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WOMEN'S HOCKEY: Four finalists announced for women's head coach

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sports Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

BEMIDJI -- Four finalists will visit the Bemidji State campus Wednesday to interview for the vacant head women's hockey coach job, including a current BSU assistant coach and a former BSU goaltender.

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BSU athletic director Tracy Dill announced Monday that Amber Fryklund, Troy Jutting, Jim Scanlan and Brett Bruininks would all be interviewing for the job left vacant after Steve Sertich retired in March.

Of the four, Fryklund and Scanlan both have direct BSU ties, while Jutting and Bruininks have experience in other programs.

Fryklund is closest to the program, as she's a BSU graduate who has been assistant coach for the BSU women since 2011. The Beavers have been a combined 34-64-9 since 2011 but last season's 11-21-4 was a vast improvement on 2012-13's dismal 6-26-2 campaign.

Fryklund also hasn't had any experience as a head coach at the collegiate level but was co-head coach for the Duluth Northern Stars high school team from 2004-09.

The 2003 BSU graduate played for the Beavers from 2000-03 and is still the program's all-time scoring leader with 122 points

The other candidate with BSU ties is a name very familiar to hockey fans in northern Minnesota.

Scanlan, a BSU alumnus, is currently head girls hockey coach and athletic director at East Grand Forks High School.

He was a goaltender on the BSU hockey team from 1978-82, was a two-time All-American and a two-time NCAA champion.

If he were to be hired at BSU, it would be Scanlan's first collegiate head coaching job and his first time back in the college coaching ranks since 1996. However, Scanlan was an assistant at North Dakota from 1989-96 and at Western Michigan from 1985-89. The longtime East Grand Forks coach -- he's coached at the school for 18 years on both the boys and the girls benches -- wouldn't be out of place on the BSU bench.

The other two candidates don't have any BSU ties but have strong college hockey resumes -- including one with plenty of Division I experience.

Jutting just completed his second season as an assistant for the Nebraska-Omaha men's hockey team, but has the most head coaching experience out of all four candidates: from 2000-2012 he was head coach for the Minnesota State men's team after serving as an assistant coach from 1990-2000.

Jutting was 184-224-55 lifetime at MSU with one 20-win season and one NCAA tournament appearance (2002-03). He was ousted as head coach at MSU in 2012 after a string of losing seasons; he was hired as assistant at UNO shortly thereafter.

Bruininks doesn't have any head coaching experience at the Division I level but has experience at the Division III level.

The former Notre Dame winger is currently an assistant for the Minnesota State women's team, but served as head women's coach at Concordia Moorhead from 2010-13 (a position now held by former Bemidji High School star Sarah Erickson). Bruininks has also been a volunteer assistant for the men's program at Concordia and was an assistant at Augsburg College for the 2008-09 season.

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Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at http://thebeaverblog.areavoices.com/ and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.
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