The Pittsburgh Penguins and head coach Mike Sullivan have agreed to a four-year contract extension, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
The extension will kick in at the conclusion of the 2019-20 campaign, and run through the 2023-24 season.
"Mike has done a great job delivering four, 100-plus point seasons with our team," Rutherford said. "To win back-to-back Stanley Cups in this era speaks volumes of him as a coach. His instincts in managing the inter-workings of our team both on and off the ice has been impressive."
A native of Marshfield, Massachusetts, Sullivan began his tenure in Pittsburgh by leading the Penguins to back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships in 2016 and 2017. This incredible feat made him:
- The first American-born coach in NHL history to win multiple Stanley Cups.
- The second head coach to win Stanley Cups in each of his first two seasons behind the bench with a team, joining Toe Blake (Montreal, 1956-58).
- The first head coach to lead his team to back-to-back championships since Scotty Bowman won with the Detroit Red Wings in 1996 and 1997.
"Mike has proven he is a tremendous leader for our team," said Penguins team president and CEO David Morehouse. "Our trust in him as a coach has continued to grow since winning back-to-back Stanley Cups in his first two years. Mike has a championship mindset and he is the right guy for our team, the organization and the city of Pittsburgh."
The 51-year old Sullivan took over as Pittsburgh's bench boss on December 12, 2015 after the Penguins had lost five of their previous seven games and were sitting in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. Under his guidance, the team posted a 33-16-5 mark to finish the year, vaulting them to the second-best record in the Eastern Conference en route to Pittsburgh's fourth Stanley Cup championship. Of the 24 games played that postseason, Sullivan's Penguins only dropped back-to-back games once.
By going on to win the Stanley Cup in 2016, Sullivan became just the sixth American-born head coach in NHL history to guide his club to a championship, and only the fourth coach to win after taking over at midseason.
The following year, Sullivan guided Pittsburgh to the second-best record in the NHL, a 50-21-11 mark - making him the third coach in team history to win 50 games. Despite the team suffering 286 man-games lost over the course of the year, including losing All-Star defenseman Kris Letang in late February to a herniated disc, the Penguins finished with the league's most goals in the regular season (282) and the fourth-best goal differential (+48).
That spring, Sullivan and the Penguins continued their playoff success, going 16-9 as they captured franchise's fifth Stanley Cup, and second back-to-back title (also 1991-92). The Penguins were especially dominant at home, where they went 10-3, establishing a new franchise record for playoff wins at home.
Since joining Pittsburgh, Sullivan has gone 9-2 in playoff series, while his 38 postseason wins rank second in Penguins history, trailing Dan Bylsma (43) who has coached 13 more playoff games with Pittsburgh than Sullivan.
Overall, Sullivan is 174-92-34 behind the Penguins' bench. His 300 games coached and 174 wins with Pittsburgh both rank third in franchise history, while his .637 points percentage is second best in team history. The Penguins have recorded 100 or more points in all four seasons that Sullivan has been head coach.
Since taking over on December 12, 2015, Sullivan's Penguins:
- Have scored 994 goals, tied with Tampa Bay for most in the NHL.
- Have won 174 games, the third-highest total in the league.
- Have won an NHL-best 38 playoff games - nine more than the next closest team (Washington, 29).
Sullivan was originally hired by Pittsburgh as the head coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Pittsburgh's top farm club. WBS started off the 2015-16 campaign with an 18-5 record prior to his promotion to Pittsburgh.
The year before joining the Pittsburgh organization, Sullivan earned a Stanley Cup ring with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2014-15, serving as a player development coach.
Sullivan began his NHL head coaching career with the Boston Bruins from 2003-06, winning a division title his first year. He later spent seven straight years as an NHL assistant coach with Tampa Bay, the New York Rangers and Vancouver from 2007-14.
Sullivan has coached for Team USA several times at the international level, including serving as an assistant coach at this year's World Cup and in the 2006 Olympics, and he was the head coach of the 2006 World Championship team.
Before beginning his coaching career, Sullivan skated in 709 NHL games over 11 seasons, totaling 54 goals and 136 points.