Mark Digby takes over as the assistant coach of the Oswego State men’s ice hockey team after a successful stint as the assistant coach of the Brockport Golden Eagles men’s ice hockey team, replacing Dan Ford.
Digby, a 2005 Brockport graduate, helped coach the men’s ice hockey team from 2006-10. At Brockport, Digby’s primary responsibilities were working with the defensive unit and recruiting. During Digby’s four years as the assistant coach, the Golden Eagles complied a 42-49-14 overall record and a 21-31-10 SUNYAC record.
Brockport head coach Brian Dickinson recruited Digby as a player in 2001. Digby played four years as a forward, serving as the team captain for the final two seasons. Digby appeared in 96 games, tallying 84 points on 41 goals and 43 assists. Digby had seven multi-goal games including a hat trick against SUNY Geneseo on Nov. 19, 2004.
Following a year spent coaching the Brockport High School hockey team, Dickinson approached Digby about the idea of being an assistant head coach of the college team. Digby’s relationship with Dickinson and the campus was a major factor in accepting the job.
"We’re about as tight as two people can be," Digby said. "He and I are best of friends. He was the one who recruited me to play there and then I worked with him for four years."
Digby helped rebuild a Golden Eagles program that won just seven games each of his first two seasons with the team. In his final two seasons with the team, Brockport won 14 games and seven conference games each season, earning the fourth seed in the conference playoffs in both seasons.
Following the 2009-10 season, Digby spoke with Oswego State head coach Ed Gosek down in Florida at the coaches convention over the summer about the possibility of the assistant coaching job. Digby was offered the job and was happy to accept the job, but said it was difficult to leave Brockport.
"I was on the campus for nine years both as a player and a coach," Digby said. "It was tough. I made some great relationships there and I was embedded in the college community pretty deep."
Digby has enjoyed his time with the Lakers so far and working with Gosek has been a great experience. Digby said that the partnership between him and Gosek has been very motivating and being able to talk hockey with someone all day has been inspiring.
"I was excited to work with someone who would push me as far as work ethic," Digby said. "He’s somebody that if you can outwork him then you’re doing a pretty good job. He’s someone who’s in the office a lot watching video and on the phone with recruits and other coaches."
As the assistant coach of the Lakers, Digby’s main responsibility with the team is working with the defense. Digby has enjoyed working with senior captain Kevin Huinink and senior assistant captain Stephen Mallaro.
"They are guys that are so focused and are so direct in the way that they want to be," Digby said. "They’re dedicated to getting better. They know that if they work harder they’re going to have a better chance to succeed."
Having coached in the Campus Center Ice Arena prior to joining the Laker staff, Digby knows the type of support that the team receives from both students and the community. Digby said that the atmosphere at Oswego State cannot be compared to any other team in Division III hockey. He praised the fans for not just being passionate about the game, but also for their apprehension of the sport.
"Having a more knowledgeable crew around the building is fun," Digby said. "It’s a good atmosphere for the guys to play in and certainly one that motivates us to do better."
Among all the games on this year’s schedule, Digby is looking forward to the game on Friday, Dec. 3, at Brockport. This year’s Golden Eagles team is all recruits of Digby’s, and he will be looking forward to the culmination of his recruitment class.
The Whiteout game against SUNY Plattsburgh on Saturday, Nov. 6, is another game that Digby knows will have great intensity. Digby was in attendance for both home games against the Cardinals last season and likens the rivalry to the Brockport/Geneseo games. Despite the large hype surrounding the game, Digby stresses that the Plattsburgh matchup isn’t the team’s sole focus.
"Our team goal is to put ourselves in a position to host games in the playoffs and hopefully that will work out," Digby said.
Digby, who is only 27 years old, doesn’t have a long-term coach in terms of coaching and said he’d rather focus on getting better on a day-by-day basis. He wants to make decisions that are beneficial to himself and his family.
"Long term, I don’t really have anything in mind of where I want to be more than just I want to be in a place where I continue to improve upon my understanding of the game and my ability to manage players as well," Digby said.