Stars' Head Coach Johnson Resigns
May 30, 2007
The Lincoln Stars announced today that Head Coach Steve Johnson has resigned his position with the team. Johnson has elected to pursue a business opportunity in his hometown of Grand Forks, North Dakota. With his departure, the Stars will begin a search for their second head coach in the team's 11-year history.
Johnson, an All-American player for the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux, will continue with the Stars through June 30th, allowing him to participate in the Stars' evaluation camp June 7th - 10th. Johnson will leave as the USHL's fourth all-time coaching leader in his 11 years with Lincoln and one year with Fargo-Moorhead, having led the Stars to three Anderson Cup and two Clark Cup championships. The 1996-97 Stars team was the first expansion team ever to win a Clark Cup championship. His overall regular season record with the Stars is 406-188-47, with a playoff record of 49-36.
"It's certainly hard to put into words the excitement and enjoyment that my family and I have had with the Stars organization and the Lincoln community," said Steve Johnson. "I'd especially like to thank the owners, staff, players, and fans for the unbelievable support that they've shown us over the past 11 years. This has been an incredible ride and an extremely difficult decision for us. However, I felt that the timing was right to accept an opportunity in our hometown that will allow me to spend more time with my family, and still stay involved in hockey to a lesser extent. My hope is that I can now become a frequent visitor to Lincoln and finally enjoy the great Ice Box atmosphere as a fan."
"Steve's impact on the Stars franchise is immeasurable," said Stars' President Jim Pflug. "He took a leap of faith by accepting a position with a start-up hockey team in 1996, and our early and continued success is a tribute to him. As an organization, we'll miss his professionalism, competitiveness, and ability to develop players. At the same time, it's difficult not to be happy for someone who's making a decision for himself and his family to return to their hometown to pursue another opportunity."
The Stars will immediately begin the process of selecting and interviewing potential candidates, and anticipate naming the next head coach within the next four to six weeks.
"We're committed to finding the best available coach to lead us into the next era. We believe that our amazing fan support and success on the ice will make this an attractive opportunity for many highly successful coaching candidates," said Pflug.
This is somewhat of a shock to me. I had heard a rumor a few months back that Johnson would not be back, but not too long ago he signed the 2 year extension to stay with the team. It's tough that the league and the Stars will have to lose such a great coach.