Augustana University introduces Garrett Raboin as its first men's hockey head coach
Former St. Cloud State player and assistant coach from Detroit Lakes, Minn., has spent the last four seasons as an assistant coach for the University of Minnesota
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — During about a 12-minute ceremony, Augustana University introduced Garrett Raboin as its first head men's hockey coach on Tuesday, April 19.
Raboin, a 37-year-old who grew up in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, has spent the last four seasons as an assistant coach for the University of Minnesota after spending six seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, St. Cloud State University.
The Vikings will play their first season in the fall of 2023 as an NCAA Division I independent. Construction has begun on campus for Midco Arena at a cost of $50 million. Raboin said that his first task is to hire an assistant coach and begin recruiting players.
Raboin started out his remarks by thanking a number of people.
"I've got to thank my wife, Emily, (my children) Louie, Mal and Lotta — without their patience, love and support, none of this would be possible," Raboin said. "For the past 16 years, I've been able to learn from one of the best coaches in the game ... In 2006, (Bob Motzko) offered me an opportunity to play at St. Cloud State. He said he didn't have a scholarship (for me), but if I went to work for him and worked hard, he'd take care of me.
"Safe to say, he lived up to that promise. He's more than a coach and a mentor — he's family — and I can't thank him enough."
Raboin went on to thank former St. Cloud State assistant coach Mike Gibbons, SCSU athletic director Heather Weems, the staff at St. Cloud State, Gophers athletic director Mark Coyle, Gophers senior associate athletic director Mark McGinnis, Gophers assistant coaches Ben Gordon, Paul Martin and Brennan Poderzay, the staff at Minnesota and, "most importantly, I'd like to thank the players. They are what make college athletics so special."
In the course of less than a year, Augustana has gone from having no hockey team on campus to announcing in June 2021 that it would be adding men's hockey, breaking ground on a new arena in October and hiring Raboin to be the Vikings' first head coach Tuesday.
As Raboin walked to the podium with Augustana director of athletics Josh Morton and university president Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, the Augustana school song was played.
"Head coaches at Augustana model the university's core values," Herseth Sandlin said. "Augustana head coaches set a high bar for community engagement and excellence in competition. This esteemed group is joined by a new and dynamic leader, who lives and breathes college hockey and brings a wealth of experience as a player and assistant coach.
"I'm so excited about Garrett Raboin as the first head coach of Augustana hockey."
Morton, who is in his fourth school year at Augustana, said that when the university began the search for the men's coaching position, they focused on three key areas.
"No. 1, someone who could build a nationally competitive men's hockey program that competes at Division I," Morton said. "We needed someone who can build a program and do it the right way. We found it in Garrett Raboin.
"No. 2, build community excitement that is important to the launch and continued success of Viking hockey. You don't have to spend much time around Garrett to understand that he was built for this.
"We needed someone who could set the culture and foundation of men's hockey as part of the campus community and Augustana athletics. Quite simply: We needed a coach who was ready to be a great teammate. We found it in Garrett Raboin."
The university has also already begun having discussions with hockey conferences about possibly becoming a member. The two closest conferences that would be possibilities would be the NCHC, which has eight members, including teams in Minnesota and North Dakota, and the CCHA, which also has two teams in Minnesota.