ST. CLOUD, MINN. – It’s no secret St. Cloud State University head men’s hockey coach Brett Larson has made a splash since taking over in the spring of 2018. On June 15, 2021, St. Cloud State Director of Athletics Heather Weems announced Larson is here to stay as they agreed to a contract extension that keeps him with the Huskies through the 2027-28 season.
Since his arrival at St. Cloud State and very first meeting with the team, Coach Larson has demonstrated an impressive capacity for leadership and coaching,” said Weems. “Brett’s commitment to a positive program culture marked by continuous development, selfless play, relentless work ethic, and overall excellence provides an atmosphere in which players thrive. He has fostered a brotherhood amongst current and former Huskies that honors each members’ contributions and celebrates their pride in St. Cloud State. Brett understands the value of Huskies Hockey to our campus and community, and has prioritized visibility and approachability throughout the program. He has enjoyed welcoming youth, alumni, fans, and friends into our facilities and helping them connect with players and coaches. I couldn’t be more excited about the trajectory of our program and continued presence amongst the nation’s elite men’s hockey programs under Coach Larson’s leadership. ”
The contract extension comes after a superb season on the ice for Larson, as he guided St. Cloud State to its first ever appearance in the NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey national championship game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 2020-21, Larson and the Huskies exceeded expectations, posting a 20-11-0 overall record with a 15-9-0 conference record to finish second in the always rugged National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC). From there, St. Cloud State advanced to the NCHC Frozen Faceoff Championship game and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Northeast Regional, where the team beat Boston University and Boston College for the championship to advance to the Frozen Four for just the second time in program history. The Huskies played in the Division I National Championship game for the first time in school history and finished as the runner-up.
Of course, Larson has made plenty of headlines since joining the Huskies staff in the spring of 2018. The 2018-19 NCHC Coach of the Year, Larson is a two-time finalist (2018-19, 2020-21) for the Spencer Penrose Coach of the Year award, which is annually given to the top coach in Division I men’s hockey. In three seasons, the Duluth, Minnesota native has compiled an overall record of 63-32-9 with a 44-23-5 record in NCHC play. Larson made quite the coaching debut in 2018-19, as he led the Huskies to the NCHC regular season title thanks to a 19-2-3 record in conference play and an undefeated home record at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. Additionally, four St. Cloud State student-athletes earned AHCA All-America (Jimmy Schuldt, Patrick Newell, Jack Ahcan and Blake Lizotte) honors that season, and the Huskies were selected as the No. 1 overall seed for the 2018-19 NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey tournament. In 2019-20, Larson was selected to serve as an assistant coach for Team USA at the IIHF World Junior Championships.
“I want to thank Heather Weems for believing in me and giving me this opportunity three years ago, as well as her passionate support of Husky Athletics,” Larson commented. “I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by great people here at SCSU. The administration, our players, our staff, our alumni and our fans make this such a special place. I’m proud to be a Husky and am looking forward to continuing our work to make our school, community, alumni and fans proud of Husky Hockey!”
Larson is the third coach in St. Cloud State history since the program joined the Division I ranks in 1987-88 and the 17th head coach in program history dating back to 1931-32. His 63 total wins are tied for the most all-time by a head coach in his first three seasons, and his .649 win percentage is the best in program history in that same time span.
After an impressive professional playing career, Larson joined the coaching staff at his alma mater, the University of Minnesota-Duluth, in 2008-09 and served as an assistant coach until the 2010-11 season. Larson rejoined the Bulldogs staff in 2015 after stints with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers and The Ohio State University, leading Minnesota-Duluth to back-to-back titles in 2016-17 and 2017-18. During his time with the Bulldogs, Larson coached and recruited one Hobey Baker Award winner, five All-Americans, eight NHLers and one Olympian.
(info and photo courtesy of St. Cloud State)