Shari Vogt starred for the only winning team MSU has had.

The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Eric Means’ first major decision as Minnesota State women’s hockey coach was, perhaps, his easiest.

“It was a no brainer,” he said.

On Friday, Means announced that he had hired MSU alum Shari Vogt as an assistant coach.

Vogt was arguably the best player in the program’s 11-year history. The goaltender is MSU’s only All-American and Patty Kazmaier Award finalist, earning both honors in 2004, her senior season, which was also the only winning season the Mavericks have ever had.

She was also a two-time All-Western Collegiate Hockey Association first-team pick and a member of the U.S. National Team on multiple occasions.

“To me, when I got the job,” Means said, “I wanted to hire her first.”

As longtime men’s hockey assistant, Means has observed Vogt an many occasions, including long before she enrolled at the university.

“I’ve known her for a long time,” said Means, who was hired in mid-May. “She came to hockey school here (as an eighth- and ninth-grader, she said). I always liked her work ethic, and I always liked the attitude she had around the rink. The type of player she was is the culture we need to turn this program around. She’s extremely dedicated and an extremely hard worker.”

Vogt graduated from Minnesota State with a degree in physical education in 2004 and earned her master’s degree in exercise science from MSU in 2008. She worked as an assistant coach for the Mankato West girls hockey team in 2004-05 and has been a lead instructor for The Goalie Club camps since 2003. Last hockey season, she was an assistant coach for the 19U girls prep team at Shattuck St. Mary’s School in Faribault.

“I’m excited,” Vogt said. “I enjoyed playing there. ... (Means) is going to move it in the right direction. He’s going to get people competing in practice and competing for spots.”

Vogt, a Richmond, Minn., native knows about competing and tough decisions. She was on the 2006 U.S. Olympic team’s training-camp roster but was among the last players cut.

“I knew I wanted to stay in hockey in some capacity,” she said. “Last season was the first year I didn’t play (competitively), but I really enjoyed (coaching). I figured out that this is something I wanted to do.”

Means said he’s close to hiring a second assistant and hopes to have that person in place by the end of next week.

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