Sauer – the sixth-winningest coach in college history
– writes a bi-weekly column for Inside College Hockey.com.
"The Dean" was the head coach for 31 years at Colorado
College and Wisconsin, where he won two national titles. Sauer
retired at the end of the 2001-02 season. He was the 2003
Snooks Kelley Award winner for contributions to U.S. hockey
and ranked 16th on INCH's list of the all-time greatest
college hockey coaches.
listening pleasure, find The
Bud Song on Wisconsin's official site.
the fun in doing this column is the opportunity to interact
with you, the hockey fan. Please send your questions or comments
Dean's List by Jeff Sauer
Growing up in
St. Paul, I used to read Don Riley, a Pioneer Press columnist
who regularly devoted a segment periodically to "Readers always
write." I think he used a bit of poetic license to spice up
some of the letters he received and then comment on.
As a coach I
used to always get letters too. Now that I've done this for a year
I have found columnists get notes as well.
Like the letters
a coach gets, I notice some mail for columnists is unsigned. Most
have been quite nice, however.
As a coach much
of your mail has to do with suggestions or coaching tips on how
to make the team better. Fans are not shy about that. Others are
from recruits or their moms telling you how their hockey-playing
sons are good at cleaning their rooms or washing their clothes when
they aren't scoring goals or stopping the puck.
Mail to coaches
has changed as technology changed. Now e-mails are more prevalent
as well as videos. Moms and dads will send coaches tapes of recruits.
Part of the problem is that these recruiting tapes often show Junior
Player taking water breaks or sitting in the penalty box as much
as passing, setting up goals or scoring. It's tough to judge the
flow of the game.
So getting correspondence
is definitely part of a coach's responsibility. So too, I have learned,
is it a part of a columnist's job . Here's some recent mail from
our loyal readers:
on choosing a college if you are one of those cusp players: top
line D3 or 3rd line D1?
This is a really
good question. And the answer differs for each individual. Each
player has to decide which is the best situation for them based
on what type of education they want to receive in addition to what
type of experience in hockey they wish to have.
If a player
wants to go to a Division I school, he or she has to realize the
commitment to travel, off-season training and the other factors
that go into Division I hockey. If he wants to attend a Division
III school, the chances of playing in the National Hockey League
So it comes
down to if you have always aspired to play a limited role at a Division
I school, after you have weighed all the pros and cons of the school
from an academic and lifestyle standpoint, go for it. The competition
is going to better, the ice time less.
If your life
goal doesn't include the NHL and you like the school academically,
D-III may be a better option. You are going to play more and probably
have more success.
decision you make, you will have a good experience and get your
your column on some of the greatest college hockey coaches of all-time
very much. However, when you mentioned "Pioneers" of the
profession, I believe you left one very important name off your
former coach at Army for 36 years (1951-86), elevated the status
of college hockey and contributed to its growing popularity just
as much as his peers whom you mentioned in your article. Eighteen
years after his retirement, he still stands ninth on the all-time
wins list. When he retired, Riley was second all-time.
fact is often overshadowed by Team USA's "Miracle on Ice"
in 1980, Riley guided a bunch of college kids who were just as much
an underdog to the gold medal at the 1960 Olympic Games.
membership in both the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame and the International
Hockey Hall of Fame and is a former Lester Patrick Award winner.
that somebody is always overlooked or left off lists such as the
one you constructed. However, I just wanted to remind the college
hockey fanbase of a very deserving candidate.
Asst. Media Relations Dir.
U.S. Military Academy
West Point, N.Y
about hockey coaches you've coached against and have known was super.
I'm a big Amo Bessone fan, one of my favorites of all time. He helped
me when I was beginning my newspaper career. You mentioned Amo inviting
you over for spaghetti after a game – typical Amo.
a Monday press conference, I got there early, and Amo was gushing
about a new crepe recipe he found. He wanted to know if I liked
crepes; this rough, gruff hockey coach talking crepes. What a guy.
time, I went to a Blueline lunch and Amo made sure to introduce
me to some guy named Herb Brooks. Amo warned me about playing Minnesota,
how tough they were, how big, how fast.
I think it was, Minnesota and Michigan State played a game to determine
who went to the Final Four in Denver. MSU was losing, 6-2, in the
second period, but tied it. Minnesota finally won in the 3rd overtime.
I'll never forget the look on Amo's face when I found him in his
office after the game.
It was his
last legitimate shot at a national title That was the very best
game, in any sport, I've ever covered or watched –
so draining I couldn't study for my finals ...
your personal touch about these very special coaches and teachers
I am glad people
enjoyed that column and ceratinly I didn't mean to overlook anyone.
Jack Riley was one of the pioneers of the game. His credentials
speak for themselves.
I remember as
a young coach attending one of my first Final Fours in Boston. Coaches
had their annual meetings at the tournament in those days. I remember
it was the Parker House in Boston and there was Coach Riley with
Jack Kelly of BU and Snooks Kelley of BC, Ned Harkness and all the
guys like Amo from the West. It made an impression on a young coach
of the game paved the way so that college hockey could be the great
game it is today.