When Jerry Roberts played for the Owls he doubted coaching was very hard. After he took over as the Owls’ coach in 2009, that perspective changed.
Roberts coached the Owls to a 15-12-1 record during the 2009-10 season. The next year he coached the team to the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division II National Tournament with a 20-12 record.
The following season, Roberts’ team stumbled to a 9-18 record. Determined to bounce back and armed with a team of experienced veterans, Roberts guided the team to a 17-12 record in 2012-13, but the Owls missed the ACHA D-II Southeast Regional tournament by one point. The disappointment led to Roberts quitting after the season to spend more time with his family.
“I would say it was way harder than I thought it was going to be,” Roberts said. “I think as a player you think the job is just showing up to practice and games and calling out wild drills. As a player, you don’t realize how much work goes into it away from the bench.”
With the arrival of Roman Bussetti this season, Temple’s ice hockey team has had eight different coaches since 2000.
Den Sweeney coached the team during the 2001-02 season, but left after the 2002-03 season. Mike Hufford and Alex Luboff served as co-coaches during the 2003-04 season. Luboff returned as an assistant coach to head coach Jamie Sabatino in the 2004-05 season, but only lasted through the 2005-06 season.
Aaron Voegtli instructed the team from 2006 to 2009, but left for the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in June 2009.
“It was one of those situations where he left during the summer and the team was left stranded to find someone,” Roberts said. “I don’t want to paint Aaron in a bad picture. Aaron did a lot for the club. Aaron is one of the biggest reasons the club made that next step to be more competitive at each level. It was just the opportune time for him. He wasn’t looking to screw the club over, but the opportunity just came for him.”
Ryan Frain relieved Roberts in the 2013-14 season, but the team struggled to a 12-9-3 record. Temple bounced back in the 2014-15 season with a 16-10-2 record, but fell short of the regional tournament again. Frain responded by resigning this past April to focus more on his job as a marketing specialist for Farmers Insurance.
“As a head coach, you take a sense of pride in the work you put in, and I guess competitiveness too, and you want to put your team in the best position to win and be successful,” Frain said. “When other things get in the way of that, especially my situation here with work, it’s just one of those things where you have to do what’s best for the team.”
Bussetti took over this season after spending time with seven different organizations at various levels during his 20 years of coaching. Bussetti is in position to stay for a longer stint than past coaches since he already has his family established in the area and conveniently works at Temple’s home ice rink, the Flyers Skate Zone.
“When I got the interview they were basically looking for somebody that was going to be able to stick around,” Bussetti said. “I told them I would be around for at least three years. It’s three years, and then it comes down to if the program is successful and we’re building, and we’re doing well then I have to believe that they would want to keep me aboard.”
Stephen Godwin Jr. can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @StephenGodwinJr.