Who's Next? The Wildcard

The staff at Tech Hockey Guide thought we were done with profiling potential candidates but as with life, things change. We have confirmed with multiple sources that current Minnesota-Duluth Assistant Coach Jason Herter will get an in-person interview for Michigan Tech's head-coaching vacancy.

While Herter doesn't have the years in the NHL to match some other candidates, he does have significant head coaching experience at the U16 level and head coach/assistant coaching experience at the USHL and NCAA levels. Herter has coached for six seasons as an assistant at UMD and was present for Minnesota-Duluth's 2017 NCAA tournament appearance. Unlike many of the other assistant coaches we have profiled however, the Hafford, Sask. native he has fewer ties to UMD and may be more willing to leave his current employer long-term.

Details

Age: 46

College: North Dakota

Birthplace: Hafford, Saskatchewan

Current Position: Assistant Coach, Minnesota-Duluth (NCHC)

Pedigree

Herter played his NCAA career at the University of North Dakota, where he played 118 games. Over his three years in Grand Forks, Herter scored 119 points (30G, 89A) from the blue line. He was drafted 8th pick overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1989 NHL entry draft. While Herter immediately spent a couple years in the IHL and AHL, he did play one NHL game with the New York Islanders where he registered an assist. Herter returned to the IHL where he played an additional four seasons before transitioning to Germany where he played 163 games and registered 91 points. Herter ranks 9th all time in scoring for the Munich Barons.

After his professional player career and a short stint as a scout in the USHL, Herter became the head coach of the Russell Stover U16 team based in Kansas. Herter started the U16 and U18 programs there with Pat Fershweiler, who is now an assistant coach at the Detroit Red Wings. In 2008, Herter moved to Fargo, ND where he was an assistant coach with the recently formed Fargo Force of the USHL. There, Herter coached under NCAA legend Dean Blais for two seasons until Blais left for the University of Nebraska - Omaha. The Fargo Force made the West Division playoffs in all three seasons (including their inaugural season) and lost the Clark Cup Championship game in 2010. Herter took over for Blais as head coach with the Force for the 2010-2011 season, this was coincidentally the season Tanner Kero played for the Force. The Force went 33-22-5 under Herter's head coach leadership.

Herter has been an asstant coach the UMD Bulldogs since the 2011-2012 season. The Bulldogs are 123-84-30 over the six seasons Herter has been behind the bench in Duluth, and he was part of the coaching staff which led the Bulldogs to the 2017 NCAA National Championship game. 

Why

Herter's experience scouting in the USHL and as an assistant/ head coach with the Fargo Force is likely one of his main selling points to the MTU selection committee. Recruiting developing players at that age is one of the points made in the MTU job posting, so we know that is a critical skill that he highlights well. Between his time with the Fargo Force and UMD, Herter has shown a lot of experience with developing young talent. His time with the Bulldogs is on par with Brett Larson's (chronicled in our profile The Bulldog), except that Herter hadn't yet joined UMD for the 2011 NCAA National Championship win. 

A few of the players Herter has worked with over the last nine years include:

  • Tanner Kero (MTU)
  • Christian Folin (UML)
  • Jack Connonlly (UMD)
  • Neal Pionk (UMD)
  • Zane McIntyre (UND)
  • Nate Schmidt (UMinn)
  • Matt Leitner (Minnesota State)
  • Alex Iafallo (UMD)

Even if Herter would like to stay in Duluth, it is unlikely that current Bulldog head coach Sandelin will be looking to retire or will be let go in the next few years, so Herter will likely need to leave Duluth if he wants to pursue a head-coaching position any time soon. That said, Herter has fewer ties to his current employer than many of the coaches we have profiled, and has shown a willingness to bounce around from Grand Forks to Germany and back to Duluth. Herter may not be looking to get back to any of his former teams or employers and may be looking to set up roots somewhere as his own head coach. While the MTU selection committee shouldn't be deciding the next head coach solely on who may not leave, this may influence the decision in favor of someone like Herter who also has a growing resume.

Jason Herter discussing strategy with the Bulldogs (PHOTO CREDIT: Jim Rosvold)

Jason Herter discussing strategy with the Bulldogs (PHOTO CREDIT: Jim Rosvold)

Why Not

With no ties to MTU, Herter will really need to wow during the interview as many of the other candidates we have profiled appear on paper to have stronger resumes. While his stock is currently very high following the 2017 NCAA National Championship appearance, his experience at the USHL and NCAA levels has all been as an assistant coach.  

Review

We have confirmed with multiple sources that current Minnesota-Duluth Assistant Coach Jason Herter will get an in-person interview for Michigan Tech's head coaching vacancy. While Herter doesn't have ties to MTU or the U.P., he does have assistant-coaching experience at the NCAA level and has head-coaching experience at the both the USHL and U16 levels. He has developed some very talented young players and has a growing pedigree having coached with some well-respected NCAA and NHL coaches. While his willingness to relocate and make a home for himself in Houghton may influence the decision in his favor, his resume certainly shows that he earned his interview.

Feature image courtesy of UMD Athletics.