GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) By any definition, Tim Coghlin has found success at St. Norbert.
In his 25 seasons at SNC, Coach Coghlin has amassed 4 national championships, 8 national title game appearances, and 11 Frozen Four berths, memorials of which are now plastered on the walls of the Cornerstone Ice Center.
Unfortunately for the 2014 national champions, their trophy and team are not on display.
“So what's interesting here is that we won again in 2014,” head coach Tim Coghlin said. “We played the national championship game in 2016. We were back in a Frozen Four again last year in '17, and unfortunately we're just, we're tapped out here, there's no space."
Apparently, the only flaw in St. Norbert's men’s hockey program is that they're earning trophies faster than they can put them up. Coach Coglin’s remedy for that problem is not what you might expect.
“Those trophies are sitting on my desk until we come up with a better plan,” Coach Coghlin said. “I need to take care of these trophies and represent these teams. We just haven't come up with a solution yet."
Until these trophies are given a permanent display arrangement, they are being used as more than just paperweights. They’ve become a recruiting tool.
“I think it's a good problem to have,” Coach Coghlin said. “I think probably when a young man sits in my office and we talk about hockey, and that's the last thing we talk about, and we end with 'Here's the 2014 (trophy), here's the ‘16 runner up (trophy), here's the ‘17 Frozen Four (trophy)' it probably leaves a lasting impression. It's not my first choice. I’d rather have these out in a public space with all of the rest.”
It’s hard to believe that up until the late 90s, SNC men’s hockey didn't have so much as a conference title to boast about.
“When we won our first conference championship, NCHA championship in 1997, we made the banner big,” Coach Coghlin said. “It was for the old De Pere Ice Center, and there was no banners up and we didn't have any history in our program, and so we made it 4 x 8 thinking like we may never have this banner again.”
Seventeen NCHA championships are proof of how incredibly mistaken Coach Coghlin was about the Green Knight dynasty to come and the role he would play in its creation.
“I never wanted to be the coach who stays somewhere for 25 years or 30 years,” Coach Coghlin said. “That never crossed my mind. The early years of building the program starting out were just so hectic and so busy you're not even paying attention to time.”
Coach Coghlin also ignores where he ranks among the greats. He is the 18th winningest coach in NCAA men’s hockey and needs roughly another 500 wins to take the No. 1 spot, so is he willing to ride out another couple decades on the ice to get there?
“No,” Coach Coghlin said. Then, “I guess it’s possible, right?”