Walt Kyle was named the second head hockey coach in Northern Michigan University history on June 13, 2002. Kyle, who has led the Wildcats to six 20-win seasons, boasts an overall record of 237-225-57.
Kyle won his 200th career game on Jan. 4, 2012 with a 6-2 victory at St. Cloud State. He guided the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament during the 2009-10 campaign and to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association Championship Tournament at Joe Louis Arena seven times.
In addition to being the 2009-10 CCHA tournament runner-up, Northern Michigan won the third-place game three times (‘02-03, ‘07-08, ‘08-09). To date, the Wildcats have posted three 22-win seasons (‘02-03, ‘04-05, ‘05-06), a 21-win season (‘03-04) and two 20-win seasons (‘07-08, ‘09-10) in Kyle’s tenure as head coach.
Before he returned to Northern Michigan, Kyle held a number of professional coaching positions, including with the National Hockey League’s New York Rangers and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, the American Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs and Baltimore Bandits, the International Hockey League’s San Diego Gulls and the Western Hockey League’s Seattle Thunderbirds. During that time, he coached NHL stars such as Mark Messier, Eric Lindros, Brian Leetch, Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne.
Kyle was a two-time letterman at Northern Michigan after transferring from Boston College, netting 31 goals and 59 assists in 85 games. He also captained the 1980 and 1981 Wildcat squads that advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four. He is the first player to score a goal in two NCAA tournaments for two different teams.
After graduating from Northern Michigan in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education, Kyle became a graduate assistant coach under Rick Comley. He was promoted to assistant coach in 1982 and held that position until 1992. When the Wildcats won their first NCAA Division I national title in 1991, Kyle was the top assistant coach.
Heavily involved in USA Hockey, Kyle was named to the organization’s International Council in June 2002. In 2006, he led the U.S. National Junior Team to a fourth-place finish at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in British Columbia.Kyle has also served as an assistant coach for multiple American squads at international tournaments. In 2001, he served under Lou Vairo on the fourth-place IIHF World Championship team. In 1992, he helped lead the U.S. Junior National Team to a bronze medal, which stands as the highest finish by an American squad under the World Junior Championship’s original format. Kyle also coached the 1991 and 1993 U.S. Junior National Teams and the 1994 World Championships squad.
Kyle has four children: daughters, Erin and Quinn and sons, Evan and Walt.
Career Record: 237-225-57
Record at NMU: 237-225-57
CCHA Record: 136-135-37
WCHA Record: 24-27-5