JuniorHockey.com continues the Five Questions With series with our conversation with Penn State's Guy Gadowsky.
One of our focuses is to help prospects get to know the thoughts of college hockey's top coaches and this set of interviews asks the exact same questions to each coach.
Gadowsky, a 12-year collegiate coaching veteran, was named head coach of the Penn State men's hockey team on April 24, 2011.
The Nittany Lions will begin competing at the NCAA Division I level beginning with the 2012-13 season. During Penn State's transition, Gadowsky serves as head coach of the University's American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I club hockey team in 2011-12.
Gadowsky came to Happy Valley following a successful seven-year stint as Princeton's bench boss. In his first five years as head coach, the Tigers improved their win total in each season. In 2008-09, Princeton captured a program-record 22 victories and earned its second straight NCAA tournament appearance.
During the 2007-08 campaign, Gadowsky, who inherited a program that had a won a combined eight games in the two seasons prior to his arrival, guided Princeton to both the ECAC Hockey tournament and Ivy League crowns. The team earned its first NCAA tournament berth since 1998, and Gadowsky garnered ECAC Hockey Coach of the Year honors and was a finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award, presented to Division I hockey's top coach.
Prior to Princeton, Gadowsky served five seasons (1999-2004) as head coach at Alaska-Fairbanks. During the 2001-02 season, he guided the Nanooks to their first 20-win season since 1993-94 and earned CCHA Coach of the Year honors.
Before joining the collegiate ranks, Gadowsky spent three seasons (1996-99) as head coach and director of hockey operations for the Fresno Falcons of the West Coast Hockey League. He led the squad to the playoffs in each season and left the team as the winningest coach in franchise history. In his first season, Gadowsky posted a 38-win campaign as he garnered WCHL Coach of the Year accolades.
The Edmonton, Alta., native played collegiately at Colorado College from 1985-89, serving as team captain as a senior, while also earning the team's Rodman Award, given for outstanding leadership and sportsmanship. The three-time WCHA All-Academic Team member collected 46 points in 134 career games.
Upon graduation, Gadowsky embarked on a seven-year professional career that included stops with the ECHL's Richmond Renegades, the IHL's San Diego Gulls and the AHL's St. John's Maple Leafs and Prince Edward Island Senators. Gadowsky saved his best season for last as he totaled 52 goals and 29 assists for the Fresno Falcons in 1995-96. He earned league MVP and first-team all-star recognition.
In addition, Gadowsky spent a portion of the 1993-94 season competing with the Canadian National Team and also played professionally in Austria, The Netherlands and Sweden.
SH: Did you play junior hockey? What was your favorite memory from that experience?
GG: Yes, I played for the Fort Saskatchewan Traders of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. My favorite memory was playing with and interacting with older guys. One of my teammates was married and most of them had jobs. It provided automatic life lessons as well as hockey lessons.
SH: How important is a prospect's academic performance to the selection process?
GG: It's an extremely important part of the process. As Penn State University is an excellent academic institution, we always want the best students. If it is a choice between multiple players of similar ability we always take the better student.
SH: There are nearly 200 junior teams in the United States, so it must be all but impossible to see them. How can a player from a lower level team get your attention?
GG: Because there are so many junior teams, in the leagues that we don't cover consistently we require recommendations from coaches to make a point of checking out an individual player.
SH: How proactive should the prospect be in the recruiting process?
GG: It helps to let us know of your specific interest in our school, your GPA and SAT scores. If you are a top player in a top junior league in North America we will definitely know about you, but it certainly helps to know of your interest in us.
SH: Imagine there are all 5,000 junior hockey players sitting in an auditorium and you have just been handed the microphone, what do you want to say to them?
GG: Come to Penn State!
Other articles in this series-
Dallas Ferguson, Alaska-Fairbanks
Nate Leaman, Providence College
Frank Serratore, Air Force Academy