UW-Stevens Point hires Brooks
Pointers look to professional ranks for next leader
STEVENS POINT – Interim athletic director Rory Suomi is pleased to announce the hiring of Chris Brooks as the next head coach at Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Brooks becomes the fifth head coach in Pointers history, replacing Wil Nichol, who resigned to accept a front office position in the National Hockey League.
“Chris brings over 12 years of proven success as a hockey coach at the collegiate and professional levels,” says Suomi. “In addition to his outstanding coaching résumé, Chris has an outstanding educational background in communication and will help us return our program to the higher echelons of Division III hockey.”
Brooks spent the last three seasons as the head coach of the Rio Grande Valley (Texas) Killer Bees of the Central Hockey League. In his three seasons as coach at the professional level, he led the team to an 87-86 overall record and playoff appearances in two of his three seasons. In his first season (2008-09) he led the team to a franchise-record 35 wins and its first playoff series victory. The team was also named the CHL’s Franchise of the Year under Brooks’ direction. That same year Brooks was the runner-up for the league’s Coach of the Year award
“The search committee interviewed four outstanding candidates,” says search and screen committee chair John Miech. “The difference between them was the thickness of a razor blade. We decided that Chris Brooks’ years as a Division I recruiter, his message of ‘Be a champion everyday on the ice and off, and in the classroom,’ and his 194 games as a head coach over the last three seasons at Rio Grande Valley, made him our top choice.”
“I would like to thank Rory Suomi, Dean Marty Loy, John Miech, and the entire search committee for the opportunity and privilege to be the next hockey head coach at Stevens Point,” said Brooks. “I am excited to build upon the tradition that has been built by the previous coaches, and look forward to great success on and off the ice in the future.
“The passion of alumni, supporters, fans, the athletic department, and the booster club for Stevens Point hockey is contagious and my family and I look forward to integrating ourselves within the community. It is a privilege and an honor to represent the university as the new hockey head coach.”
Prior to his time at Rio Grande Valley, the Stratford, Ontario, native spent nine years at Western Michigan University, six as an assistant coach and his last three as the associate head coach. His roles at WMU included coordinating the Broncos’ recruiting efforts, preparing scouting reports, evaluating game video, and organizing the Bronco Summer Hockey Schools. He also managed the practice plan and team travel. In addition, Brooks served as an evaluator for USA Hockey at Michigan Select Festivals in 1999.
Brooks began his career as an assistant coach at Western and was promoted to associate head coach in 2006. WMU’s recruiting classes from 2002-08 produced eight NHL draft picks. In addition to those players, many others went on to sign free agent deals with NHL and minor league clubs.
As a player, Brooks lettered four seasons as a player at WMU (1992-96) and finished as the eighth-leading scorer in school history, compiling 57 goals and 127 assists for 184 points. A playmaker with excellent on-ice vision, Brooks led WMU in assists four straight seasons and twice captured the team scoring title (1992-93, 1994-95). He was a member of two NCAA tournament teams (1993-94, 1995-96) and was the recipient of the CCHA’s Rookie of the Year award in 1993. He also received Honorable Mention CCHA All-Academic status.
Brooks went on to play professionally with stops in Amarillo (WPHL), Mobile (ECHL), Springfield (AHL), and Kalamazoo (UHL). He led the WPHL in scoring and assists during the 1996-97 season, posting 110 points (45-65-110) in 64 games, earning league Most Valuable Player status. After an 82-point campaign with Mobile, he returned to Amarillo and again led the team in scoring (48-57-105) and was the league leader in goals. He also started his coaching career that season, serving as a player/coach, while also being named team MVP and appearing in his second WPHL All-Star Game.
Brooks received a bachelor’s degree in communication in 1996 and a master’s degree in communication with an emphasis in coaching in 2007. He and his wife Jeannine, a WMU graduate, are the parents of a daughter (Bryar) and a son (Barrett).