Danton Cole (Pontiac, Mich.), who has spent the past seven seasons as a head coach of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, has resigned to become head men’s ice hockey coach of his alma mater, Michigan State University.
“Danton has been such a positive influence and helped take our National Team Development Program forward over the last seven seasons,” said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director for hockey operations at USA Hockey. “It’s certainly a big loss for our program, but we’re extremely happy for him.”
Cole’s tenure was highlighted by a pair of gold medals (2012, 2014) and one bronze medal (2016) at the International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Men’s World Championship, and three top-three finishes at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (2011, 2013, 2014).
Cole’s teams have also found international success with titles at the Under-17 Four Nations (2010, 2012, 2016), Vlad Dzurilla (2011), Under-18 Five Nations (2011, 2015) and Under-18 Four Nations (2014) tournaments.
“We’ve been fortunate to have someone with the experience level and passion for development that Danton brought to the NTDP each and every day over the course of the past seven seasons,” said Scott Monaghan, senior director of operations for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. “He has been a great teacher of the game to our players and a mentor to young coaches as well. We wish him nothing but the best at Michigan State.”
An assistant coach with the bronze medal-winning U.S. Men’s National Team at the 2013 IIHF Men’s World Championship and U.S. National Junior Team at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, Cole also spent time as a head coach in both the college and professional ranks before joining USA Hockey’s NTDP. From 2007-10, he served as head coach of the University of Alabama-Huntsville and spent the 2006-07 season as an assistant coach with Bowling Green State University. Additionally, Cole guided teams in the American Hockey League, International Hockey League and United Hockey League.
Cole was a four-year standout as a player at Michigan State (1985-89) and helped the Spartans claim the 1986 NCAA Division I national championship his freshman year. During his collegiate career, he was recognized with the 1989 Big Ten Medal of Honor and honored three times as a member of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association All-Academic Team.
A nationwide search for Cole’s replacement will begin immediately.