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Gadowsky at Penn State: Men's Ice Hockey to Follow 'Values that Coach Paterno Started'

on April 26, 2011 7:32 AM

Touting values, a desire to grab the Penn State spirit, and his on-ice accomplishments, Guy Gadowsky was introduced as the university's first NCAA Division I men's ice-hockey coach on Monday afternoon.

His press conference was held at Beaver Stadium, the home to legendary coach Joe Paterno, whom Gadowsky referenced many times.

Director of Athletics Tim Curley said Gadowsky is distinguished by his "passion for the student-athlete" and how that translates to the respect he has gained from his past players at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and Princeton.

"Academics is a huge goal of what we [will] do. There will be a 100 percent graduation rate here. ... Aside from players signing professional contracts, we're going to follow the values that Coach Paterno started here," Gadowsky said when asked about building a Penn State program.

Gadowsky has shaken up two programs that were in the cellar and taken them to national prominence. Within three years at Alaska-Fairbanks, Gadowsky took a team that had won 15 combined games in his first two seasons and led it to 22 wins in its third season, good enough to achieve a No. 11 ranking in Division I that year.

He steadily improved the Princeton program once he arrived there in 2004, and took that program to the NCAAs twice during his tenure. He earned national coach-of-the-year honors from Inside College Hockey during the 2007-2008 campaign.

In his seven years at Princeton, Gadowsky went 105-109-15.

Asked how he will use his experience rebuilding programs to build the Penn State program from scratch, he said the values and tradition of winning are around found in Happy Valley and that Penn State will be a great sell when he recruits players locally, nationwide and even from Canada and Europe.

According to Joe Battista, associate athletics director, Gadowsky was the No. 1 choice among the three finalists his search committee selected. The other finalists were Wisconsin women's hockey coach Mark Johnson and University of Minnesota-Duluth men's coach Scott Sandelin, who led his team to a national championship this year.

When Gadowsky met with benefactor Terry Pegula, who has committed $88 million to help start the Division I program at Penn State, Pegula reportedly said that "this is our guy" immediately. Their meeting happened at the Buffalo Sabres-Philadelphia Flyers playoff game on Friday night.

After the Monday press conference, Gadowsky added that his hockey philosophy is modeled after the team he watched in Edmonton as he grew up in the 1980s. Watching greats Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier instilled the fast-style type of play in him, he said.

"We're going to score goals," Gadowsky said. "We're gonna play fast. We might get caught in odd-man rushes every once in a while and give up a few goals, but we're going to try and score more of them."

He will have a chance to implement that philosophy beginning next year, when he will coach the Icers club team for the season.

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