BEMIDJI, Minn. – After eight seasons at the helm of the Bemidji State University women’s ice hockey program, head coach Steve Sertich is calling it quits. Sertich, who has led the Beavers to 81 wins, eight postseason appearances and the program’s first stint in the national polls, announced his intention to retire from coaching at a press conference March 17.
“I’ve truly enjoyed my time as a teacher and coach at both the high school and Division I levels and now I look forward to the next chapter of my life.” commented Sertich. “
“I want to thank Steve for his time as the head women's hockey coach at Bemidji State University,” commented BSU Director of Athletics Tracy Dill. “Although my time working with Steve has been short, it is evident that he cares deeply about the program, staff and more importantly, the student-athletes. I wish Steve the best in retirement and thank him for all he has done to make BSU a better place."
The 2009-10 Western Collegiate Hockey Association Coach of the Year leaves the Bemidji State program as the all-time wins leader with 81—surpassing each of his predecessors by more than 50 wins. He also amassed 57 victories competing in the greatest conference in women’s college hockey, the WCHA, finishing as high as fifth on two different occasions. Under his watch, BSU had its first individual earn All-America honors, 10 players were named to All-WCHA teams, 97 earned Academic All-WCHA honors and 61 garnered the coveted WCHA Scholar Athlete award.
Sertich led the Beavers to their eighth consecutive WCHA Playoff appearance to conclude the 2013-14 campaign. BSU collected an overall record of 11-21-4 with an 8-17-3 mark in league play to garner the No. 6 seed in the playoffs. The season capped a string of four seasons with a combined 54 wins—the best four-year total in the program’s 15 years of existence.
Sertich led the Beavers to the finest season in program history in 2011-12. The Beavers picked up a program-record 17 wins and finished 17-17-3 overall, which included five wins over ranked opponents. The 2011-12 squad was the first BSU women’s hockey team to achieve a national ranking. The team rose as high as No. 7 in the nation and was ranked or received votes in the national polls every week from Oct. 1-Feb. 27. In addition, Zuzana Tomcikova became the program’s first All-America selection.
During the 2010-11 season, Sertich led the team to a fifth place finish in the WCHA—a program best. The same season saw the Beavers open their new home, the Sanford Center, and claim their best home winning record in program history at 9-5-2. BSU also captured its first ever wins over a top-ranked team, defeating Mercyhurst, 5-3, Oct. 16.
At the conclusion of the 2009-10 regular season, Sertich was honored as the WCHA Coach of the Year. He led the Beavers to fifth place in the league a 12-19-7 overall record and a 9-12-7-3 mark in WCHA play, before the team claimed its first-ever playoff victory and made its debut trip to the WCHA Final Face-Off, where it bowed out with a loss to eventual NCAA champion University of Minnesota Duluth.
Sertich came to Bemidji State in 2006-07 after spending 13 years as the head varsity coach at Roseville Area High School. He coached the Roseville boys’ team from 1993-2003, leading it to a 156-71-11 record and two Minnesota State tournament appearances and two Suburban East Conference Championships. Sertich earned four coach of the year honors, as he was named Section 3AA Boys’ Coach of the Year in 1999, Section 2AA Boys’ Coach of the Year in both 2002 and 2003, and Class AA Coach of the Year in 2003.
In 2003, Sertich moved to head coach of the Roseville High School girls’ varsity team and in three seasons in the position, he led the program to a record of 62-21-2. The Roseville girls finished fourth in the 2006 state tournament and captured Suburban East Conference titles in both 2004 and 2005. Sertich was named the 2004 Section 2AA Girls’ Coach of the Year.
Sertich began his coaching career in 1976 as the head boys’ varsity coach at Northfield High School, and over the next 20 years he held a variety of head and assistant coaching positions at the high school, college and national team levels.
In the spring of 2010, Sertich was inducted into the Minnesota High School Hockey Coaches Hall of Fame. The honor, which is bestowed by the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association, is given to coaches that have made outstanding contributions to the sport of hockey in the state of Minnesota.
In addition to his coaching duties, Sertich has served as the Vice President of Board of Directors for the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum located in Eveleth, Minn. In that capacity, he was a driving force behind the women’s U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game, which began in 2008 with a game at the Hippodrome in Eveleth, Minn. that featured the Beavers and the University of Wisconsin.
Sertich began his playing career with the Colorado College Tigers in 1970 and assembled a standout four-year career, during which he played 125 games and scored 162 points (75 goals, 87 assists).
Sertich graduated from Colorado College in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and humanities. He received a master’s degree in elementary education from Minnesota State University, Manakto in 1999.
Sertich was a member of the U.S. National Team from 1973-75 and was also a member of the 1976 U.S. Olympic team, which finished fifth at the Innsbruck, Austria games.
After his collegiate days were over, Sertich played in the German Professional League, spending the 1974-75 season as captain for Fussen and two seasons from 1978-80 playing for Nurnburg.
Sertich and his wife Sally reside in Bemidji, Minn.
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Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).