On the same day Wisconsin announced a dynamite new coaching staff with a former head coach and one of the respected recruiters in college hockey as an assistant coach, Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis announced that he really doesn't give a shit about Michigan State's hockey program, and that Tom Anastos will return as their head coach.
I might be as big a supporter of Tom Anastos as anyone out there. I really don't think he's a terrible coach. He walked into a disaster of a situation at Michigan State and hasn't been able to pull them out. The problems at Michigan State are real. Nine years of Rick Comley made them irrelevant in terms of recruiting high-end prospects. Their arena sucks. They've sunk enough money into it to keep the lights on and the floor cold, but the money that would have brought them out of the 1980s went instead to renovating basketball offices that were barely ten years old. Mark Hollis had the genius plan to jumpstart the program by painting the blue lines green, only to be publicly shot down by the NCAA a week later, giving you an idea of his level of interest and involvement.
But that's the thing. Anastos isn't going to be able to pull them out of that mess. He hasn't in these past four losing seasons. He won't next year when Michigan State will be absolutely terrible again. The image of the Michigan State hockey program isn't ever going to get better by continuing to lose, and continuing to make hockey look like a complete afterthought. I have no idea who told Hollis things would get better in the next five years, but I promise those people weren't objective members of the hockey world.
It's telling that US NTDP coach and MSU alum Danton Cole reportedly had more interest in the Michigan job, should it open up, than returning to his alma mater. It's telling when the son of Spartan great Dwayne Norris chooses Michigan. It's tough to blame them. The Michigan State they knew, that was a national power, is gone, save the decaying ruins of the arena they played in. All that's left now is a team that barely scraped out 10 wins, and an athletic director that is fine with that.