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May 31, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Veteran coach, former Icer and ACHA Hall of Fame inductee Josh Brandwene has been named Penn State's first varsity women's ice hockey coach. Brandwene will lead the Nittany Lions' transition into NCAA Division I competition, which starts in the 2012-13 season.
Brandwene brings 20 years of coaching and administrative experience at the international, collegiate and prep school levels to Penn State. He most recently was the head coach of the girls' ice hockey team (2008-10) at Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford, Conn. Brandwene was then asked to re-build the Kingswood Oxford boys' ice hockey team, serving as head coach in 2010-11.
"We are proud to welcome Josh back to Penn State as the first head coach of the women's varsity ice hockey team," said Tim Curley, Penn State Director of Athletics. "His wealth of experience and unique hockey background have prepared him to build our program and we are excited to have him on board."
"I am honored, humbled and thrilled to return to Penn State to lead the women's ice hockey program at this amazing time in the hockey program's history," said Brandwene. "I truly love every aspect of building a successful program. To have the opportunity to build a program the `Penn State Way,' here at this place that has meant so much to me and shaped who I am as a person and as a coach is a dream come true."
Brandwene's previous coaching experiences included a stint as the assistant coach of the Team USA men's ice hockey team at the 2003 World University Games as well as the head coach of the men's ice hockey teams at ACHA power Delaware and top New England prep program Northfield Mount Hermon (MA) School.
A standout defender for the Penn State Icers, Brandwene was a member of the 1990 ACHA National Championship team. He earned team Most Valuable Player, league MVP and first team All-Tournament honors his senior season, and broke the Icers' career record for points by a defensemen (previously held by former Icer head coach and current Associate Athletic Director for Ice Hockey Operations Joe Battista).
"I have known Josh and his family for almost 25 years," Battista said. "He was my first recruit as an Icer coach in 1987 and a big part of our early success. He has the perfect skill set to be a successful coach and mentor to the student-athletes in our women's hockey program. He has incredible passion for Penn State and coaching and has impeccable values, boundless energy and enthusiasm, and shares our culture for Success With Honor.
"Josh has been a builder everywhere he has been, taking each team to unprecedented levels of success," Battista added. "His accomplishments reach beyond any one team or institution as evidenced by his impact on a national level as the only four-term president of the ACHA and a member of the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) Board of Governors. We are proud to welcome him home."
During his tenure as the girls' hockey coach at Kingswood Oxford, Brandwene helped re-build a program devastated by graduation and led the New England Division II prep school team to a runner-up finish at the Canterbury Invitational Tournament and four victories over Division I prep programs.
In 2004-05, Brandwene began a three-year stint as the head boys' varsity ice hockey coach at the Northfield Mount Hermon (MA) School. Brandwene led the program to the New England Prep School Hockey Conference-East Championship (2004-05). In three seasons with the program, Brandwene coached and helped place more than 20 graduating student-athletes who have gone on to play Junior A and collegiate hockey.
Brandwene was the founder and director of the Wyvern Hockey Academy, which focused on skill development for girls hockey players. He also been a frequent skill development instructor at the Penn State Hockey camps throughout his coaching career.
Brandwene began his coaching career immediately after graduation in 1991 as the head coach at Farmington High School in Connecticut. His three seasons at Farmington included the program's first state tournament berth in five years and a 1993 trip to the state tournament semifinals. While at Farmington, Brandwene was also a two-time Gold Medal winning coach at the Nutmeg State Games.
After leaving Farmington in 1994, Brandwene headed back to the ACHA where he spent the next 10 seasons leading three different programs. Brandwene began with a two-year stint as the head coach at West Virginia, leading the program to its first ever bid to the ACHA National Tournament and the Eastern Collegiate Hockey Association (ECHA) regular season championship in the program's first season in the league.
In 1996, Brandwene was named head coach and Youth Hockey Program Director at the University of Delaware. In seven seasons at Delaware, the team won three consecutive ECHA titles (before becoming independent), and went to seven consecutive ACHA National Tournaments. Delaware's finishes included a runner-up finish in 2001 and a second appearance in the national semifinals in 2003.
In 2003, Brandwene served as an assistant coach for Team United States at the World University Games in Tarvisio, Italy. He left for the ACHA's University of Michigan-Dearborn in 2003-04, helping the program to a 20-win season and its first winning campaign in three years. While at Michigan-Dearborn, Brandwene tallied the 200th win of his ACHA coaching career.
Brandwene also took his ACHA career to the executive level, serving as president of the association. During his seven-year term from 1997-2004, the organization's membership more than tripled, from 83 teams in 1997 to 278 in 2004. In addition to adding to the growth of the organization, he is credited with modernizing the organization as well.
During his tenure as ACHA president, a women's division was formed in 2000 and a third division was added to the men's side (Division 3) in 1999.
The longest-serving president in ACHA history, Brandwene was re-elected for an unprecedented three terms. Prior to that time, no president had served more than one term. He also served a two-year term on the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) Board of Governors.
Brandwene was elected to the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Hall of Fame as the lone member of the Class of 2009. He also was elected to the Penn State Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996 and the University of Delaware Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005.
Brandwene and his wife Leona, also a Penn State graduate, have a daughter, Sophie (7).
In September 2010, the University announced an $88 million gift from Terrence M. and Kim Pegula, the largest private gift in Penn State's history, which was intended to fund a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose ice arena as well as help to establish an NCAA Division I men's hockey program. In conjunction with the gift, Penn State will establish an NCAA women's hockey program.
The Penn State men's and women's ice hockey teams are slated to begin competition in the 2012-13 season as NCAA Division I independents. Conference affiliation for the Penn State women's ice hockey program is to be determined.
Pegula Ice Arena is slated to open in late 2013 and will be built on the corner of Curtin Road and University Drive, directly west of the Bryce Jordan Center. The new 200,000-square-foot, multi-purpose ice arena will be the only major rink within an 80-mile radius and will be on par with the best collegiate facilities in the country. It will include two ice sheets and other features that will allow it to be used for a broad range of campus and community activities, from commencement ceremonies to kinesiology classes to public skating sessions and camps for youth.
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