Michigan State today announced Danton Cole will be the next head coach for the Spartans.
For many in the Michigan State community, Cole’s hiring corrects a mistake made by the Spartans six years ago when Cole, the presumed favorite for the job, was passed over for the job in favor of then-CCHA commissioner Tom Anastos.
Cole was a four-year letter winner at Michigan State during the programs’s heyday, including winning a national title in 1986 as a sophomore. He would serve as the team’s alternate captain in each of the next two seasons and score over 50 points in each season.
After Michigan State, he embarked on a professional hockey career that included over 300 games in the NHL with five different franchises. When he retired from pro hockey in 1999, he began his coaching career as an assistant coach in the minor leagues.
He joined the college coaching ranks in 2005 when he became an assistant coach at Bowling Green. After two seasons in Bowling Green, he was hired as head coach at Alabama-Huntsville where he amassed an overall record of 23-59-12.
Since leaving Huntsville in 2010, Cole has worked with the US National Team Development Program, where he has won a pair of gold medals and a bronze medal at the IIHF World U18 Championships.
As hires go, Cole is likely a safer choice for Michigan State than Tom Anastos was, though it’s difficult to imagine who would even be a wilder pick than Anastos was when he was hired. Cole will have a difficult task ahead in rebuilding Michigan State’s program, but should bring a passion and spirit to the job to give his best attempt at it.