and helps cover the CCHA. He also assists with other content produced by Forum Communications.
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