Penn State women’s hockey coach Josh Brandwene retires 1 year after mistreatment accusations
Penn State women’s ice hockey coach Josh Brandwene announced his retirement in a statement Wednesday, less than 13 months after PSU’s student newspaper, The Daily Collegian, reported on accusations of mistreatment surrounding the program.
Brandwene had been on a family medical leave of absence since Jan. 20, according to Penn State.
Brandwene played for the Penn State men’s hockey team from 1987 to 1991 and accepted a job as the women’s coach in 2011. The PSU women began their tenure as a varsity sports team in the 2012-13 season.
“Since I started in this position at Penn State, my wife’s career has grown and shifted, and we now navigate two careers with high travel demands during the academic year,” Brandwene said in the statement released through the athletic department’s website. “I’ve been blessed to have Leona’s unwavering support for my coaching career for 25 years. It’s my turn to make a change that will support her career and move into a role that enables me to spend more time with our daughter, Sophie.”
Penn State athletics said in a press release that Dean Jackson will remain in his role as interim coach, while athletic director Sandy Barbour begins a national search for Brandwene’s long-term replacement.
In March 2016, The Daily Collegian published a story that included three former players and an unnamed athlete on the team accusing Brandwene of bullying members of his team. The story cited three sources who said 13 players met with an athletic administrator in 2014 to voice their displeasure about Brandwene’s aggressive coaching tactics.
In its press release Wednesday, Penn State touted Brandwene’s success building a new program and helping players perform well in the classroom.
Brandwene’s team placed third in the College Hockey America conference last season, and during the 2015-16 academic year, women’s hockey led all Penn State programs with 10 Big Ten Distinguished Scholars, according to the release.
Brandwene’s retirement comes less than two months after Penn State fired women’s gymnastics coach Jeff Thompson, who also faced accusations of mistreating his players.
The news also follows a Tuesday announcement that illustrates PSU’s investment in the future of women’s hockey: The NCAA picked Penn State’s Pegula Ice Arena to host the 2022 women’s Frozen Four.