March 3, 1999
KALAMAZOO -- Jim Culhane has been named the new head hockey coach at Western Michigan University, following seven seasons as an assistant coach with the Broncos.
Culhane has served as interim head coach since February 3 after Bill Wilkinson was reassigned within the athletic department. Culhane's appointment was announced today by WMU Director of Athletics Kathy Beauregard. President Elson S. Floyd will recommend approval of Culhane's appointment at the April meeting of the University's Board of Trustees.
The 33-year-old Culhane (who turns 34 on March 13) becomes the youngest head coach in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. Under Culhane, the Broncos have posted a 3-2-2 record for eight points in the CCHA standings while averaging 3.57 goals per game. In 25 previous games, Western Michigan had compiled a 2-13-6 CCHA record for 10 points and averaged 1.88 goals for all games.
WMU trails Miami (Ohio) by two points and Lake Superior State by one point for the final CCHA tournament berth. The Broncos have games remaining at Northern Michigan (March 5) and at Lake Superior State (March 6).
"This is a dream come true, I can't think of any other coaching job I would rather have," said Culhane, a former Bronco standout. "This is a tremendous opportunity, and I look forward to taking the program to new heights. I want our program perceived as a disciplined, first-class operation that competes hard on the ice and in the classroom."
"Jim impressed the search committee with his vision and enthusiasm," said Beauregard. "His knowledge of the game and loyalty to the Broncos through the years made him an ideal fit for the position."
Culhane becomes the fourth coach in the program's 26-year history and the first varsity alumnus to hold the post. A four-year letterwinner (1984-87) on defense, Culhane helped the 1985-86 squad captured the CCHA playoff tournament crown and earn a NCAA tournament berth. He was an assistant captain on the 1986-87 team that won the Great Lakes Invitational. Culhane came to Western from the Hawkesbury Hawks of the Central Junior "A" league.
A native of Haileybury, Ont., Culhane played five professional seasons in the American Hockey League (AHL), three with the Binghamton Whalers and two with the Capital District Islanders. He also had a stint with the Hartford Whalers of the National Hockey League during the 1989-90 season.
Culhane joined the Bronco coaching staff in 1992 as a volunteer coach, moved up to restricted earnings coach a year later, then was promoted to full-time assistant. As recruiting coordinator, he helped produce three CCHA Rookie of the Year recipients in five seasons, NHL Draft selections in six straight years and a pair of World Junior Championship participants.
A member of the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA),
Culhane holds a bachelor¢s in
finance (1987) and a MBA (1998) from Western Michigan.
Jim and his wife Susan, a WMU graduate, are the parents of a son, Travis (3) and a daughter, Tatum (1).
Media contact:Daniel Jankowski, 616 387-4138; firstname.lastname@example.org
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