Craig Russell is in his eighth year as head men’s ice hockey coach at Plymouth State in 2017-18, and his 19th year with the Panther hockey program. He played four seasons in a Panther uniform, served five years as assistant coach, two as associate head coach, and in 2010 became the eighth head coach in the program’s 46-year history.
Russell has enjoyed very successful campaigns in his first seven years as head coach, capturing at least a share of five MASCAC regular season titles and claiming two MASCAC tournament championships. He guided the 2011-12 Panthers to the MASCAC regular season and tournament championships, the first championship in the 40-year history of the program and the school's first berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament, and duplicated the feat in 2014-15.
The Panthers repeated the MASCAC regular season title in 2013 and 2016 and earned a share of the crown in 2014, advancing to the conference tournament title game each season. PSU has played in the last six MASCAC Championship games, and Russell enters this season with a career coaching record of 121-51-17 (.685).
Russell was rewarded after PSU’s championship seasons, earning MASCAC Coach of the Year honors in 2012, 2013 and 2015. Five of the six players on the All-Conference First Team were from PSU in 2013, with an additional Panther named to the Second Team. The 2015 All-MASCAC Team included five Panthers, including the Player of the Year, while four Panthers were honored in 2016.
A 2003 graduate of Plymouth State, Russell played four years on the hockey team, serving as alternate captain as a senior. He was an on-ice and bench assistant coach for seven years as well as chief recruiter.
A native of Northfield, Vt., Russell joined the Panther staff as an assistant in 2003, and was elevated to associate head coach in 2008. Russell helped lead the Panthers to an 86-80-12 record as an assistant coach under coach Brett Tryder, with four post-season berths (three ECAC, one MASCAC).