Oct. 2, 2006
OXFORD, Ohio - Former Miami University and current University of Denver head hockey coach George Gwozdecky will become the newest member of Miami's fabled Cradle of Coaches Association over Homecoming weekend when his Pioneer hockey team visits Oxford for the 2006 Ice Breaker Invitational on Oct. 6-7. Gwozdecky, who served as Miami's head coach for five seasons from 1989-94, is the first hockey coach to be enshrined into the group that includes such coaching legends as Bo Schembechler (football), Ara Parseghian (football) and Woody Hayes (football).
The Cradle of Coaches Association was established in 1971 to acknowledge the role Miamians have played in establishing Miami University as the `Cradle of Coaches'. The inaugural class of inductees entered the Association in 1992. Gwozdecky will be the organization's 45th inductee when he is honored during the second intermission of the hockey game between Miami and Denver on Oct. 6, and then again during halftime of Miami's Homecoming football game versus Northern Illinois on Oct. 8.
"The impact that members of the Miami coaching fraternity have had across the nation is a profound one and George Gwozdecky is a glowing example of the types of leaders that have called Miami home," said Brad Bates, Miami University's Director of Athletics. "He left an indelible mark on our hockey program, our athletic department and our University, and he has continued to forge a legacy of excellence at Denver."
Gwozdecky inherited a team that went 11-27-0 in 1988-89, the year prior to his arrival in Oxford, and in just four seasons he brought Miami its first Central Collegiate Hockey Association crown and took the Red and White its first NCAA Tournament in 1992-93. For his efforts during that storied season, the 1978 graduate of the University of Wisconsin became the first Miami hockey coach to win the Spencer Penrose National Coach of the Year Award.
"I am honored to be inducted into the Miami University Cradle of Coaches Association," DU head coach George Gwozdecky said. "I enjoyed my five years at Miami and have special memories of the University and its hockey program. I am thankful to Steve Cady and the Miami administration for giving me my first head coaching opportunity. My family and I are looking forward to this weekend's hockey tournament and the Cradle of Coaches festivities."
In 20 seasons as a head coach, `Gwoz', as he is affectionately known in college hockey circles, has been behind the bench for 426 victories, 83 of which came with Miami. Since departing Miami for Denver at the beginning of the 1994-95 season, he has posted a 276-176-36 record over 12 seasons, including back-to-back national championships in 2004 and 2005 and a second Spencer Penrose Award in 2005.
"What makes George such a successful coach is his ability to motivate and get the most out of his players," said Steve Cady, Miami's senior associate director of athetics and the first varsity hockey coach in Miami history. "His teams are always focused and ready to play, and that is a direct reflection of the leadership that he provides."
Current Miami hockey coach Enrico Blasi, the 2006 recipient of the Spencer Penrose Award, played at Miami under Gwozdecky and was an assistant captain on the 1992-93 team. Blasi received his start in coaching from Gwozdecky at Denver in 1995 and spent four seasons as a member of the DU staff before returning to Miami as its head hockey coach prior the 1999-2000 season.
"I was unbelievably fortunate to have been able to learn from George both as a player and as a coach," said Blasi. "His impact is still felt on our program every day, as he helped lay the foundation upon which we are still building. That is certainly something we have not forgotten."
It is only fitting that Gwozdecky and his Denver Pioneers be part of this season's Ice Breaker Invitational, an annual tournament that serves as the official beginning of the college hockey season. The tournament also will usher in a new era in Miami hockey as the RedHawks have moved into a new home -- Steve Cady Arena at the Goggin Ice Center -- a $34-million state-of-the-art facility that will be dedicated when Miami and Denver faceoff at 8:05 p.m. on Oct. 6.
DU head hockey coach George Gwozdecky to join Miami's Cradle of Coaches Association this weekend.