While no names have officially been released, a source close to the situation has given VBR some interesting insight on how the Penn State hockey coach search is coming along.
The buzz within the higher ups of the press puts Mark Johnson on the bench when Penn State drops the puck. Johnson, the current Wisconsin Women’s hockey, and United State’s women’s hockey coach, is more famously known for his role in the “Miracle on Ice” where he scored 2 goals in the United State’s upset of the Soviet Union. Athletic Director for Ice Arena Operations Joe Battista has already been in contact with several coaching candidates where Johnson is reportedly a front runner. While this could not be confirmed or denied when asked about Johnson’s future with Penn State:
Penn State’s new D1 Hockey program has been inundated with coaching inquiries. My understanding is that a short list is ready. One is a successful head coach, others are associate head coaches from some of the best NCAA Ice Hockey Programs
While this does not mean Johnson is headed to Penn State, the description of the short list combined with the knowledge that Johnson has been on Penn State’s radar, it seems highly likely that the buzz around Johnson has some truth to it. Penn State’s interest in growing the program at a rapid rate makes Johnson an extremely hot commodity. International name recognition combined with a state of the art facility could propel Penn State into the thick of college hockey. It isn’t impossible to see hockey take basketball over as Penn State’s #2 highest grossing sport and Penn State knows that. Mark Johnson fits the part, hopefully he feels the same way.