Western Michigan announced on Tuesday that head coach Andy Murray was resigning after 10 years in Kalamazoo. Assistant Pat Ferschweiler will take over as the program’s new head coach.
Murray came to Western Michigan in 2011 after a long stint as an NHL head coach with the Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues. That credibility, along with his attention to detail as a coach immediately improved Western Michigan’s team in the dying days of the old CCHA after years of being a conference doormat and helped the Broncos earn an invitation to the NCHC.
Murray finishes his time at Western Michigan with a career record of 167-156-43. The Broncos won a CCHA playoff championship in his first season of 2011, and also made two appearances in the NCAA Tournament under Murray.
Ferschweiler was a natural choice to take over for Murray. A former four-year letterwinner and captain at Western Michigan, he began his coaching career by starting the Russell Stover AAA hockey program in Kansas City. Ferschweiler moved back to his alma mater in 2010, where he worked for five seasons before taking a job on Jeff Blashill’s staff in the Detroit Red Wings organization. After five seasons in the NHL, he returned to Western Michigan as the team’s associate head coach.
Western Michigan should be in a pretty good place next season, despite Murray’s departure. Three of the team’s top five scorers last season were seniors, who have since chosen to return for the extra season granted by the NCAA due to the pandemic. The team also returns star defenseman Ronnie Attard, who chose not to sign with the Philadelphia Flyers. If goalie Brandon Bussi, who only played four games last year due to an early-season injury, returns to form, the Broncos could be in contention at the top of the NCHC next season.