After 6 seasons, Division 1 Head Coach and American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Hockey Director Dan Phelps has stepped down from his positions at Adrian College for personal and family commitments, and to pursue other opportunities in his future. The news comes after the Bulldogs finished this season with a 31-7 record and captured both the Great Lakes College Hockey League (GLCHL) regular season championship and playoff title. It is the first time in the leagues 4-year history that the same team has won both titles in the same season. Adrian went into the ACHA D1 National Tournament for the fourth consecutive time ranked #6. They were knocked out in the opening round by Central Oklahoma in a hard fought 1-0 battle.
“This was an extremely difficult decision to come to, but after sitting down with my family and looking at the big picture now, and in the future, it was in the best interest of my family to move forward in another direction in my life. They have been my biggest supporters in all my years of being a head coach (16 years), with 3 different organizations and levels. Each of those teams brought new challenges and dynamics that also affected my family life. In the end, they (his family), were always there for me…..whatever the circumstance. Simply put, I feel it’s the right time!”
In his short tenure with Adrian, Phelps will leave behind a notable track record not only personally, but for the program as well. Being hired in 2008 to coach only the Division I team, as the years progressed, Phelps was a pivotal player in the initiation and growth of all the ACHA teams the college now fields (4-total). As Hockey Director, he has worn both coaching and program administrative hats for the past 4 seasons. His accomplishments both on and off the ice leave a great foundation for others to follow:
- 6 Seasons -165 wins - 65 losses
- 3 GLCHL regular season titles, 2 playoff championships
- 4 consecutive ACHA Division I National Tournament appearances
- Assistant Coach – United States Men’s National University Team - World University Games, Erzurum, Turkey 2011, and Trentino, Italy 2013
- GLCHL Coach-of-the-Year Award - 2011, 2013
- ACHA Division 1 National Coach-of-the-Year – 2011
- Managing Director - ACHA Division 1 All-Star Game - Adrian College - 2010, 2011
In addition to personal accolades, he has helped guide and mentor numerous players each season to conference awards and selections along with many ACHA Division I National award winners. He states that all the awards won by his players come from their hard work and dedication to the team. All of the individual awards his players have received are well deserved! Of all the individual awards his players receive, he notes the Academic All-League and Academic All-ACHA selections are the most honored to him personally. “Being a student-athlete can be both mentally and physically tough. To see the players balance academics and hockey, along with all the other aspects in their lives, and do it at the level they do…there are no words big enough to recognize these tremendous accomplishments. These guys are amazing in their efforts!! Seeing all our players walk up to the podium to receive their degree has made every one of my days on campus worth it….No regrets!!
In looking at his time at Adrian, he credits the people he worked with as a big part of his opportunity and success. “I would be remiss in my departure by not thanking certain people that have been a big part of mine, and my family’s life for the past 6 years. Foremost, I want to thank Dr. Jeffrey Docking (Adrian College president), for the opportunity he gave me to live the dream of being a hockey coach as a profession. I also want to thank him for believing and allowing me to grow and develop the ACHA hockey programs to where they are today for the college! The ride has been great! I also want to thank all the wonderful people I have gotten to know within the college and especially the ice sports staff at The Arrington Arena. It is a unique group with a unique environment that was a family and made coming to work every day a pleasure. I will surely miss them, but will always cherish the friendships and bonds that have been created. I also send a thank you to the parents of all the players that have been in our program throughout the years and for their support and allowing me the opportunity to be a part of their son’s collegiate years as a student-athlete. I will also cherish the friendships created there as well! Of the biggest recognition, I can’t find a big enough thank you to send to all the players I have had the opportunity to coach in my years at Adrian. At the end of the day, it was them that kept me going and made coming to the rink everyday worth it all. Being and working with them all was the best part of the job!!......and the one I will miss the most.” “Thanks for all the great memories boys”!!!!!!!!!