The Tech Hockey Guide staff brainstormed potential candidates and settled on our top picks. Through the next few weeks we will break down potential candidates while discussing pedigree as a player and coach as well as likelihood of being Coach Pearson’s replacement. Yesterday afternoon, we profiled Brett Larson of UMD. Now, we’ll take a look at Mark Osiecki, current assistant head coach at the University of Wisconsin and former head coach at Ohio State.
Mark Osiecki has a long coaching history and strong ties to the state of Wisconsin, but he has also shown a willingness to move around the country for coaching positions. Osiecki checks off almost all of the boxes MTU is looking for except one: he likely doesn’t want to leave the University of Wisconsin for Michigan Tech. Besides that, MTU should be at least attempting to pursue him. Osiecki comes with an impressive resume and the experience Tech needs in the next head coach.
Birthplace: St Paul, MN
Position: Assistant Coach at the University of Wisconsin
College: University of Wisconsin
As a defenseman, Osiecki had 48 total points (6G, 42A) in his three years with the 1987-1990 Wisconsin Badgers. He wore the Alternate “A” in 1989-1990, and won the 1990 NCAA National Championship. After two years and 93 games in the NHL, Osiecki ended his player career in the 1994-95 season with the Minnesota Moose (IHL).
Osiecki started his coaching career off on the best possible foot, winning the 1997 NCAA National Championship as an assistant to Dean Blais at the University of North Dakota. He left UND right after, trading the National Championship for seven years as head coach of the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) where he went 209-164-43. Osiecki returned to his alma matter in Madison as an assistant coach in 2004, where the Badgers won the 2006 NCAA National Championship and appeared in the 2010 NCAA National Championship. After the 2010 season, Osiecki left Madison to take the head coach spot for the Ohio State Buckeyes. OSU went 46-40-16 under his leadership. From there, Osiecki did a three-year stint as an assistant with the Rockford Ice Hogs (AHL) before returning to Madison in 2016.
Osiecki checks off a lot of what Tech is looking for. He has held three NCAA National Championship trophies in his player and coaching career (the most of any candidate we’ve profiled), and been in a fourth national championship game as an assistant at Wisconsin. Aside from the hardware, Osiecki has several years of NCAA and USHL head coaching experience and experience in the AHL.
As you may expect, the list of players Osiecki has coached and/or recruited in his 21 years of coaching is very impressive. The Badgers had eight NHL draftees on their roster in the 2016-2017 season alone. This list is by no means exhaustive:
- Ryan McDonagh (UW)
- David Hoogsteen (UND)
- Tanner Kero (Rockford)
- Brendan Smith (UW)
- Adam Burish (Green Bay)
- Derek Stepan (UW)
- Jason Black (UND)
- Justin Schultz (UW)
It should also be noted that Osiecki coached Copper Country favorite Peter Rouleau during his time with the Gamblers. Rouleau had 17 points in the 2003-04 season with Finlandia and 61 points with the Huskies in 2005-08.
MTU does have the draw of having a coaching staff that currently includes Osiecki’s former teammate and friend from the Wisconsin 1990 NCAA National Championship team, Gary Schuckuk. Shuchuck is also Osiecki’s former colleague at UW, and a fellow THG Head Coach Candidate.
By all accounts, Osiecki won’t be leaving the University of Wisconsin for Houghton any time soon. With his pedigree as it is, he would likely only be looking to leave the comfort of his alma matter in Madison for the head coaching role at a large university program. Osiecki is making “head coach money” in his role at Wisconsin, and currently makes $200k annually in his assistant coach role.
Osiecki is something of a fantasy candidate, having a long coaching history in the USHL, NCAA and AHL. He has been a part of four NCAA National Championship games, as well as coaching and playing with some very recognizable names. However, given his current situation and salary with the University of Wisconsin, the Tech decision committee would have an uphill battle to pry him away from Madison if they were to pursue him, even if his resume may be worth it.
Photo courtesy of Greg Andersen, UW Athletics