Assistant and Alum Ferschweiler Steps Into Top Role
CHN Staff Report
KALAMAZOO, Mich. Andy Murray has decided to step down as Western Michigan head coach after 10 years at the helm. Murray was the second-oldest active coach, but it’s still somewhat of a surprise given that it was so close to the new school year.
Long-time assistant Pat Ferschweiler was promoted to the top spot.
“The announcement that I am resigning and Pat Ferschweiler is moving into the role as head coach is one that I felt was necessary,” Murray said. “The last 10 years at WMU have been as rewarding as anything I have done in my life. I am in great health and full of energy, so this is not a retirement. I still have a number of things on my bucket list and now is the time to pursue those.
“My goal has always been to have our program in great shape when I did decide to move on. We are in that position right now and the transition to Pat will be smooth and well-received by our present players and alumni. He is a Bronco and is well prepared.”
Murray had three seasons of 20-plus wins, two NCAA tournament bids and the 2012 CCHA Tournament Championship. He leaves with 167 career wins at the helm, second-most in program history. He was named the 2016-17 NCHC Coach of the Year after leading the Broncos to a top four finish in the league, rebounding from a seventh-place finish the previous season.
Ferschweiler, a 1993 Western Michigan alum, created a youth hockey program in Kansas City, before he came back to Kalamazoo to join Jeff Blashill’s staff in 2010. Freschweiler stayed on when Murray took over, though eventually moved to become an assistant Blashill with the Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL, and then as an assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings. He once again returned to the Broncos as an associate head coach in 2019.
“I’m excited to be able to hand the reins of our Bronco Hockey team over to one of our own, Pat Ferschweiler,” WMU athletic director Kathy Beauregard said. “Pat showed his leadership qualities as a player for the Broncos, as an assistant coach and as our associate head coach. He is a great teacher of the game and has coached at all levels under some outstanding mentors, including Andy Murray and Jeff Blashill.
Ferschweiler inherits a program returning several key pieces from last year’s COVID-19 shortened season. Seniors Paul Washe, Ethen Frank and Josh Passolt chose to the remain with the program and take their extra year granted by the NCAA due to COVID. Reigning NCHC Offensive Defenseman of the Year Ronnie Attard returns for his junior season as well. He finished the season second in scoring with 22 points on eight goals and 14 assists and was named an AHCA West Division First Team All-American.
“Coach Murray has given everything he has to this program for the last 11 years and has left it in a better place,” Ferschweiler said. “I would like to thank him for his friendship and leadership through our time together. I also wish him all the best in whatever challenge he takes on next. We have a tremendous group of players on this team and I’m very excited to get started as their head coach.”