Mike Hastings. Photo Courtesy of Mankato Free Press
Mike Hastings, who for the past few seasons has been an assistant coach at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. I know his being hired as the new head coach at Minnesota State, Mankato is old news, but I wanted to touch on what I think he brings to the table with this program. Before Hastings was an assistant to Dean Blais at UNO, he was an assistant at the University of Minnesota under Don Lucia for the 08-09 season. I think his resume alone could help bring in some higher end recruits compared to the past seasons. Although Jutting has had some pretty good teams, they never seem to make it over the hump to get to the NCAA tournament. The players Jutting brought in during his coaching career at MSU were good players, but often the players who got passed over by the Gophers, UMD, UND, etc.. I think Hastings will be able to get some of the higher end players to come in, and he will definitely cause some excitement for fans to see if he can turn the program into a winning team year in and year out, instead of sub-.500 teams. I am unsure who he will have as his assistants, whether or not Jutting's assistants will remain or not is a question, but if Hastings brings in his own assistant coaches, I think he could bring in some pretty credible guys to help him out. With the new WCHA a little over a year away, Hastings will get one season to prepare his team before the new conference, which I think the Mavericks will perform better in as opposed to the current WCHA. The new WCHA will also potentially boost the playoff hopes for MSU, and if Hastings guides the program in the right direction, they could be a future NCAA tournament team. I don't think his impact will be immediate, but give him a couple years to bring in his own recruits and program his players to play under his system and I think they will be headed in the right direction.