ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Some opportunities are simply too good to pass up. For North Iowa Bulls Associate Head Coach/General Manager Kevin Murdock, the opportunity to return to the state of Alaska and coach at the highest level of college hockey is one of them.
Murdock has accepted an NCAA Division I assistant coaching position at the University of Alaska-Anchorage, and will lend his talents to rebuilding the Seawolves program ahead of their return to the ice for the 2022-23 season following a two-year layoff.
“I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to come back to Mason City and work with the Bulls,” said Murdock. “I’d like to thank Todd Sanden, F&S Management and the entire Bulls organization for their support, and I wish the team the best of luck the remainder of the season.”
Murdock returned to Mason City this season, after serving under head coach and general manager Todd Sanden from 2016 to 2019. He served the last of those years as the team’s associate head coach and helped lead North Iowa to 106 regular-season wins, two NA3HL division championships and two Fraser Cup tournament appearances in those three years.
That run helped him earn a head coaching position with the North American Hockey League’s Kenai River Brown Bears, leading the team to a .537 winning percentage from 2019 to 2021. His team’s .577 mark in the COVID-shortened 2019-20 campaign was the best finish in team history, and 15 Brown Bears players committed to NCAA Division I programs during his tenure. Murdock returned to North Iowa this season amid the Bulls’ move into the NAHL, and immediately helped to lead the team to the best points percentage in the Central Division standings at the time of his departure.
“We are very excited for Kevin to enter this next phase of his coaching career, and we are proud of his accomplishments with us and in the North American Hockey League,” said Sanden. “He is a diligent, smart and humble coach who excelled in Alaska during his time with Kenai River. Kevin contributed much to our program and to our front office. We will miss Kevin greatly, and we wish him and his UAA team the best.”
His move to Alaska-Anchorage fulfills a rare coaching opportunity in the sport, with just 61 NCAA Division I teams set to participate in the 2022-23 season. The Seawolves dropped their men’s hockey program following the 2019-20 season due to the financial fallout from the COVID pandemic, but a subsequent fundraising drive was successful enough to lead the university to reinstate the sport. Murdock will serve under former Seawolf Matt Shasby, who was hired last month to lead the program’s reactivation.
Originally from Bradenton, Florida, the former goaltender and Shattuck-St. Mary’s prep hockey alum played his junior hockey for the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League, where he led the USHL in save percentage and goals-against average in the 2008-09 season. After his freshman season at Minnesota State University, Murdock returned to set a team record with 52 appearances in 2010-11, and his 29 wins that season ranks second in team history. As an NCAA Division I goaltender at Lake Superior State University, his career save percentage remains the third-best in school history. Murdock would finish his playing career in 2014-15, spending the season with the Southern Professional Hockey League’s Fayetteville FireAntz, and earning ECHL call-ups to the Tulsa Oilers and Fort Wayne Komets.
With Murdock’s departure, assistant coach Mark Hicks will assume the role of Associate Head Coach/General Manager for the Bulls.
The North Iowa Bulls congratulate Kevin Murdock on his NCAA Division I opportunity and wish him continued success with the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves program.