One year after hiring Grant Potulny to a five-year contract worth $196,100 per year, Northern Michigan, the Wildcats announced a massive contract extension for Potulny, totaling eight years at $285,000 per year.
The contract comes on the heels of an extremely successful first year behind the for Potulny. The Wildcats finished the season 25-15-3 and in second place in the WCHA, a year after going 13-22-4 and finishing in eighth place in the league. Potulny was honored as WCHA Coach of the Year for the effort.
It also comes after some interest in Potulny for other jobs around the country. Potulny reportedly interviewed for the vacant Minnesota head coaching position, though the job ultimately went to Minnesota’s top choice in the more-experience Bob Motzko. Potulny was also rumored as a candidate for the now-vacated St. Cloud State head coaching position. Potulny’s contract includes a buy-out to be paid should Potulny leave for another job, though the buy-out, which starts at $250,000 and decreases in value each of the first five years of the contract, wouldn’t necessarily be prohibitive for a number of schools if they were interested a few years down the road.
The extension shows an impressive commitment by Northern Michigan to their hockey team, and a strong desire to remain one of the “haves” in the increasingly stratified WCHA. One good season is a relatively slim track record. Especially considering the eventual make-up for Potulny’s team will look markedly different than this year’s squad once he begins bringing in more of his own recruits. But the circumstances of the situation dictated Northern Michigan act, and they’re now extremely committed to Potulny and their hockey program.