CHN Staff Report
Lake Superior State coach Damon Whitten has agreed to a multiyear contract extension. Whitten has agreed to terms on a six-year contract, solidifying the program through the 2027-28 season.
Whitten, who was named the 10th head coach in program history in April of 2014, guided the team to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 25 years during the 2020-21 season as well as the first Great Lakes Invitational championship in program history. In his seven seasons at Lake Superior State, Whitten has led the program to a 99-133-27 overall record.
“I am excited to have Damon Whitten continue as the head coach of our Laker hockey program,” said LSSU President Dr. Rodney S. Hanley. “This is a well-deserved extension as Damon has led us back to national prominence, and I am confident that he will remain committed to Lake Superior State’s proud hockey tradition, not to mention our student-athletes’ academic achievements.”
Whitten and his staff have been at the forefront of two of the most successful Laker hockey seasons in the last 25 years (2018-19 and 2020-21). The 2018-19 season marked Whitten’s highest single-season win total behind the bench as the team compiled a 23-13-2 overall record and a 16-10-2 mark in WCHA competition. The 23 wins were the highest single season win total for the program since the 1995-96 season and the first time the team surpassed 20 wins in a season since the 2006-07 season.
“My family would like to express our sincere appreciation to President Dr. Hanley, Director of Athletics Dr. Paitson, and the leadership team at LSSU for their trust and belief in our staff,” said Whitten. “I would also like to acknowledge our alumni, donors, students, and fans, and our Laker hockey team, both past and present, who have supported me and my family during the past seven years. As a family, we are excited to continue growing our lives in the Sault while competing for championships with Laker hockey.”
During the most recent season, Whitten guided the Lakers to a second-place finish in the regular season, and the program’s first WCHA Championship. The Lakers advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 25 years, posted the program’s 1,000th all-time win, and ended the season with the program’s highest win percentage in 25 years. The Lakers season came to a close in the NCAA Tournament as the team fell to the eventual national champion, UMass, in the opening round of the East Regional.
“I am thrilled to have Damon continue his role as head coach of the Lakers,” said Dr. Paitson. “Damon has blossomed into a leader and evolved as a coach, becoming better with each passing season. His vision for Laker hockey has come to life as a result of his dedication to the program’s culture and his ability to find innovative ways to advance our program, including through international recruiting and surrounding himself with a skilled staff. I congratulate Damon and his family and look forward to his guidance of Lake Superior State hockey in the years to come.”