BEMIDJI, Minn. – Bemidji State University Director of Athletics Tracy Dill today announced James Scanlan as head coach of the BSU women’s ice hockey program. Scanlan, an 18-year high school educator, coach and administrator, was a two-time All-American goaltender at Bemidji State leading the Beavers to a pair of NAIA national titles.
“We are really excited to have Jim on board as the new women’s hockey coach here at BSU,” commented Dill. “He brings a wealth of experience, not only at the collegiate level, but also a tremendous amount of success at the high school level. More importantly, he has a deep love for Bemidji State University and I really believe he will do a great job on the recruiting scene and will continue to move our women’s hockey program forward.”
“I am extremely humbled to be given this opportunity,” said Scanlan. “I don’t think there is any other place I would have tried to get back into coaching at this level.
“Bemidji State has meant so much to my family and me. Now to be able to come back and work here as the head women’s hockey coach is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” He added, “It’s really, really special.”
Scanlan recently completed his sixth season as head coach of the East Grand Forks High School girl’s ice hockey team compiling an overall record of 110-51-6 (.677). His 2013-14 Green Wave team posted a 26-3-1 record, earned a Section 8A championship and climbed to No. 1 in the state’s Class A ranks before falling to The Blake School, 3-2, in the 2014 Minnesota State High School League championship game. After the season, Scanlan, a two-time Section 8A Coach of the Year, was named Minnesota Class A Coach of the Year.
Scanlan was also the boy’s hockey coach from 1996-2005 during which he led the Green Wave to a 148-109-15 (.572) record. He led the East Grand Forks boys to four section titles (1998, 1999, 2001 and 2002), and four Minnesota State Tournament appearances (1989, 1999, 2001 and 2002), finishing as high as second in 1999. Scanlan was named Section 8A Boy’s Coach of the Year in 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2002.
In addition to his teaching and coaching responsibilities, Scanlan has served as the Green Wave’s activities director since 2000.
Scanlan also has 12 years of collegiate coaching experience. He was an assistant coach for the University of North Dakota men’s ice hockey team from 1989-1996, at Western Michigan University from 1985-1989 and was a graduate assistant coach at Northern Michigan University in 1984-85. During his time at the collegiate ranks, Scanlan’s teams, comprised of six All-American selections, 38 all-conference picks and 67 academic all-conference honorees, posted a 207-208-26 (.499) overall record and an NCAA Tournament appearance.
Scanlan is a 1985 graduate of Bemidji State with a degree in physical education and health. He later earned a master’s degree in physical education with an emphasis in athletic administration from Western Michigan University in 1988.
As a collegiate goaltender, Scanlan played for legendary R.H. “Bob” Peters at Bemidji State from 1978-1982. A four-year letterwinner, the captain was in net 85 times, logging a career record of 62-19-0, while backstopping the Beavers to a NCHA regular season title in 1982 and four consecutive trips to the NAIA national tournament, including national titles in 1979 and 1980. The NCHA Player of the Year in 1982, Scanlan was selected as an NAIA All-American to conclude the 1980-81 and 1981-82 seasons. Scanlan also left his mark on the BSU goaltending records. He remains amongst the top ten in six major goaltending categories. He is fifth on BSU’s save percentage list (.907), eighth in goals against average (2.821), is third on BSU’s goaltending victories list (62), ranks sixth on the Beavers’ career saves list (2,211) and his 4,807 minutes in net stand eighth in Beaver hockey history. In addition, only one goaltender in the 58 years of Bemidji State hockey has accumulated more shutouts during his career than Scanlan’s nine. Was enshrined into the Bemidji State Athletic Hall of Fame as a member of the 1978-79 and 1979-80 men’s hockey teams, Scanlan was named as one of the Bemidji State men’s hockey program’s 50 Legends for 50 Years in 2005-06.
Scanlan has been active in several Minnesota State High School League initiatives, Region 8A, USA Hockey and the American Hockey Coaches Association. He has also been active on Bemidji State’s men’s hockey national hockey committee, the East Grand Forks Blue Line Club and the East Grand Forks Sports Booster Club.
Scanlan and his wife Cyndy are both Bemidji State graduates and have three grown children: Briana, a former BSU soccer player and 2012 graduate, Jaclyn, a senior soccer player at North Dakota State University and Joey, who is an incoming freshman at BSU.
Scanlan becomes the fifth head coach in BSU women’s hockey history.
Bemidji State’s head women’s hockey coach post was left vacant March 17 when Steve Sertich retired from the position after eight years. The 2009-10 WCHA Coach of the Year, Sertich left the Bemidji State program as the all-time wins leader with 81—surpassing each of his predecessors by more than 50 wins—while leading the Beavers to eight consecutive playoff appearances. Under his watch, BSU saw 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.
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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).