In what was all but a foregone conclusion at this point, the University of Denver finally announced that they have extended the contract of 2022 National Champion head coach David Carle through the 2026-27 season. Carle, 32, took over for 2017 National champion Jim Montgomery after the 2017-18 season when ‘Monty’ signed on with the Dallas Stars for the same role.
After leading the Pioneers to the 2019 Frozen Four in his first season as head coach, the COVID-19 pandemic stymied his program’s progress as the 2019-20 postseason was canceled and the 2020-21 season’s protocols prevented the Pioneers from reaching their potential. However, once he and his program had a normal year with normal summer training and a full preseason training camp, Carle immediately led the Pioneers back to the top of the college hockey world in Boston. Starting with a 3-2 overtime victory over Michigan in the Frozen Four semifinal before a monster five-goal third period led the Pioneers to a 5-1 national championship victory, Carle’s fourth Pioneers team earned the program’s ninth title, tying Michigan for the most national championships of all time.
“My family and I are thrilled to be staying in Denver for the foreseeable future,” Head Coach David Carle said via DU’s press release. “I want to thank Chair of the Board of Trustees John Miller, Chancellor Jeremy Haefner, Athletic Director Josh Berlo and former Athletic Director Karlton Creech for their efforts and support for getting this deal done. Being entrusted to lead this historic program is a tremendous responsibility and honor. Our staff and players are excited to build upon the many accomplishments we have achieved together in recent years. We remain steadfast in our pursuit of excelling in the classroom and winning on the ice, and we can’t wait to defend our championship this upcoming season.”
Carle’s record in his four seasons at the helm of the Pioneers is 86-43-13, including Denver’s 31-9-1 record last year, the program’s fourth 30-win season since George Gwozdecky took over the program in 1994.
“David Carle represents the impressive values of Denver Hockey, and I’m thankful for not only inheriting such an intelligent and hardworking head coach but for the work of Vice Chancellor Karlton Creech and University leadership before my arrival to facilitate this contract extension,” said Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Ritchie Center Operations Josh Berlo. “The 2022 Men’s Ice Hockey National Championship added another legacy marker to an already storied program. I’ve had the chance to get to know David over the years and admire the way that he leads this elite program.”
While Carle’s extension was all but a foregone conclusion, it marks Berlo’s second important decision since taking over for Karlton Creech earlier this summer. Last week, DU announced that it had extended gymnastics head coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart’s contract through 2026-27 and now, Carle deservedly received the same treatment. These two early decisions by Berlo are showing not only his confidence in his department’s current coaching staff but also his wisdom in noticing that if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
“Denver hockey and the university has done a lot for me in my life and my family,” Carle said during his national championship postgame press conference in April. “With my brother having gone to the school and them honoring my scholarship. For Monty to give me an opportunity as a young assistant coach to come back, for [former AD Karlton Creech] and John Miller and Ron Grahame to give me the opportunity to lead the program at such a young age, that responsibility does not fall on me lightly…I owe a lot of what I have in my life to the University and this program is very special.”
With the extension now signed and Carle under contract for the next five years, the focus can now turn back to the ice where he will begin his quest to lead the Pioneers program to heights no college hockey program has before seen. All he has to do is do what he’s already done – win a national championship.
Photo credit: Andy Cross, The Denver Post