UND's Berry signs 5-year contract

UND's Berry signs 5-year contract Click to Enlarge

University of North Dakota Athletics Director Bill Chaves announced Friday that head men's hockey coach Brad Berry has been signed to a new five-year contract, at $400,000 base salary per year, which will keep him behind the Fighting Hawks bench through the 2022-23 season.

In just three seasons at the helm of his alma mater, Berry has put his own distinct stamp on a program already steeped in tradition and success.

Berry began his head-coaching career in 2015-16 by leading UND to its eighth NCAA championship, becoming the first person in the history of NCAA Division I men’s hockey to win a national title in his first year behind the bench.

In his sophomore season as head coach, Berry guided the defending national champions to the program’s 15th straight NCAA Tournament berth, the second-longest streak in the history of the sport.

Over his first three years as head coach, Berry has amassed a 72-35-17 (.649) record.

“I knew one of the first things that needed to be done was to work on extending Coach Berry,” UND Athletics Director Bill Chaves. “Today, he is one of only seven active coaches to have won a national championship and that is a big deal. Brad epitomizes UND hockey and we could not be more excited that he will continue leading our historic program. Coaching stability is a key ingredient for success and today’s extension provides us just that for our program.”

Said Berry: “I would like to extend a sincere ‘thank you’ to UND President Mark Kennedy and Athletics Director Bill Chaves, as well as Kris Engelstad McGarry and the entire Englestad family for their continued and loyal support of the program. The University of North Dakota is a very special place and my family couldn’t be happier to call it home. My staff and I look forward to continuing to add to the championship tradition built by those who came before us.”

Student-athlete success

Berry has also continued UND’s reputation for developing professional hockey players, churning out 18 in just three years, including nine who have already played in the National Hockey League: Brock Boeser (Vancouver), Drake Caggiula (Edmonton), Shane Gersich (Washington), Tyson Jost (Colorado), Paul LaDue (Los Angeles), Tucker Poolman (Winnipeg), Nick Schmaltz (Chicago), Troy Stecher (Vancouver) and Christian Wolanin (Ottawa).

A former NHL defenseman himself, Berry masterfully guided his alma mater to the program’s eighth national title in his debut season of 2015-16, bringing to a halt a 16-year drought for the storied program. Berry and the Fighting Hawks went 34-6-4, establishing a team record for most wins by a rookie head coach, and their .818 winning percentage was the second best in program history.

Berry also led UND to its second straight Penrose Cup as National Collegiate Hockey Conference regular-season champion, resulting in NCHC Herb Brooks Coach of the Year honors. He also garnered national coach of the year honors from U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO) and was one of eight finalists for the Spencer Penrose Award, given to the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) Coach of the Year.

After the championship campaign, four of Berry’s players – forwards Boeser and Caggiula, defenseman Stecher, and goaltender Cam Johnson – earned All-America honors, joining UND’s 1986-87 team as the only entries in school history to boast four All-Americans.

UND has also thrived in the classroom under Berry, placing a program-record 22 student-athletes on the NCHC Academic All-Conference Team in 2016-17. In his three years as head coach, 51 Fighting Hawks have earned academic all-conference honors and 21 have been named NCHC Distinguished Scholar-Athletes.

“Coach Berry is the kind of quality individual that any university or organization would want associated with its name,” said Kennedy. “He personifies what it means to be a true leader in action through discipline, hard work and professionalism. He instills those same characteristics in the student-athletes whose conduct in competition, the classroom and the community are a tremendous point of pride for UND and the state of North Dakota.

“For those reasons, I am thrilled that Coach Berry has agreed to remain the head hockey coach of our Fighting Hawks.”

Player and coach

Berry was named head coach at North Dakota on May 18, 2015, becoming the 16th head coach in program history and the sixth former UND player to take the helm.

Before taking over as head coach Berry had spent nine seasons as an assistant at UND. He served two stints in that role, first from 2000-01 through 2005-06 and again from 2012-13 through 2014-15. He also previously spent time as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets (2010-12) and the AHL’s Manitoba Moose (2006-08).

Berry himself was a standout defenseman as a player, first at UND where he collected 74 points (12 goals, 62 assists) in 112 games from 1983-86 under legendary head coach John “Gino” Gasparini. Berry also won a gold medal with Canada at the 1985 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.

A second-round draft pick (29th overall) of the Winnipeg Jets in 1983, Berry went on to play in 241 NHL games over eight years, including stints with Winnipeg, Minnesota and Dallas. His professional playing career also included stops in the Swedish Elite League and the International Hockey League (IHL). While with the IHL’s Michigan K-Wings, Berry was a three-time IHL All-Star and was named the K-Wings’ Defenseman of the Year three times.

After his playing career ended, Berry was a professional scout with the 1999-2000 Dallas Stars team that advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals.

A native of Bashaw, Alberta, Berry’s family includes his wife, Suzanne, daughters, Brianna and Brooke, and son, Bauer.

The BRAD BERRY File

Birthdate: April 1, 1965

Hometown: Bashaw, Alberta

Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Business Administration (UND ’02)

Family: Wife, Suzanne; daughters, Brianna and Brooke and son, Bauer

Awards:

· 2015-16 U.S. College Hockey Online Coach of the Year

· 2015-16 NCHC Herb Brooks Coach of the Year

Coaching Experience:

· 2000-04: Assistant Coach, University of North Dakota (NCAA)

· 2004-06: Associate Head Coach, University of North Dakota (NCAA)

· 2006-08: Assistant Coach, Manitoba Moose (AHL)

· 2010-12: Assistant Coach, Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)

· 2012-15: Assistant Coach, University of North Dakota (NCAA)

· 2015-pres.: Head Coach, University of North Dakota (NCAA)

Other Experience:

· 1999-00: Scout, Dallas Stars (NHL)

· 2008-10: Scout, Vancouver Canucks (NHL)

· 2008-10: Director, The Hockey Academy

Playing Experience:

· 1983-86: University of North Dakota (NCAA)

· 1985-90: Winnipeg Jets (NHL)

· 1990-91: Canadian National Team

· 1990-91: Brynas IF Gavle (Swedish Elite League)

· 1991-93: Minnesota North Stars (NHL)

· 1993-94: Dallas Stars (NHL)

· 1994-95: Kalamazoo K-Wings (IHL)

· 1995-96: Michigan K-Wings (IHL)


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