Sean Hogan is on a Mission< < Back to
Sean Hogan knows all about OHIO Hockey’s rich and successful history. He sees the multitude of championship banners hanging triumphantly above historic Bird Arena’s ice every day as he walks to the locker room. He remembers nearly every story from Ohio Hockey alumni about the ‘golden days’ under legendary coaches Dan Morris who won national titles at Ohio as both a player and coach, and John McComb.
Hogan even smells it in the same, familiar funk that has settled in Bird after 60 years of operation. It’s a major reason why Hogan accepted the team’s head coaching position in 2014, and after four years with the program, he is hungry to deliver on the promise he made to Ohio and its fans: an American Collegiate Hockey Association National Championship.
Hogan is no stranger to success. He came to Ohio after highly successful stints with the University of Arizona and Oakland University.
While coaching Oakland, Hogan took the Grizzlies to back-to-back championships, first as a DII program in 2005-2006 and next as a DI program in 2006-2007. In doing so, Hogan became the first head coach in ACHA history to win a DII and DI National Championship.
In Arizona, Hogan brought Wildcats Hockey to national prominence and captured the team’s first ACHA tournament bid in 2006. In his final season as head coach in 2013-2014, the team finished with 17 wins and defeated seven top-ten opponents.
As former captain and current assistant coach Michael Harris points out, if anybody knows what it takes to get the job done, it’s Hogan.
“He tells us, ‘I’ve been there, I know how it works. I need you to trust me, I need you guys to buy in’. It shows with our team’s success every year, it does work.” Harris said.
Harris was a junior when Hogan was named head coach and played under Hogan for two years. In the pair’s first season together, Hogan led Harris and the Bobcats to a 27-7-6 record and captured the team’s first Central States Collegiate Hockey League regular season championship since 2009. However, OHIO was bounced in the tournament’s Round of 8 by perennial powerhouse Minot State. As a senior, Harris captained OHIO to 29 regular season games but fell to lower-seeded Lebanon Valley in the Round of 16. Though he and Hogan could not collaborate on a championship, Harris loved working with Hogan so much he decided to come back to Athens to learn some more from him.
“He leans a lot on his seniors, his captains, and now that I’m coaching with him he leans a lot on my opinion as well. So, I mean it’s somebody I look up to as a coach and a person and it’s nice to pick certain things off of what he does.” Harris said.
Last year, Hogan led OHIO to its first National Championship appearance since Morris won it as head coach in 2004. To Hogan’s dismay, the ultimate goal was still not realized, as his team fell short in the final to the University of Central Oklahoma.
In leading OHIO to the final, Hogan became the first head coach in ACHA history to lead two separate programs to the National Championship game and the first coach to lead three teams to the National Tournament. Though OHIO finished with its highest ranking since 2003, being the second best team in the country was no consolation to Hogan.
It made him even hungrier.
This year, Hogan’s Bobcats are 17-4-1, fresh off a sweep of the Delaware University Blue Hens to end the first semester. Though injuries to many of the team’s players has forced Hogan to draw from a shallow, 20-man bench, OHIO has ripped off wins in 10 of its last 12 contests against some of the most formidable competition in the ACHA.
The team has received major contributions from seniors Mike Palasics, Jake Faiella and Drew Crandall, as well as help from sophomore forward Gianni Evangelisti, OHIO’s leading point-getter, and goaltender Jimmy Thomas, who has started the team’s last 20 games, earning 16 wins in the process.
Hogan has worked well to put the pieces of the Bobcats metaphorical jigsaw puzzle together. At the midpoint, he once again looks like a good bet to finally deliver on his promise. He salivates at the thought of it.
“For our guys, and for what Ohio Hockey has been about, Bird Arena and the banners,” Hogan said, trying his best to conceal his eager excitement.
“To bring home another one after such and extended period of time would be an exceptionally good time for I’m sure a whole week.”
For more updates on Hogan and the Bobcats, check out ohiobobcatshockey.com.