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L’Huillier hoping to replace Papin as Marquette Redmen head hockey coach

August 23, 2012
By CRAIG REMSBURG - Senior Sports Writer ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - Former Marquette Senior High School head hockey coach Mike L'Huillier would like to coach the Redmen again.

Currently the MSHS assistant hockey coach, he told The Mining Journal on Wednesday he has applied for the job vacated by Joe Papin after eight seasons. Papin resigned to "recharge the batteries."

L'Huillier is one of two applicants for the post, according to MSHS athletics coordinator Jamie Tuma. She said she's prohibited from naming the other candidate.

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Tuma said she and an interview committee will talk to the applicants "within the next two weeks."

"I'd like to have someone in place (then)," she added.

L'Huillier, 63, who coached the Redmen varsity icers for 11 seasons, said the MSHS hockey program "is part of me."

"I love coaching hockey and love Marquette," the retiree said. "If I get the job, I'm looking forward to it."

He added the Redmen, who went 12-10-3 overall last season, will "definitely" undergo a rebuilding process in 2012-13.

"We lost 3-4 players to the Marquette Electricians (Midget AAA) and seven seniors from last year," L'Huillier said. "But I enjoy rebuilding teams, starting over from scratch."

L'Huillier posted a 216-66-21 overall record as the Marquette head hockey coach. He took the Redmen to state titles in 1995 and 2004 and this spring entered the Michigan High School Hockey Coaches Hall of Fame.

He has served as the MSHS assistant the past four seasons - his second stint as an assistant after serving as former MSHS head coach Gerry Sullivan's right-hand man for nine seasons.

Papin, who posted a 155-35-14 overall record during his varsity tenure, took over for L'Huillier beginning with the 2004-05 season. Papin had served as an assistant to L'Huillier for four years prior to taking the top post.

"When I originally took the (head) job, I figured I'd do it for five years," Papin said. "I'm not one of those guys who coaches for 30 years."

He added he had thought about resigning "for a couple of years," but made up his mind about a month ago.

"I don't have a 110 percent drive to coach," Papin said. "If I don't have that, I don't want to cheat the kids.

"(Still), it's no doubt a tough decision."

He was part of two MSHS state championship teams (2004 and 2008), coached the Redmen to two state runner-up finishes and was named the Great Lakes Hockey Conference Coach of the Year eight times.

"It's all about love of the game," Papin said. "I enjoy working with student-athletes."

Scheduling, compiling team statistics and organizing team benefit golf outings, among other non-ice duties, came to be too much, he said.

"Getting your players to buy into what you're coaching is also tough. You have to have success as a team and not a bunch of individuals," he said.

"You don't feel quite as effective as a coach if the players aren't buying into what you want."

Papin has recommended L'Huillier take over the program, citing the latter's "passion" for Redmen hockey as a major factor why.

Don't rule out Papin as a future MSHS hockey assistant coach again, however.

"I might be an assistant again," he said. "That way, I can just hang out with the kids."

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.



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