GLENDALE, AZ - —The Central Hockey League (CHL) announced today that Wichita Thunder Head Coach Kevin McClelland has been selected the recipient of the 2011-12 Central Hockey League Coach of the Year award following balloting among all 14 CHL head coaches.
McClelland becomes just the second coach to win the distinguished award twice in the CHL joining David Lohrei, current Arizona Sundogs head coach, who earned the honor in 1998 with Nashville and 2000 with Fayetteville. McClelland previously was named the CHL Coach of the Year in 2007 with the Memphis RiverKings.
The Coach of the Year award is presented annually to the Central Hockey League coach adjudged to have contributed most to his team's success."
"Kevin has built a solid hockey club over his short time with the Thunder," said Duane Lewis, CHL Commissioner. "Winning the League's regular season championship is a reflection of his efforts in recruiting and preparing his team nightly, while instilling the same confidence he had when he played. Kevin is such a deserving winner of the Coach of the Year Award this season, and on behalf of the entire CHL, we congratulate him on this honor, knowing full well his task is not completed."
In his second year with the Thunder, McClelland took over a team that went 9-50-5 during the 2009-10 season and immediately made them a contender going 34-26-6 in his first season (2010-11). This year, Wichita is currently 44-16-3 and earlier this week, clinched the Bud Poile Governors' Cup as the league’s regular season point's champion.
McClelland is in his seventh season in the CHL working with the RiverKings from 2005-08, the Colorado Eagles from 2008-10 and the Thunder from 2010-current. His current career CHL record is 265-149-35 (including this season) with his 265 career wins ranking eighth on the league's all-time wins list.
In this year’s voting, McClelland appeared on 10 of the 14 ballots submitted (coaches were not permitted to vote for themselves) and earned six first place votes, one second place vote and three third place votes for a total of 36 points. First place votes earned five points, second place votes earned three points and third place votes earned one point. Coming in second place with 29 points was Evansville's Rich Kromm and finishing third with 24 points was Quad City's David Bell.