Gibbons returns to Bemidji State to fill assistant coaching post

Gibbons returns to Bemidji State to fill assistant coaching post
Thursday, November 19, 2020
Gibbons returns to Bemidji State to fill assistant coaching post

BEMIDJI, Minn. – Bemidji State University Men’s Hockey Head Coach Tom Serratore has announced that Mike Gibbons will return to his alma mater to join the BSU men’s hockey coaching staff as an assistant coach. A national champion and two-time All-American as a Beaver, Gibbons played for legendary coach R.H. “Bob” Peters from 1975-79 and began his coaching career at BSU.

“Gibby will be a great addition to our staff,” said Serratore. “Not only is he a tremendous coach with experience at all levels of hockey, but he is a proven, successful recruiter who understands the makeup of a championship-caliber team. As an alumnus, he already knows Bemidji State and Beaver Hockey well,” said Serratore. “He is part of the historic fabric of this program and we are fortunate to have him back.”  

“It means a lot to be back. Bemidji State Hockey has had such an impact on my life, being able to come back full circle is unbelievable,” said Gibbons. “I may have left Beaver Hockey in 1983 but the Beaver Hockey culture has never left me. Everywhere I have coached I have tried to replicate that culture, so I am already familiar with it and I believe I will fit  in very nicely here. 

“To me a coaching staff is like a good line in hockey. It is not a matter of how good any individual is, it is a matter of how well the three blend together.” Gibbons added, “I am looking forward to working together with Tom and Travis to do whatever I can to help make Bemidji State the best team it can be.”

Gibbons joins the BSU staff after nearly 40 years in coaching. Most recently, he retired from St. Cloud State University in March after a 14-year run as an assistant on the Huskies’ men’s hockey coaching staff.

In 14 years at SCSU, Gibbons helped lead the Huskies to four conference championships (WCHA-2013 and NCHC-2014, 2018 and 2019), the NCHC Frozen Faceoff title in 2016, 275 victories and eight NCAA tournament appearances including a trip to the 2013 NCAA Frozen Four.

He played a key role in helping to recruit numerous standout players to St. Cloud State in addition to his work with the Huskies' defensive corps. In his time at SCSU, 46 Huskies were selected for all-conference honors and 11 student-athletes earned All-America recognition. In addition, 10 SCSU student-athletes were recognized among the top 10 for the Hobey Baker Award, which includes 2013 Hobey Baker Award winner Drew LeBlanc. Beyond the college hockey ranks, 16 players, who played during Gibbons' tenure at SCSU, have gone on to play in the NHL.   

Gibbons' coaching resume includes stops at all levels of the game of hockey including the professional ranks, junior hockey, college and high school. 

A graduate of BSU, where he was a standout blueliner for the Beavers from 1975 to 1979, Gibbons gained All-America notice in 1978 and 1979 and helped BSU win a national title in 1979.

He began his coaching career at BSU as an assistant coach in 1981 and later served as an interim head coach during the 1982-83 campaign. That season he led the Beavers to a 30-6-1 record, a NCHA championship and a trip to the NCAA Division II championship game. For his efforts and the team’s success, Gibbons was selected the NCHA Coach of the Year and the Edward Jeremiah College Division National Coach of the Year.

Gibbons moved to Northern Michigan University in 1983 where he served as an assistant coach with the Wildcats' hockey program until 1988.  He went on to serve as an assistant coach at Colorado College (1988-1990) and the University of Denver (1990-1994). After leaving Denver, Gibbons worked for one year as the head coach for the Langley Thunder in the British Columbia Junior Hockey League.  

From 1995 to 1997, Gibbons moved into the professional ranks as an assistant coach with the Baltimore Bandits, the Anaheim Ducks' top affiliate in the AHL. Gibbons returned to Minnesota in 1997 to take over as head coach at Eastview High School and remained there for 10 seasons.  

In 2006, Gibbons served as an assistant coach for the USA Junior National Team, which placed fourth at the World Junior Tournament in Vancouver, B.C. In 1993, he was a co-head coach with Scott Owens of the USA Select Team and he has coached numerous USA Hockey Select 17 teams during his career.  

Gibbons received the American Hockey Coaches Association's Terry Flanagan Award in 2016. The award is presented annually and it honors an assistant coach's career body of work.

Gibbons fills the role vacated by Eddie Olczyk, who left the BSU coaching staff after four seasons to take a position as an amateur scout for the Seattle Kraken, and NHL expansion franchise.

The Beavers, slotted No. 16 in national poll, anxiously await the start of the 2020-21 season. After seeing their 22-10-5, 2019-20 season cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the WCHA’s delayed 2020-21 start, BSU will be back on the ice at 4:07 p.m. Sunday and 2:07 p.m. Monday to battle Minnesota State University, Mankato in a nonconference affair.

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.