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UMD men's hockey: Bulldogs extend Scott Sandelin's contract through 2026-27 season

The extension announced Friday is subject to approval by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. It adds two more years onto the extension that Sandelin signed in 2019.

Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey prepares for NCAA Regional game against Michigan Tech
Minnesota Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin watches practice on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, at Budwieser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

DULUTH — After issuing press releases and statements the last two weeks about the departure of three key administrators, the University of Minnesota Duluth athletic department announced Friday that a longtime member was staying put.

The Bulldogs and three-time national championship men’s hockey coach Scott Sandelin have agreed on a contract extension, one that adds two more years to the deal he signed in 2019. The extension is subject to approval by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, who meet next week. If approved, Sandelin would be signed through the 2026-27 season.

Despite a potential NHL suitor for Scott Sandelin's services on the West Coast, Minnesota Duluth is moving forward with its plans to keep the three-time national championship coach on the Fresh Coast through 2025. The Bulldogs announced a contrac...

Sandelin, 57, of Hibbing, just completed his 22nd season as coach of the Bulldogs. He’s taken his program to seven consecutive NCAA tournaments — it would have been eight if not for COVID-19 canceling the 2020 postseason — and went to four consecutive Frozen Fours between 2017 and 2021. His team played in three consecutive NCAA title games between 2017 and 2019, winning back-to-back national championships in 2018 and 2019.

Sandelin coached UMD to its first NCAA Division I men’s hockey title in 2011. He is the winningest coach in UMD men’s hockey history at 428-348-95 (.546) overall, including a 305-187-58 (.607) mark dating back to the 2008-09 season. Sandelin has taken the Bulldogs to 11 NCAA tournaments and six Frozen Fours in his career.

"I couldn't be happier to further my career with the Bulldogs and I'm excited to continue working with my great staff and student-athletes,” Sandelin said in UMD’s announcement. “It's been a great run thus far, and I look forward to building on the great traditions of Bulldog hockey on and off the ice."


Minnesota Duluth plays Denver in regional final game in Loveland
Minnesota Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin talks to the team in a timeout during the NCAA regional championship game on Saturday, March 26, 2022, at Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Salary decreases, retirement increases

In addition to keeping Sandelin at UMD through the 2026-27 season, the new contract shifts a significant portion of his compensation from salary to his retirement fund.

For instance, Sandelin was paid a based salary of $420,000 during the 2021-22 season with a $100,000 supplemental retirement contribution from the university. In 2022-23, Sandelin’s salary drops by $90,000 to $330,000, however, his retirement contribution increases to $220,000.

Sandelin’s base salary will increase to $340,000 in 2023-24, $350,000 in 2024-25, $375,000 in 2025-26 and $380,000 in 2026-27, when he'll be 62. His retirement contribution will remain at $220,000 each season and vest on March 1 of each year.


Other financial changes include tweaking of the postseason bonuses. Most notably, Sandelin’s $20,000 bonus for reaching the NCAA title game was eliminated. Instead, Sandelin’s assistant coaches are now eligible for a bonus from a pool of $10,000 if UMD plays in the national championship game.

An extra $5,000 was also added to the pool for assistants if UMD reaches the NCAA tournament, bring that to $20,000 total.

UMD going through leadership shakeup

Sandelin's new contract, if approved, will go into effect on June 9, 2022. It was signed by athletic director Josh Berlo and chancellor Lendley Black — dated May 31, 2022 — and Sandelin thanked both in UMD’s announcement on Friday.

Neither Black or Berlo will be around in the fall, however, when Sandelin embarks on his 23rd season as head coach.

The University of Minnesota Duluth men's hockey coach Scott Sandelin, third from left, and athletic director Josh Berlo, left, met Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan Wednesday, April 24, 2019, as they made the rounds of the Capitol celebrating the Bulldogs' recent national championship.
Don Davis / File / The Rink Live

On Thursday, Berlo was announced as the new vice chancellor of athletics at the University of Denver — an NCHC rival of the Bulldogs. UMD beat the Pioneers in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff this season en route to Sandelin’s third NCHC postseason championship and fourth conference tournament title overall dating back to the 2009 WCHA Final Faceoff run.


Denver, which beat UMD in the 2017 NCAA title game, got its revenge in the NCAA regional final in Loveland, on its way to a second national championship in six seasons.

“I’m happy for him to get a different opportunity. It’s a good place,” Sandelin said on Thursday, echoing what other UMD coaches said of Berlo’s nine seasons at UMD. “Now he’s a competitor.”

Josh Berlo has served as athletic director at the University of Minnesota Duluth since 2013. The Pioneers are members of the NCHC and NCAA Division I Summit League.
Josh Berlo is leaving the University of Minnesota Duluth after nine seasons to become vice chancellor of athletics for the Pioneers. While Berlo's first job as athletic director got off to a controversial start, he leaves the university a popular administrator.
Duluth couple started out coaching basketball before making an impact in administration.
Staff are accepting nominations for the school's interim head through June 3.

Black is retiring this summer, along with Bulldogs’ senior associate athletic director and senior woman administrator Karen Stromme and her husband, Gary Holquist, UMD Athletics’ senior development officer. Stromme and Holquist announced their retirement last week.

"The leadership of Bulldog men's hockey remains in exceptional hands with Scott Sandelin at the helm for the foreseeable future," Berlo said in the announcement. He starts at Denver on July 15. "I look forward to watching Coach Sandelin add to the history, tradition and legacy that is Bulldog men's hockey and the special place it occupies as an elite level program."

This story was updated at 12:36 p.m. on Friday, June 3, 2022, after Scott Sandelin's new contract was posted by the Minnesota Board of Regents ahead of next week's meeting. It was originally posted at 10:45 a.m. on Friday, June 3, 2022.

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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