Bavis named Nailers new coach, head of hockey ops

WHEELING — The Wheeling Nailers announced Mike Bavis has been named the team’s new head coach and director of hockey operations.

Bavis, 48, began his coaching career in 1998, joining the staff of his alma mater, Boston University. Bavis spent 15 years as an assistant coach and an associate coach with Jack Parker and the Terriers.

During his time there, Boston University compiled a 319-208-67 record, won the Hockey East Championship twice, and reached the NCAA National Tournament eight times, including the school’s fifth national championship in 2009. The Terriers also captured The Beanpot eight times with Bavis behind the bench. After leaving BU, Bavis spent one season as an assistant coach with the AHL’s Springfield Falcons, and most recently, one season as an assistant coach at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

“We are very pleased to welcome Mike Bavis to Wheeling as our new head coach,” Nailers Governor Don Rigby said. “Mike was an instrumental part in continuing a tremendous legacy with the ice hockey program at Boston University, while learning under one of the most influential NCAA coaches in Jack Parker. We are looking forward to him adding to our winning tradition, and becoming part of our community.”

As a player, the Roslindale, Mass., native was a forward, who entered his freshman year at Boston University after being selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft. Bavis appeared in 159 games with the Terriers, totaling 34 goals, 48 assists, and 82 points. Boston University reached the NCAA National Tournament all four seasons with Mike in the lineup, including three trips to the Frozen Four. After earning his degree in English, Bavis turned pro, playing two seasons in Buffalo’s organization with the Rochester Americans and South Carolina Stingrays.

“In coming down to Wheeling, I was impressed with Don Rigby and Brian Komorowski, as they gave me a great introduction into the franchise,” Bavis said. “Having the right culture is really important, and as the coach, I have to know how to get the most out of our players. Our job is to try to build a team that is fast, skilled, and fearless, which will attack, make plays with the puck, and put pressure on the opponent.”

During his coaching career at Boston University, Bavis had the opportunity to work with some outstanding players who went on to have great success in the NHL. Highlighting the top players were Nick Bonino, Charlie Coyle, Kevin Shattenkirk, Ryan Whitney, and Colin Wilson. Bavis also had a few former Nailers under his tutelage with the Terriers, led by John Curry, Bryan Ewing, and Sahir Gill.

“Our organization is very pleased to be able to name Mike Bavis our head coach,” Pittsburgh Penguins Assistant General Manager Bill Guerin said.

“Mike has been a key contributor to establish a winning culture wherever he has been. We know he’ll do the same for the Wheeling Nailers.”

Mike and his wife Kim have three children — son Jack (17) and daughters Ciara (15) and Tyler (11).