Bollinger brings analytical eye to Walleye coaching roleWritten by Sarah Ottney | Editor in Chief | firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s Note: Updated with comments from Matt Bollinger and Greg Urig.
The Toledo Walleye have added Matt Bollinger as assistant coach, with a focus on increasing the team’s use of video and statistical analysis.
The Sylvania native has been head coach for the University of Toledo’s club hockey team for the past three years.
“We are very excited to add Matt to our staff; it is very impressive what he has accomplished at the University of Toledo,” said Walleye head coach Derek Lalonde in a news release from the Walleye. “I like his passion and eagerness and he will bring a fresh approach to help round out the staff.”
Bollinger said the Walleye are looking for him bring an analytical eye to the role, including an increased use of video and statistical analysis.
“One of the things they are really looking for me to bring to the game is the video coaching approach — taking videos of players and breaking them down — and getting more in depth with statistics,” Bollinger said. “They are looking for me to bring a new approach to the game that they are not necessarily already bringing because they already have their own responsibilities and roles.”
Bollinger describes his coaching style as approachable and hands-on.
“I try to work with players as best I can and make it an inviting atmosphere where they know they can come to us for anything,” he said. “I think most players dream of playing for their hometown team. I’m not playing, but I get the opportunity to coach with them. It’s a great opportunity and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Bollinger played hockey for Sylvania Southview High School and then for UT. He worked for five seasons as an assistant coach at Southview before taking over UT’s program.
At UT, Bollinger posted a three-year record of 78-28-2, including three consecutive league tournament championships, according to the release. Last season, he led UT to a 28-8-2 overall record and was named Tri-State College Hockey League Coach of the Year. He lives in Toledo with his wife Joanna and sons Braden and Brooks.
UT’s assistant coach Dan Conway, also a former hockey player at UT, will take over as head coach for the UT team.
Bollinger will be missed at UT, but the team will be in good hands under Conway, said UT hockey general manager Greg Urig.
“We had a lot of success under Matt,” Urig said. “He was great with helping push the organization forward and grow the program as far as helping it gain popularity on campus, in the community and nationally. We’ll miss him but we’re very happy he’s able to jump up and take this new opportunity with the Walleye. We want to continue the tradition and legacy he started to build at UT.
“Dan’s going to be a seamless transition. Being around the team so long, as a four-year player, two-time captain and assistant coach under Matt last year, he probably knows the team better than anyone. There won’t be any real learning curve. And most importantly he has the respect of the players already. The players want to play for him and Dan is very eager to prove himself as coach. He’s more than ready to put forth that effort and we think he’s going to be a good fit.”
Dan Watson, former Walleye assistant coach who served as interim head coach, will be associate head coach for the Walleye.