Wednesday, August 28, 2013

DIII Manhattanville Adds A Hired Hand

Josh Hand, Penn State's volunteer goaltending coach during the 2012-2013 inaugural NCAA season, has left to become the community relations coordinator for Manhattanville College athletics. He'll also assist with the Valiants' NCAA Division III men's and women's hockey programs.

Hand, a former goalie at NCAA Division III Concordia (MN) (2004-2008) and assistant coach/hockey director at ACHA Division 2 Texas A&M (2008-2010), first came to PSU as an assistant coach with the Icers for the 2010-2011 season. He then played a vital, yet underrated, role in Penn State's transition to NCAA status.

PSU struggled through much of that 2010-2011 season and, after two January losses at Ohio, was on the verge of missing the ACHA National Tournament for the first time ever. However, the team righted itself during the second half of the year, including while head coach Scott Balboni was in Turkey as part of Team USA's World University Games coaching staff in late January and early February. Hand led the Icers in Balboni's absence, a stretch involving a pair of wins and a shootout loss in tough series against Delaware and Rhode Island that more or less ensured the Icers' qualification for nationals.

Crucially, he was the team's recruiting coordinator as well and his work in the spring of 2011 helped lay the foundation for where the Nittany Lions stand today. With Balboni's future uncertain - not to mention his own - Hand spearheaded PSU's early 2011-2012 recruiting efforts that landed players like Jacob Friedman and Peter Sweetland, both of whom are still with the NCAA program.

Guy Gadowsky was hired for the Icers' final season in April, 2011 and shortly after brought his assistants at Princeton, Keith Fisher and Matt Lindsay, with him. Hand was able to stay in Hockey Valley by moving into the head coach role for the ACHA D2 Ice Lions, guiding the team to one of its most successful seasons ever: 30-3-0 (including a 25-game winning streak), the MACHA regular season and playoff titles, and an appearance at the D2 national championships in Fort Myers, FL.

During that season, he also worked with the Icers' goalies, something that continued with the Nittany Lions for the 2012-2013 season. Under his tutelage, goalies Matt Skoff and P.J. Musico blossomed, representing one of PSU's strengths last year.

With Manhattanville, which is located in Purchase, NY, Hand joins a pair of hockey programs that have seen a lot of success despite just 14 years of history. From 2005-2008 the Valiant men appeared in four NCAA Tournaments, including a DIII Frozen Four in 2007, and the team has six ECAC West regular season or playoff championships to its credit. Head coach Arlen Marshall is entering his second year following up a 15-10-3 mark in 2012-2013. The women have been even more successful, with eight total NCAA appearances (seven in a row from 2002-2008) including participation in the 2002, 2003 and 2008 national championship games. David Turco is entering his third year in charge of the program with a 33-18-5 record.

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