MARQUETTE - After his Marquette Senior High School hockey team was eliminated in the playoffs Feb. 28, head coach Mike L'Huillier said "we'll regroup next season."
That may be true, but the Redmen will have to do it without L'Huillier.
He announced Wednesday morning he's resigning his post after taking the Redmen to a 7-20 overall record last season in his second stint with the team.
Former MSHS hockey coach Mike L'Huillier.
"It was a tough decision," L'Huillier, 64, said. "I just feel the future of the program is headed in a direction that doesn't align with my coaching style and philosophies.
"There were too many outside influences (this past season). I tried it and it just didn't turn out like I thought. I just think the program has to go in a different direction."
MSHS athletic coordinator Jamie Tuma lauded L'Huillier for his "enthusiasm" for the school's hockey program.
"He stepped in late (last season) and hit the ground running," she said. "From the time he started until (Wednesday), he was thinking Marquette hockey.
"I know this was a hard decision for him. He loved MSHS hockey."
L'Huillier, who posted a 216-66-21 record in his first 11 seasons with the Redmen before leaving in 2004, said coaching is not what it used to be.
"A coach is such a target now," he said. "With computers, cell phones and texting, a coach is under the gun all the time.
"I'm not used to that. I'm used to running my program without anyone interfering."
L'Huillier, who led MSHS to state titles in 1995 and 2004, said his team's disappointing performance last season was a "factor" in his decision to resign.
"But I expected that," he said. "We lost a couple of games in overtime and squandered some two-goal leads in the third period.
"But we got better as the season went along."
Still, L'Huillier said, there was often "some sort of crisis" with the team involving injuries, fights and-or grades.
"I thought I handled it all pretty well," he said. "I was very professional.
"But there comes a point where you have to have the kids like you. Maybe my age has something to do with it, but it was hard to motivate the kids to get them to play the way I wanted them to."
Saying his "heart and soul" is with the MSHS hockey program, L'Huillier would like to stay in coaching in some capacity.
"I hope this is not the end of my coaching career," he said. "Maybe I'll coach Pee Wees or something.
"I have a lot of energy and hockey knowledge to give."
NOTE: Tuma said even though Marquette's hockey season won't start for several months, she'd like to hire L'Huillier's replacement by June 1.
"I'd like to conduct interviews in mid-May," she said, "and have someone lined up to have the summer to plan the program."
Tuma said once she's officially notified by the school district's human resources department L'Huillier has resigned, MSHS will post the opening.
"We'll post it internally and externally for 10 days," she said before continuing the hiring process.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.