LOGAN – The ice rink in North Logan will be missing a familiar face come hockey season. The Utah State Hockey team announced over the weekend that head coach Jon Eccles is stepping down after 15 years with the program.
Of the 15 years, Eccles was head coach for 10. He compiled a 267-89-16 record and was named ACHA West Coach of the Year three times. Of the more that 225 ACHA D2 teams, only 16 go to nationals. Eccles’ USU team was able to accomplish that every year but one.
Eccles said he made the tough decision after speaking with his wife and his family, who he said have been his biggest supporters along the way.
“There have been highs, there have been lows,” he said, “but for the most part I have had a great time.”
Being head coach was time consuming for Eccles, and because USU hockey is a club team, it wasn’t a paid position. Eccles said his main focus was making sure his players believed they are student-athletes, not athlete-students.
“I did it for the players,” he said, “just to be there and give them success in life, not just in the game.”
Eccles thanked his sponsors, donors and assistant coaches for the support received. He gave credit to the fans who made USU Hockey the third-most attended sport at USU, trailing only football and basketball.
“I just want to tell them thanks,” he said. “They make it so enjoyable for the players. When they come out and see the stands full of fans screaming and hollering and getting into it, it’s really motivating for them. The boys love to give whatever they can back.”
Eccles said he is still an Aggie and will continue to follow the team. He said he hopes the team can stay at the level it is at and continue to make appearances at the ACHA D2 Nationals.