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April 11, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

BGSU officially welcomes Dennis Williams as head ice hockey coach Thursday morning

Bowling Green, OH – Bowling Green’s new Men’s Hockey Head Coach Dennis Williams press conference at the Stroh Center in Bowling Green, Ohio

Bowling Green hockey has a new leader.

BGSU Athletics welcomed Dennis Williams as the ninth head coach in BGSU ice hockey history, replacing Ty Eigner.

Williams attended his first press conference as the new leader of the hockey program Thursday morning where he, President Rodney K. Rogers Ph.D., and Director of Athletics Derek van der Merwe spoke about the new look to the program. 

Before the hire, van der Merwe held a meeting with the players of the hockey team to find out what they wanted in their new head coach. 

“The meeting took 30 seconds, and they said two things,” said van der Merwe. “We want someone who respects this team, and we want someone who respects the staff.” 

van der Merwe went on to say he even spoke to many important figures in the BG and hockey world who recommended Williams. Contributions included ex-BG hockey head coach Jerry York, 1984 BG hockey captain and coach Wayne Wilson, and BG hockey alumni and former head coach of the Buffalo Sabres, Dan Bylsma. 

“He is passionate, committed, caring, and a man of integrity said van der Merwe about what he heard on Williams. “He is gritty and hard-nosed with high expectations. He is tough, a strong leader, and someone who has demonstrated success in multiple challenging environments.” 

With his outstanding track record, as well as being an alumnus of the program, Williams emphasized his attachment to BG and why he was so quick to come back to the university. 

“It’s not about coming to college hockey, it’s about coming to Bowling Green,” said Williams. “I made that clear when I talked to Derek (van der Merwe), and there could have been a lot of schools that called with the same opportunity, and it would have been a quick ‘no.’ 

Like former head coach Ty Eigner, Williams has been a BG hockey player, assistant coach, and now head coach. The important distinction is in Williams’s head coaching experience with multiple programs over 20 years. 

“I love challenges,” said Williams. “My whole career I’ve taken them from the NAHL to the USHL to the WHL, and the Canada World Junior team where we lost to Czechia game one. We overcame that with perseverance, and games like that have only given me the opportunity to grow.” 

A major concern from existing players, staff, and fans is the change in staffing and function of the program. 

“I know there is a good team in there,” said Williams when asked about the team’s future. “How do we as coaches get it out of them is the question. 

We aren’t going to disrupt the whole apple cart, our intentions are to come in here and find out what has worked well, and what challenges we need to get better at. My philosophy is ‘let’s get these players better,’ and off that we are going to win more games.” 

Improving the team’s current look is key for Williams without the need for drastic change. 

“My first thing is making sure these players are set,” said Williams. “I know some kids that are committed to come in and next will be my calls to them and explain to them where we are. Bowling Green is an option for a lot of players to come and get a great education, a great experience, and a great opportunity to develop into pro hockey players.” 

Williams coaches the Everett Silvertips on Friday, March 29 for the start of his seventh best-of-seven CHL playoff series. After the conclusion of the postseason, he will turn his attention solely to Bowling Green hockey. 

For more stories related to BGSU Athletics, follow Falcon Media Sports Network on X (@bg_fmsn).

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