Ben Barr Named Associate Head Hockey Coach
Barr, 32, spent the past three seasons at Providence College, helping the Friars to three consecutive Hockey East Tournament Semifinals appearances. Last season he helped Providence to a 22 win season, a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a berth in the East Regional Finals. Prior to his time at Providence he spent three seasons at Union College, helping recruit Union’s senior class that led them to the 2014 NCAA Championship.
“I couldn’t be happier to have the opportunity to work at Western Michigan University,” said Barr. “I have the utmost respect for the program Andy, Pat (Ferschwiler) and Rob (Facca) have built and I’m humbled to have the opportunity to be part of the Bronco hockey program. Coach Murray had a huge impact on myself and all my teammates in one year at Shattuck St. Mary’s, so the opportunity to work with him again is really special.”
“The past three years at Providence College have been the best three years anyone could ask for,” Barr continued. “Nate (Leaman) is a tremendous mentor and friend. I can’t thank him, Providence, and the team enough for allowing me to be a part of the Friars.”
Barr has worked for, and with, some of college hockey’s best since playing at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) from 2000-04. He spent one season as an assistant at his alma mater, learning from head coach Seth Appert and assistant coach, and current Denver head coach, Jim Montgomery. At Union he worked under current Providence head coach Nate Leaman and reigning Spencer Penrose Award winner Rick Bennett, now the head coach at Union. Barr, who played for Murray and won a National Championship with him for a season at Shattuck St. Mary’s, also learned under Tom Ward at the famous prep school.
“Rob Facca did a tremendous job in helping rebuild this program,” said Murray. “We needed a top person to come in and replace him and we got that in Ben. When looking for a replacement I wanted to focus on someone with a good character profile, competence and a WMU connection. Ben has worked for, played for and learned from some excellent coaches throughout his career. We had a lot of very qualified coaches interested in the positions, including Western Michigan alums, but we felt Ben’s experience with winning programs like Providence and Union really set him apart.
Barr honed his character and competence as a student-athlete at RPI. He was a member of the Dean’s List all four years and was named to the President’s List his senior season. Barr was a leader on the ice as well, captaining the Engineers during his senior season and being named team MVP. In total he appeared in 140 games while racking up 64 points on 25 goals and 39 assists.
“Ben is a good person, a great recruiter and loves the game of hockey,” said current scout for the Chicago Blackhawks and former WMU associate head coach Rob Facca. “He will be a great fit for the Bronco hockey family.”
Barr, a native of Fairbault, Minn., brings along his wife Tara to Kalamazoo.