After sifting through more than 50 applications and conducting more than 20 interviews in a seven-week stretch, the Omaha Lancers found their new coach a few feet from his new Ralston Arena office.
Brian Kaufman, who was an assistant to Mike Aikens during the 2012-13 season and served as the team's interim head coach for the final two games, was named Omaha's new coach and general manager Friday.
“I'm incredibly excited for this phenomenal opportunity,” Kaufman said. “The Omaha Lancers are one of the most storied franchises in junior hockey, and I'm looking forward to continuing to be part of something special here in Omaha.”
Kaufman is the 11th head coach for the USHL franchise that will begin its 28th season of play in late September.
Before coming to Omaha last season, Kaufman began his coaching career in 2011-12 as a graduate assistant to Enrico Blasi at Miami (Ohio) University. As a RedHawks player, Kaufman was a team captain in 2007-08 and 2008-09.
As a senior, Kaufman led the RedHawks to the NCAA national championship game, which Miami lost to Boston University 4-3 in overtime.
The 29-year-old Shoreview, Minn., native lives in Omaha and is engaged to be married to Chelsea Miller in late August.
Lancers President and Managing Partner Ben Robert said he sees in Kaufman many similarities to former Omaha coach Mike Hastings, who now is the coach at Minnesota State-Mankato.
“The USHL is a league of opportunities for both players and coaches,” Robert said. “Back in 1994 the Lancers hired a young head coach (Hastings) with only three years of assistant coaching experience. I see many similarities between Coach Kaufman and Coach Hastings.
“Brian is an outstanding person who comes from a great family. He has an unrelenting desire to succeed and will represent the Lancers orgnization with pride and passion.”
One of Kaufman's first duties will be to run the Lancers' June 7-9 tryout camp at Ralston Arena.
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