East Lansing, Michigan. — Adam Nightingalea Spartan alumnus with hockey experience at the international, professional, collegiate and youth levels, was named the eighth head coach in Michigan State hockey history.
Nightingale comes to MSU after two seasons as head coach of the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP) and brings four years of NHL experience, including as an assistant coach for the Reds. Detroit Wings in 2019-20. Known for his exceptional player development and recruiting connections, Nightingale served as alternate captain for two years as a Spartan student-athlete.
“It is a great pride for me to bring Adam Nightingale back at Michigan State University as the new Spartan Hockey Head Coach,” said Alain Haller, MSU Vice President and Director of Athletics. “Adam has a passion for the school and the program, and his combination of skill development, player development and recruiting ties promises to make the next era of Spartan hockey a successful chapter in the rich history of a proud program.
“Spartan hockey has a rich tradition and a committed alumni base who care deeply about their program. Throughout this process, Spartan alumni have proven to be an invaluable resource to me. set up an alumni advisory group including former All-Americans and NHL players, who played an important role in helping me develop the criteria for identifying the right coach for lasting success for hockey from Michigan State Beyond the advisory group, I had conversations with several other alumni, many of whom had NHL experience as players, coaches, and in Beyond Spartan alumni, I I have also connected with several members of the hockey community, both professionally and collegially, each of whom recognizes the great history of MSU and the importance of this hire for the program to develop a better understanding of the college hockey landscape and the qualities that our next coach should possess.
“Criteria such as skill development, strong recruiting ties, style of play, respect throughout the hockey community and an ability to holistically develop student-athletes on and off the ice have become l goal and search tags. Being a former Spartan player was not a requirement for me or the advisory group. It was something that was very clear. My goal was to find the right person based on the criteria developed In extensive research, which included conversations with some current successful head coaches, Adam matched all of the established criteria.
“One thing has been very clear throughout this process. Michigan State is one of the best college hockey programs in the country. Everyone, from alumni to our loyal fans, have high expectations every year. I hope they are all smiling today because the future is bright for Spartan hockey We will take to the ice this fall in a renovated arena in Munn, and at all levels there is a renewed commitment to Perhaps most importantly, Adam brings a deep understanding of where we are as a program and a clear plan for what is needed to reach championship heights again.”
Nightingale will be officially introduced at a press conference on Monday, May 9.
“I am extremely grateful and honored to have the opportunity to lead at Michigan State University,” Nightingale said. “Spartan Hockey is a source of pride for the University, the community of East Lansing and the entire State of Michigan. I would like to thank Athletic Director Alain Hallerassistant DA Jennifer Smithand everyone involved in the process of finding the opportunity to come home and be part of this legendary program again.
“We will hire well-equipped staff to support our student-athletes and are committed to developing them as people, not just as hockey players. We want to bring in high-level players who aspire to work hard and help them. evolve to the point of having the possibility of playing in the National Hockey League.
“Our staff will focus on player development so that we can play an exciting and skilled brand of hockey. We will continue the traditions of hard-working student-athletes who excel not only on the ice, but in the classroom as well. We look forward to rebuilding the program where our proud alumni and supporters know it should be. i.e. the pinnacle of college hockey.
For the past two seasons, Nightingale served as head coach for the USNTDP. He guided his current team to a silver medal at the U.S. Men’s Under-18 World Championships last week. His U-18 team played 15 games against Division I competition throughout the 2021-22 campaign, going 8-7 and recorded three more wins against Division III schools. His list has 22 commitments in Division I.
Nightingale has now supported seven U.S. teams on the international stage, which includes his head coaching duties this season and as coach of the bronze medal-winning 2021 U.S. Men’s World Championship team. Previously, he was the video coach for the United States Men’s National Team for three consecutive years (2017-19), including for the bronze medal-winning team in 2018. He was also the video coach for the United States Junior National Team in 2015.
Prior to his stint with the USNTDP, the native of Cheboygan, Michigan spent four seasons on the NHL staff. From 2017 to 2020, he was a member of the Detroit Red Wings organization. As an assistant coach in 2019-20, he was responsible for player development, pre-scouting of opponents and penalty kill execution. He worked as a video coach during his first two years in Detroit, a role he also held for the Buffalo Sabers in 2016-17.
Prior to joining the professional ranks, Nightingale served as the head coach of Shattuck-St. Mary’s 14U (Bantam) Team in Faribault, Minnesota for two seasons (2014-16), leading the team to a national championship in 2016 as well as two years (2008-10) as the team’s head coach Midget AA from Shattuck.
Between his stints at Shattuck, Nightingale was the director of hockey operations at Michigan State, serving at his alma mater overseeing all team video as well as team travel.
While he began his college career at Lake Superior State (2000-02), the final two seasons of Nightingale’s college playing career were at Michigan State (2003-05). In a total of 118 games, he totaled 37 points (18g-19a). At MSU, he served as alternate captain for two seasons and won the Spartan Fitness Award in 2004. Nightingale then played four seasons in the ECHL with the Gwinnett Gladiators, Greenville Grrrowl and Charlotte Checkers.
Nightingale’s family includes his wife, Kristin, and three children, Trevor, Emmerson and Keeton. His older brother, Jason, is the assistant director of amateur scouting for the Buffalo Sabers, while his younger brother, Jared, is also a Spartan alum and is currently an assistant coach for the AHL’s Rockford Ice Hogs.
WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT ADAM NIGHTINGALE…
Justin Abdelkader (2005-08 MSU, 2008-20 Detroit Red Wings; 2022 Olympian)
I had the pleasure of working with Adam in Detroit when he was an assistant coach with the Wings and also for the past two years with his team at USA Hockey. He really has a great way of connecting with his players and getting the most out of them. His players respect him as a person and as a coach. I can’t wait for him to have the same impact on his players here at Michigan State.
Torey Krug (MSU 2009-12, NHL 2012-present)
I spent hours talking about hockey with Adam during our overlap time at MSU. It was not only evident that he had a great hockey spirit, but his passion for MSU and his leadership skills would make him a great head coach one day. We are lucky to have such a great person behind the Spartans bench and I wish him and his family the best of luck as they return to East Lansing!
John-Michael Liles (1999-2003; NHL 2003-17; Olympian 2006)
Adam Nightingale is a coach who our group believes will have a long and successful tenure at MSU. I had the good fortune to serve on the advisory board of Alain Haller and and Jennifer Smithand we focused on several key parameters in hiring a new hockey coach.
Adam was someone who excelled in each of those areas, and his coaching track record speaks for itself. His ability to recruit top rookies, while making MSU Hockey a national contender, are just a few of the many reasons he was the right choice.
I couldn’t be happier for Adam and his family, and for the Spartan Hockey family in the future.
Ryan Miller (MSU 1999-2002; NHL 2002-21; Olympian 2010 and 2014)
Adam has always been a dedicated worker and a quality person. He has become a respected trainer who focuses on skill and character development. I believe his work ethic and competitive nature will be a great example for young players.
It was a big hire for MSU and I think AD Alain Haller and Deputy AD Jennifer Smith were extremely proactive in relying on alumni and important figures from the hockey world to help define what is expected of a modern college coach before hiring the best candidate.
Scott Monaghan, USA Hockey Deputy Executive Director for the National Team Development Program and USA Hockey Arena
Adam is a terrific coach who has had a significant impact on the NTDP during two very difficult years going through a global pandemic. He will be a perfect fit for Michigan State and we wish him the best as he builds the Spartan program.