Chris Bergeron, head hockey coach, is leaving BGSU to become the head coach at the Miami University in Ohio. This is a return home for Bergeron, as he played college hockey at Miami 1989-93. He also was an assistant for the Redhawks 2000-10 after a seven-year professional career.
"On behalf of my family and myself, I want to say a very sincere 'Thank you' for the last nine years," Bergeron said in a BGSU press release. "Your unconditional support from our early rebuilding years to the turnout last Saturday in Allentown has meant more to me than you will ever know. The last few days have been very difficult for me because President (Rodney) Rogers, Bob Moosbrugger and Jim Elsasser stepped up and showed their commitment to Falcon hockey. Having to choose between two places that I love dearly has been the toughest decision I have ever had to make. Thank you for allowing me to be part of this program that means so much to all of you. We are extremely proud that we are leaving the program better than we found it."
After 10 years as an assistant, Bergeron moved to BGSU to become the head coach. In his first three seasons, which were in the CCHA, he guided the Falcons through a tough stretch of seasons, going 39-73-14 in those seasons, and not placing higher than ninth overall in the conference.
However, in the WCHA, the Falcons never placed lower than fourth in his final six seasons at BGSU. He was a total 132–81–30 in those seasons and also helped lead the Falcons to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 29 years. Bergeron led the Falcons through a tumultuous time and brought them back to some kind of relevance.
"As someone who returned to their alma mater, I understand the attraction to return to a place that you consider home," BGSU Director of Athletics Bob Moosbrugger said in the same press release. "We are thankful for the nine years of leadership in our hockey program from Chris Bergeron. In the same way that he asks his players to leave the program better than they found it, he has done the same at Bowling Green. This is a great job and we have already begun the national search to find the individual who will continue to elevate our program."
Overall, in Bergeron’s nine years at the helm, he was 171–154–44. This places him second in school history in wins for the Falcons. Bergeron is only behind legendary Falcons coach Jerry York, also the coach for the only Falcons team to win a national championship and the last coach to lead the Falcons to an NCAA Tournament appearance before Bergeron. Bergeron was also the second-longest tenured coach for BGSU, with a nine-year career. York had the longest career, a 15-year career in 1979-94.
The program went through a bit of a bad streak after York’s departure. Three coaches were at the university between York and Bergeron, and none of them had a winning percentage above 0.5. Those coaches, Buddy Powers, Scott Paluch and Dennis Williams, totaled a record of 224-330-55 in 16 years. They had an average winning percentage of 0.35. The program was not what it once was when York left. Bergeron brought the program back from the dead.
Bergeron leaving was expected, but that doesn’t mean Falcon fans won't feel his absence. He led the Falcons to one of the most successful stretches in years. The Falcons will work to stay relevant based on the foundation Bergeron-led teams have built.