TAMPA BAY – Norfolk Admirals head coach Steve Stirling has been reassigned to a full-time college scouting position, it was announced today by Lightning Executive Vice President & General Manager Jay Feaster. In addition, Feaster announced that the Lightning will not exercise their option on Norfolk assistant coach Darren Rumble at this time. The search for a new head coach in Norfolk will commence AFTER the closing of the pending sale of the Lightning to OK Hockey.
“For the past 15-years, we have very badly needed a full-time scout devoted to college hockey,” Feaster said. “Over the years we have utilized part-time people as well as full-time pro and amateur scouts to fill the void, but we have never had a full-time scout to properly mine the talent at the college level. Given Steve's extensive background and connections at the collegiate level, combined with his coaching history in the AHL and NHL, we are confident that he is the right person for the job and we appreciate his willingness to switch gears and assist the organization in this critical endeavor.
“In light of the pending sale of the Lightning to OK Hockey, we will defer the search for a new head coach in Norfolk until after the closing on the sale transaction. However, finding the right person to lead our team in Norfolk will be a key priority for us this summer. Once a new head coach is named we will work with that person to ensure that the new coach has significant input into the hiring of an assistant coach for Norfolk as well.”
Prior to joining the Lightning organization as head coach of the AHL’s Springfield Falcons in 2006, Stirling spent eight seasons as a coach in the New York Islanders organization and was named Minor Pro Coach of the Year in 2001-02 by The Hockey News after leading the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to a 43-25-8-4 record and a spot in the Calder Cup Final. His coaching career began at Babson College in Massachusetts in 1978, and he was named Division II/III NCAA Coach of the Year in 1980 and 1982. Stirling then moved on to Providence College, leading the team to the 1985 NCAA Final, before returning to Babson as head coach and athletic director. Stirling’s 15-season collegiate coaching record is 290-129-28 (.692)