Get To Know Michigan State’s New Hockey Coach Danton Cole
Danton Cole is the next hockey coach of the Michigan State Spartans, and he’s a Spartan alumni who comes with a lot of hockey background. He’s tasked with righting the ship for a program that hasn’t seen the NCAA tournament since 2012, and hasn’t seen the Frozen Four since 2007.
Cole played four years at Michigan State under Ron Mason in the mid to late 80’s, his senior year was his most impressive in East Lansing where he gathered 62 points in 47 games.
A Winnipeg Jets (the franchise that is currently the Arizona Coyotes) draft pick in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft, Cole’s NHL career spanned six years with five different teams. He scored 58 goals and had 60 assists in over 300 NHL appearances.
As a coach, Cole got his start with the Grand Rapids Griffins as an assistant coach. After a couple of years there he spent one year as the head coach of the UHL’s Muskegon Fury where he put up a 48-22-4 record (the Fury won the Colonial Cup this year). He jumped from that job into the head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins from 2002-2005. His head coaching record in Grand Rapids was 133-85-16-4.
Cole’s coaching record then hits the college ranks. After a brief stint with the Motor City Mechanics and Bowling Green (as an assistant), Cole was tapped to be the head coach of the UAH Chargers (Alabama-Huntsville). He won just 12 games over three years in Alabama, however in his last season Cole took the Chargers to the NCAA tournament by winning the CHA tournament in 2010.
Cole then took a job with the USA National Team Development Program, first as an assistant and then as a head coach. The USA NTDP plays in the USHL and is a team comprised of 17-18 year olds playing against players who can be as old as 21. While with the team Cole’s record as a head coach was 98-116-14-2 with no playoff appearances. The USA NTDP has earned only two playoff appearances in the 2010s so far.
Michigan State’s recent record has been woeful. Since their last NCAA tournament appearance in 2012, the Spartans have not won 20 games in a season (something last accomplished in 2007-08) and have only been over .500 once in that same window. It’s a big task to turn Michigan State hockey back into a contender, but if Cole’s record of winning from his days with Grand Rapids and Muskegon come to the forefront, the Spartans might be in good hands.