GLOUCESTER, Mass. – North Dakota head coach Brad Berry has earned a share of the 2020 Spencer Penrose Award as CCM/AHCA Division I Men’s National Ice Hockey Coach of the Year, the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) announced Tuesday. Berry splits the honor for the 2019-20 season with Cornell head coach Mike Schafer, while it marks only the second tie in the history of the Penrose Award, also occurring in 1966.
This is Berry’s first Spencer Penrose Award and marks the second by a National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) coach in the conference’s seven-year history. Former Denver head coach Jim Montgomery won the award in 2017 after leading DU to a national title. Berry is the first UND head coach to earn the honor since Dean Blais back in 2001 and marks the fourth time a North Dakota coach has won the award in program history (Blais twice, also in 1997, and Gino Gasparini in 1987).
Berry was also named the NCHC’s Herb Brooks Coach of the Year in 2019-20, becoming a two-time winner of that award (2016), as well as 2019-20 national Coach of the Year by online publications College Hockey News and USCHO. In his fifth season as bench boss, Berry guided North Dakota to a 26-5-4 record overall in the regular season before the postseason was cut short, an eight-win improvement from last season.
In NCHC play, Berry led his alma mater to the Penrose Cup as NCHC regular-season champions, going 17-4-3-2, after being picked to finish fourth in the NCHC Preseason Media Poll. North Dakota made a four-spot improvement this season after placing fifth in the NCHC in 2018-19.
Nationally, Berry guided the Fighting Hawks to finish first in the Pairwise Rankings and would have been the overall No. 1 seed in the 2020 NCAA Tournament, were it held. UND was also ranked No. 1 in the USCHO.com Poll seven weeks during the season, after starting at No. 18 in the preseason, and finished the season ranked second in the poll behind Cornell.
Assisting Berry this season were associate head coach Dane Jackson, first-year assistant coach Karl Goehring and volunteer assistant Jason Ulmer.
Minnesota Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin, who won the award in 2004, was also a finalist for the 2020 Spencer Penrose Award. In addition to Berry, this is Schafer’s first career Penrose Award, as well.
The Spencer Penrose Award is named in memory of the Colorado Springs benefactor who built the Broadmoor Hotel Complex, site of the first 10 NCAA championship hockey tournaments. The NCHC’s regular-season championship trophy (the Julie and Spencer Penrose Memorial Cup) is also named after Spencer Penrose and his wife, Julie, given the NCHC headquarters are located in Colorado Springs on the grounds of the Penrose House.
The CCM AHCA Coach of the Year Awards are sponsored by CCM Hockey, the legendary hockey brand dedicated to the endless pursuit of performance, and chosen by members of the AHCA, including the nation's 60 NCAA Division I men’s head coaches.