Grant Potulny will enter his third season at the helm of the NMU Hockey team.
In 2018-19, he guided the Wildcat to a second-straight 20-win season, the first time NMU Hockey saw back-to-back 20-win seasons since the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons accomplished the feat. NMU also hosted the Western Collegiate Athletic Conference Playoff Semifinals for a second year in a row. Under his guidance, the squad nearly swept postseason position of the year accolades, as they received Forward of the Year, Defenseman of the Year and Goaltender of the Year. Troy Loggins went on to earn WCHA Player of the Year and was named an All-American after leading the nation in power-play goals and finishing second in goals.
In his first season, Potulny orchestrated one of the best single-season turnarounds in the country with NMU recording a 25-15-3 record. Despite being picked to finish seventh in the preseason WCHA polls, the Wildcats finished second in the conference standings and advanced to the WCHA Championship Game which they hosted in the Berry Event Center. Potulny's efforts earned him WCHA Coach of the Year honors.
Potulny spent eight seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Minnesota, where he helped the Golden Gophers capture six regular-season conference titles and qualify for five NCAA tournaments.
A two-time NCAA and WCHA tournament champion during his playing career at Minnesota, Potulny has also experienced success on the international stage. In 2013 and 2017, he helped the United States win the IIHF World Junior Championships as an assistant coach.
At Minnesota, Potulny worked primarily with the forwards and power-play units and was heavily involved in recruiting. Under his guidance, the Gophers were one of the nation's top offensive teams.
In 2012-13, Minnesota led the Division I ranks with an average of 3.48 goals per game. Each of the past five seasons, the Gophers averaged more than three goals per game and never finished lower than 11th in the nation in this statistical category. They also excelled on the man advantage during that stretch, finishing first in the NCAA in power-play percentage in both 2012-13 (.246) and 2014-15 (.280).
Minnesota reached the NCAA Frozen Four in 2012 and 2014. The Gophers ultimately fell in the 2012 semifinals to eventual champion Boston College and in the 2014 finals to Union College.
Potulny recruited and coached 11 skaters who went on to play in the National Hockey League: Mark Alt, Nick Bjugstad, Hudson Fasching, Erik Haula, Seth Helgeson, Nick Leddy, Kyle Rau, Mike Reilly, Nate Schmidt, Jordan Schroeder and Brady Skjei. Under his watch, seven players also garnered All-American accolades.
From 2000 to 2004, Potulny played at Minnesota, where he earned a bachelor's degree in Sport Management and was the team's only three-year captain since 1947. As an assistant captain in 2002, he netted the game-winning goal in Minnesota's 4-3 overtime victory over Maine in the national championship game. He then captained the Gophers to a second national title the following campaign.
Potulny, who finished his collegiate career with 116 points (68g-48a) in 146 career games, went on to play five seasons at the professional level. From 2004 to 2007, he skated for the Ottawa Senator's American Hockey League affiliate in Binghamton, New York. He also spent time with the AHL's Hershey Bears (2007-08), Springfield Falcons (2007-08), San Antonio Rampage (2008-09) and Norfolk Admirals (2008-09).
A native of Grand Forks, North Dakota, Potulny was selected by the Ottawa Senators 157th overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. During his time at Red River High School, he was a three-time North Dakota state champion. He spent two seasons with the United States Hockey League's Lincoln Stars and was named the 1999-00 Anderson Cup champion team's most valuable player.
Potulny and his wife, Melissa, have three children: Jack, Owen and Charlotte.