COLUMBUS, Ohio – Steve Miller has been named associate head coach for the Ohio State men’s hockey program, Steve Rohlik, Ohio State head coach, announced Friday. Miller, who has coached three NCAA Championship teams, was an assistant coach for Team USA when it won the gold medal at the 2017 World Junior Championships.
Most recently, Miller served as the director of hockey at Air Force the last two seasons. In 2017 the squad won the Atlantic Hockey Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals, falling to Harvard, 3-2.
A winner of the prestigious AHCA Terry Flanagan Award, Miller helped coach Providence to its first NCAA title and was on staff for two NCAA titles with Denver. During his 19 and a half years with the Pioneers, Miller worked with all aspects of the team, with a focus on the defense. He recruited two defensemen who went on to win the Hobey Baker Memorial Award – Matt Carle in 2006 and Will Butcher in 2017.
“Steve is one of the most respected coaches in college hockey,” Rohlik said. “He is outstanding at developing players and brings a great deal of championship experience to our team. We are thrilled to have him as a Buckeye. We can’t wait for the season to start.”
In January, Miller and Team USA, including Buckeye rising sophomore Tanner Laczynski, won gold at the World Junior Championships, going 7-0 in the tournament. Miller will reprise his role with Team USA at the 2018 event in Buffalo, N.Y., Dec. 26-Jan. 5.
Prior to Air Force, Miller spent the 2014-15 season at Providence as the associate head coach, as the Friars claimed the NCAA Championship, defeating Boston University in the title game, 4-3, at TD Garden in Boston. He was the first general manager and head coach of the Madison Capitols in the United States Hockey League after a long career at the University of Denver.
Miller spent 19 and a half years as an assistant and associate head coach at Denver, helping the Pioneers win back-to-back NCAA Championships in 2004 and in Columbus in 2005. During his time with DU, the team won three WCHA regular season championships and claimed the WCHA Final Five title four times. With the Pioneers, Miller coached and recruited 41 NHL draft choices and 55 All-WCHA selections, with 15 All-Americans and two Hobey Baker Memorial Award winners.
“I am honored and humbled to join such a prestigious institution and build on what Coach Rohlik and the student-athletes have achieved,” Miller said. “There are great things on the horizon for this program. I am excited to get going.”
In 2009, Miller was honored with the American Hockey Coaches Association’s (AHCA) Terry Flanagan Award, which recognizes an assistant coach’s career body of work.
Miller began his coaching career at his alma mater, St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. The squad won the 1989 MIAC playoff championship and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. He moved from there to Miami University, where he spent two seasons as a graduate assistant coach under head coach George Gwozdecky, winning the program’s first CCHA title in 1993. Miller moved with Gwozdecky to Denver in 1994.
At St. Mary’s, Miller played three years of varsity hockey. He was named the team’s Most Inspirational Player as both a sophomore and senior and earned Most Improved Player honors as a sophomore. In 1988 he helped St. Mary’s to its first MIAC championship in 23 years and the team set the school record for victories in a season (22), a mark that still stands.
Miller, who was inducted into the Sun Prairie High School Wall of Success in 2008, and his wife, Heidi, have three children, a daughter, Alexis, and sons, Cole and Connor.
The Buckeyes were 21-12-6 in 2016-17 and earned an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament, marking the squad’s first appearance since 2009. The team led the NCAA on the power play (31.6 percent) and was third nationally in goals per game (3.92). The squad opens its regular season Oct. 6-7 at Wisconsin and hosts RPI Oct. 13-14 to begin its home regular season slate.
Buckeye Hockey Update – Jan. 15