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Checking In with Coach Herman

07/10/2018, 10:30am MDT
By Tricia Luna // UTEP Hockey Club

“It’s always exciting to see the players come back to the rink and start working.”

When Coach Tom Herman first stepped on the bench in 2015 for the Miners he had one goal in mind, building a successful ACHA club hockey team both on and off the ice. Three years later, the Miners have done just that. With a TCHC Conference Championship and over 60 wins under his belt, the honor of being named TCHC Coach of the Year was well deserved. “It was a great honor to be recognized by the conference and other coaches. We had a great group of players in the locker room that made my job easy. It’s an award that is shared by the club, the players are the one’s believing in our system and buying into our program,” comments Coach Herman.
 
Heading into their 4th season overall and 3rd season apart of TCHC, the Miners are ready to reclaim their spot at the top. “As a club, we want to be back on top in the TCHC and go back to regionals,” Coach Herman said. “The club found early success in just its second year and everyone wants to get back to that level.”
 
We sat down with Coach Herman to discuss his thoughts on the club this far and where he hopes to see it grow in the future.
 
Q: The Miners had a solid run this season, what are your thoughts on the 2017-18 season?
A: The start of the regular season was challenging for the team. Coming off such a strong season in 2016-17, and then losing some key players, it took our team some time to figure out new roles. However, after a few early losses, the club really came together and found their identity. We were then able to go on a 16 game conference win streak to move us up in the standings, putting us in a good position going into post season play.  
 
Q: UTEP had an exciting run during the playoffs unfortunately ending with a loss in the semifinals, how do you feel the team handled themselves in the postseason?
A: Playoff hockey is always the most exciting part of the season, and facing off against Texas A&M to open up playoffs, didn’t disappoint. We found ourselves down after two periods, but the team really came out in the 3rd period and fought hard for us to win and advance to the semifinal. Coming off such a big win and the emotional ups and downs from the game before, it was hard for our players to get back into a groove against UNT. UNT played very hard and unfortunately for us, ended our season.  
 
Q: How has the community helped support the program through the last 3 seasons?
A: Our fans have been great. To see all the UTEP supporters at the games and different events throughout the years has been really great to see. And it’s not only in El Paso. Every road game we see orange and blue in the stands and hear the UTEP chants.

 
Q: What is your philosophy of coaching and how do you use it to shape the UTEP Hockey program?
A: It’s all about hard work. The game doesn’t owe anyone anything, but if you are willing to work hard, you will get rewarded. There aren’t any guarantees, but the harder you work, the more successful you will be as player and team.
 
Q: As a former NCAA D1 athlete you understand the importance of getting an education, does that play a part in your coaching philosophy?
A: Education is the main reason all the players come to UTEP. The main thing players learn about being about of the club and team, is time management. The ability to combine education and sports isn’t easy. However, once the players learn how to manage their time, hockey becomes a lot more fun and way to get away from it all and do something you love for 1-3 hours a day. It’s a great life lesson to learn.
 
Q: Out of all the teams the Miners play, who would you say is your favorite conference matchup? Why?
A: Would have to say [Texas] A&M. Even before the TCHC was created, we played the Aggies in our first year. I think our overall record is .500. Each game seems to go to the wire, it’s always exciting and fun to be a part of.

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