Mike Harder hired as Colgate head coach
As we reported earlier today for subscribers, Mike Harder has been hired as the new head coach at Colgate. We reported this week that Harder emerged as the favorite (issue #305).
Harder is a Colgate alum and the program’s all-time leading scorer. Harder was an assistant coach under Don Vaughan from 2013-19 and since then has been the hockey director at Reno Ice, a program based out of Reno, Nevada.
Another Colgate alum, Brad Dexter, was the other finalist for the job. Earlier in the process, AIC head coach Eric Lang was a candidate alongside Penn State assistant coach Juliano Pagliero, according to multiple sources.
Harder, 50, is originally from Winnipeg. He played four years at Colgate (1993-97) and was an All-American and Hobey Baker finalist during his senior year. He was inducted into the Colgate Hall of Fame in 2008.
Harder appeared in 134 games for Colgate over his four seasons and finished his NCAA career with 88 goals and 126 assists. He played pro across North America and Europe through the 2009-10 season.
Harder will be formally introduced during a press conference Friday, June 9, at 11 a.m.
"It's a tremendous honor to be coming back to Colgate," Harder said, "I am beyond excited to be part of a program, institution, and community that have meant so much to me over the past thirty years. I look forward to being a part of Colgate's future while continuing Coach Vaughan's legacy of mentoring student-athletes both on and off the ice."
Harder led the team in scoring for four straight seasons. A two-time All-ECAC All-Star, he won the Steve Riggs Memorial Award twice for gentlemanly play and a high standard of ability; the Rob Ries Memorial Award once for a player who provides inspiration and leadership; ECAC Merit Medal; and four times was named Colgate's Best Offensive Player. He was named to the ECAC All-Rookie Team in his first season when he led the nation with six shorthanded goals, and Colgate in scoring with 46 points.
"I am very excited to welcome Mike back to Colgate and the Hamilton community," Colgate's acting athletic director Yariv Amir said. "Coach Harder loves Colgate and he loves the sport of hockey. He demonstrated a deep desire for and commitment to this position during the search process, speaking to his playing and coaching experiences at Colgate and how they nurtured an intellectual curiosity and how he will encourage his team to fully embrace all that Colgate has to offer.
"Coach Harder will lead this program with high energy and enthusiasm. Player and skill development, influenced by his time playing professionally in Europe, plays an important part in his coaching philosophy and will be an emphasis in training. Additionally, he will be a great ambassador on campus, within the community, and among Colgate's hockey alumni. We are very confident that he will be an effective head coach, mentor, and leader for this program."