NMU AD Karr introduces new hockey coach

Forrest Karr, Northern Michigan University, NMU athletic director

MARQUETTE — Over the course of the last year, the Northern Michigan University athletic department has gone through a lot as several sports went through coaching changes.

However, the last position got filled on Tuesday when Grant Potulny was introduced at the new men’s hockey coach. Potulny was selected out of 69 candidates and Wildcats athletic director Forrest Karr said it was a tough decision.

“This was very difficult,” he said. “I really feel that 13 of 15 finalists were outstanding candidates and could’ve done a great job here. Just that step from going from 15 to five was a difficult task.”

Potulny comes in as only the third head coach in program history and at age 37, he is now the youngest coach in the WCHA. He also doesn’t have any head coaching experience, which some might see as a concern, but Karr doesn’t feel the same way.

“I don’t think age makes any difference,” he said. “I’ve hired great coaches in their 50s and 60s and ones in their early 20s. When you look at successful coaches in the WCHA and you look at their resumes, at some point, somebody believed in them and gave them a chance. This is Grant’s opportunity. This is his time and it’s up for us to be supportive and help him be successful.”

With Potulny in place, all of the head coaching hires have been completed, and Karr is hoping that things are on solid ground.

“I just hope to have some stability going forward,” he said. “Historically, there has been a lot of stability and due to some different circumstances, we have had a few coaching changes. But I think we have good new ones and we just need to do what we can to help them be successful.”

When asked about what he hopes for the hockey program for the near future, Karr feels like things are moving in the right direction and that Potulny will help with that.

“Do I hope we can score more and win more? Yeah, everyone hopes for that,” he said. “At the end of the day, I just want to give the student athletes the opportunity to be the best they can be. By hiring Grant, I think we’re doing that.”

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.