EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips on Monday formally announced that their next head coach will be 37-year-old Dennis Williams, formerly of the USHL’s Bloomington Thunder.
Williams had been previously reported as the next head coach last week in the Herald and other media outlets without official confirmation from the club. Monday’s press release was the organization’s first official confirmation, and there will be a press conference May 22 at Xfinity Arena open to media and the community to introduce Williams.
The Thunder are owned by CSH International, the sports franchise wing of the the Monarch Corporation that owns the Silvertips as well as several other North American hockey and baseball franchises.
OFFICIAL / Dennis Williams named new Silvertips head coach
— Everett Silvertips (@WHLsilvertips) May 15, 2017
“As a head coach and general manager in the USHL, and working through the college hockey and NAHL ranks, I developed a respect for the core value of work ethic,” Williams said in the press release. “As a student of the game, it’s my responsibility to value the opinions of our hockey staff and determine the best system that benefits and prepares our players to reach the National Hockey League, and continue to build on a culture of success here. I want to do everything in my power to help us keep building on that. It starts with monitoring teams reaching the WHL Finals, studying their habits, adapting to how the game is played right now, and analyzing what makes those teams ultimately successful. I can’t wait to get started.”
Williams’ name as a potential successor to Kevin Constantine, whose contract wasn’t renewed after guiding Everett to its fifth division title, first surfaced two weeks ago:
Those in junior hockey circles believe Bloomington coach Dennis Williams is frontrunner to land Everett job in WHL.
— Brad E. Schlossman (@SchlossmanGF) May 1, 2017
Everett general manager Garry Davidson said Williams had been a candidate for the position when Constantine was hired in 2013.
“When we decided we were going to make a coaching change he was somebody who was quickly put on a short list,” Davidson said. “Very quickly I felt that this was a guy we should be bringing in here, not only because he’s had a vast amount of coaching experience at the college level, at the (NAHL) level and the USHL level, but also his age, his energy and also his personality.”
A native of Stratford, Ontario, Williams has a winning percentage of .673 over the past seven seasons as head coach with Bloomington of the United States Hockey League and the Amarillo Bulls of the North American Hockey League.
After guiding Bloomington to a 29-24-7 record and fifth place in the Eastern Conference in its expansion season of 2014-15, he led the Thunder in 2015-16 to a 36-18-6 record, an appearance in the Eastern Conference Final, and a victory shy of reaching the league’s Clark Cup Finals. The 2016-17 Thunder squad finished 25-27-8 and did not reach the USHL postseason.
Prior to coaching Bloomington, Williams coached the Bulls for four seasons, including three consecutive 40-win campaigns, three straight South Division titles and the Robertson Cup as the league champion in 2012-13 while being named NAHL Coach of the Year. His four-year mark in Amarillo was 168-44-2-24 for a .756 winning percentage. The Bulls led the NAHL in goals from 2011-13 and were second in 2013-14.
A more wide-open offensive system is something Davidson has been looking for since he took over as Everett’s GM in 2012.
“I liked the way they played and certainly liked the team concepts they were trying to execute with their offensive game and with their power play,” Davidson said. “I saw it first hand and I’ve had numerous discussions about the game and different parts of the game with Dennis over the last number of years here… I think we’re much closer on the spectrum than Kevin and I were, no question about that.”
A few @WenatcheeWild1 fans probably remember Dennis Williams' teams in Amarillo from their NAHL days. That's where he had success.
— Ray Marcham (@rmarcham) May 15, 2017
During his time in Amarillo and Bloomington, Williams helped 74 players advance to play in the NCAA ranks, and with the Bulls coached seven division All-Conference selections, two All-NAHL First Team members, and one division All-Rookie honoree.
While Williams doesn’t have any previous experience coaching in the Canadian Hockey League, Davidson noted his extensive junior hockey experience.
“It’s nothing new for the rest of us – we’re still going to be here supporting him,” Davidson said. “I don’t see a big transition at all. He’s been a head coach and he’s been a head coach in junior hockey.”
Williams began his coaching career as an assistant at Utica College in New York during the 2003-04 season before he spent three years as the head coach at Neumann College in Pennsylvania, where he went 17-5-5 in his final season.
Following a year as an assistant at Alabama-Huntsville, Williams returned to his alma mater, Bowling Green, as an assistant prior to the 2008-09 season. He assumed head-coaching duties the next year and coached the Falcons to a 5-25-6 mark. While his record at Bowling Green wasn’t great, it came under very difficult circumstances. His overall college coaching record is 30-48-13-0.
Williams graduated from Bowling Green with 117 career games, 20 points, and 198 penalty minutes.
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