The Big Ten is about to change its makeup in hockey, adding Notre Dame for next season and changing how it plays out its postseason. Adding a power like the Irish to the conference makes an already difficult league even more so.
It makes a school like Michigan State, which finished dead last in the Big Ten conference, have to re-evaluate itself. Apparently, it also made Tom Anastos, re-evaluate his time in East Lansing.
On Tuesday, the school announced that Anastos has now stepped down from his position.
“When I first became head coach I established my own timeline for the program’s development. After a review of our season, and in spite of the progress we have made in so many areas, we have not met my expectations,” said Anastos.
“As a leader, I believe that you must always make every decision based on what’s in the overall best interests of the program, and never put personal interests first. After lengthy conversations with Mark Hollis, I am stepping down from my role to help facilitate a change in leadership and direction for Spartan hockey.
Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis announced the change at the top of the program.
“I want to thank Tom Anastos for the guidance he’s provided Spartan hockey over the last six seasons,” said Hollis. “He would be the first to admit that he wished there were more on-ice victories, but he built a program that was a great value to our community. His student-athletes were successful in the classroom and were great representatives of the athletic department and the university as a whole with their commitment to community outreach.
“A loyal Spartan for more than three decades, Tom Anastos has given so much to Michigan State. He’s had a positive impact on our entire department, well beyond the ice rink. Tom’s an amazing individual whose passion for Michigan State is unsurpassed. He and his wife Lisa and their five children will continue to be valued members of our Spartan family.”
He was a former player and assistant coach, also serving as a long-time commissioner of the CCHA (1998-2012). That’s when he took over the helm of the Spartans hockey program, leading the transition from the CCHA to the Big Ten conference.
In his time at MSU, he never finished more than three games over .500 on a season and had just two wining seasons in six years at the helm of the program.
This past season Michigan State was just 3-14-3 in Big Ten play and 7-24-4 overall on the season.
With Notre Dame coming on board next season, the Big Ten will have one of the toughest league schedules in the country. Michigan State will have to get this hire correct or it could be left completely in the dust of a league that sees a re-establishing Wisconsin program along with Penn State’s emergence as a power over the last few years.