Coaching at the collegiate level is not for the faint of heart. Most positions have a short half-life.
That’s what makes winning for as long as hockey head coach Bob Daniels has even more impressive. A head coach who has been winning games since the 1990s is something that is very rare. With a win on January 25 against Michigan Tech, Coach Daniels joined nine active coaches who had achieved this feat, having coached in the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, and now the 2020s.
Head Coach Bob Daniels laughed when he commented on the prospect of coaching in four different decades.
“It makes me feel old, and I don’t feel that old, I honestly don’t feel that I’ve worked here for 28 years,” Daniels said. It feels like I’ve worked here for maybe ten. So it’s kind of mind-boggling. I never would’ve thought of that. I have mixed emotions on our success because the last two seasons haven’t been as successful as I would’ve liked.”
Daniels is also 1 of 40 coaches in the history of collegiate hockey to have more than 400 wins in his career with 454 wins in his career. He is also 1 of 25 coaches to reach that milestone with one team in his career.
Over the years he has had a lot of help, something of which he has attributed much of his success to. Associate head coach Drew Famulak has coached alongside Daniels for 27 years. He is the main person who handles recruiting. Assistant coach Mark Kaufman has been with Ferris for 14 years and handles defensive players and penalty kills. Coordinator of athletic performance coach Dave Cencer has been with the program for 14 years and handles goal tending, strength and conditioning and video.
“Any one of the four of us is available to help any of the players if they have questions. So, it helps that we have been together so long as a staff so that our answers have been consistent between the four of us,” Daniels said.
The extra experience the coaches bring to the table has helped the players consistently improve. Sophomore forward Liam MacDougall spoke on how experience from the coaches has helped him develop as a player, specifically Daniels.
“He’s seen a lot, so he knows when to let us be and when to tell us what to do. He’s been at Ferris for 25 plus years so there is no shortage of experience which helps us a lot,” MacDougall said. “Coach Famulak and coach Kaufman help out a lot because you can’t go to Bob all the time, they are just as experienced as he is. They are two good mediators who are easy to talk to and easy to get advice from.”
Junior forward Marshall Moise also was direct with how Coach Daniels, Famulak and Kaufman have helped the players grow as athletes.
“Anytime a coach comes up to you, you always listen, but with him you take the extra initiative to listen to him because he’s been around the game for so long,” Moise said. “Knowledge is high for coach Kaufman and coach Famulak. Anything they say you really take it to heart and try to analyze it into your game.”
This experience has brought success that a university like Ferris would be proud to showcase, with three regular season conference championships, a conference tournament championship, and a national championship appearance.
With the Bulldog’s pair of losses over the weekend, Ferris will be unable to make any more noise on the 2019-20 season. The Bulldogs finished with a record of 7-26-2, which is the least number of wins in program history.
The coaching staff have a tougher road toward prominence, but with the experience ranging four different decades, the coaching staff has the knowledge needed to possibly turn the team around in the coming seasons.