Big Rapids, Mich. - Ferris State University men's ice hockey head coach Bob Daniels, who led the Bulldogs to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Regular-Season Championship and an NCAA Elite Eight finish this past year, will take on a new role as a celebrity racer to raise funds for charity in this year's Mecosta County Fair "Celebrity Harness Race".
A two-time National Coach of the Year, Daniels will be among five local residents who will race in the Celebrity Sulky Race at the Mecosta County Agriculture Free Fair on Tuesday, July 8, in Big Rapids at the Mecosta County Fairgrounds. He'll race to raise support for The Little Kevin Courtney Fund in support of local youth hockey players in need.
The event begins with an Infield Party starting at 7 p.m. (ET) and tickets for the event are $20. The price includes admission to the race and party, appetizers, pot of gold raffle, best dressed contest and a cash bar provided by the Elks of Big Rapids. All proceeds go to the racers' charities.
Along with Coach Daniels, the other racers in the community service fundraiser will include Phil Keating, racing for Project Starburst, along with Michael Kondziolka, who will be racing for St. Mary's School of Big Rapids. The other two participants will be Tom Tacia, racing for the Susan P. Wheatlake Cancer and Wellness Fund, in addition to Tracy Morningstar, DC, racing for Meceola Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
To purchase tickets, please call Stacy Chaput at (231) 598-0571 or contact any of the racers.
Daniels was chosen this past year as the national runner-up for the American Hockey Coaches Association's (AHCA) prestigious Spencer Penrose Award as the Division I Men's Ice Hockey STX/AHCA Coach of the Year. Daniels, a previous two-time winner of the annual award presented to college hockey's most outstanding coach, led the Bulldogs to the WCHA Regular-Season Championship in the school's debut season in the league and guided FSU to an NCAA Elite Eight finish.
Chosen as the WCHA Coach of the Year this campaign, Daniels led the Bulldogs to the regular season title as first-year league members. In his 22nd season at the helm, the two-time National Coach of the Year Award recipient guided the Bulldogs to their second conference championship in the last three years as FSU became only the third program ever to win both the WCHA and the former Central Collegiate Hockey Association titles. The Bulldogs led the league race from wire-to-wire in claiming the fabled MacNaughton Cup and securing the number one seed for the league playoffs.
During the 2013-14 season, the Bulldogs established a new school record under Daniels with a nation-leading 16-game unbeaten streak, which lasted from late October until early January. Ferris State did not drop a conference game until the middle of January and the Bulldogs finished the regular-season with a first-place 20-6-2 league slate.
Under Daniels' leadership, Ferris State posted one of the nation's best overall record and recorded the second-most wins in school history with a 29-11-3 overall record. FSU came within a game of reaching the NCAA Frozen Four for the second time in three years and also reached the WCHA Final Five Championship game at Van Andel Arena in Big Rapids. Ferris State was the lone team from the state of Michigan to reach the NCAA Tournament this campaign and one of only two schools from the WCHA along with Minnesota State.
This past season, the Bulldogs owned one of the country's top marks on home ice with a 16-1-1 record inside the Ewigleben Ice Arena. FSU, ranked as high as second and among the nation's top 10 teams each of the last 18 weeks, went unbeaten at home (13-0-1) in conference action and posted its sixth-straight season with increased home attendance. This season's average of 2,141 fans per game was its best in 32 years.
The longest serving coach in FSU history, Daniels has won 379 games at Ferris State and coached 10 All-Americans, including 2003 Hobey Baker Hat Trick Award Finalist Chris Kunitz, the first ever CCHA Player of the Year to come from Ferris State. Daniels has also been very active with USA Hockey and the American Hockey Coaches Association.
Off the ice, the Bulldogs have also succeeded in Daniels' tenure. FSU has been one of the nation's most successful programs in the classroom, placing among the top ten teams in the country and leading its respective conference each of the last two years in the NCAA Academic Progress Report Listing. In addition, the Bulldogs are often active in the community throughout the year, taking part in a wide variety of community service initiatives.