BLOOMINGTON — Chase Fuchs has been named to the Bloomington Thunder coaching staff, filling a vacancy created by the departure of associate head coach Dan Jewell earlier this month.
Fuchs spent the past two seasons as an assistant at Adrian College, a top flight NCAA Division III program. He joins head coach Mike Watt and assistant coach Leon Hayward on the Thunder's revamped staff heading into the club's fourth USHL season.
“For what I want to do in my career and where I want to go with things, this is a huge opportunity for me. It’s a special thing,” Fuchs said in the team's Wednesday news release announcing the hire.
“I’m really looking forward to getting started with it, diving head first into it and working with Watt and Leon and the rest of the organization. The USHL has that reputation and it’s an advancement league. It’s going to be fun to work with players of this caliber, as well.”
Fuchs will serve in a similar role as Jewell, helping to oversee the Thunder’s scouting, recruiting and draft efforts. Jewell left Bloomington to accept an assistant coach position with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
“I think we have an outstanding hire,” said Watt, who replaced original head coach Dennis Williams and also serves as the team's general manager. “His ability to recruit, identify talent and connect with the talent is crucial."
After making the playoffs in their second year, the Thunder will be seeking a postseasn return after finishing 25-27-8 last season. Fuchs is eager to help Watt acheive that goal.
“I’m just really looking forward to getting started and bringing a championship to Bloomington with the staff and players we have here,” he said.
In his two seasons at Adrian, Fuchs helped head coach Adam Krug guide the Golden Knights to a 44-11-3 overall record and consecutive Northern Collegiate Hockey Association titles, reaching the NCAA D-III quarterfinals in 2016 and the semifinals earlier this year.
“Adrian was a great place to work and learn not only with Adam Krug but with our players,” Fuchs said. “It enabled me to take this next step in my career.”
A Maryland native, Fuchs played three seasons of Division I hockey as a defenseman for Clarkson University from 2010-13. Both Watt (Michigan State) and Hayward (Northeastern) also played at the D-I level.
“When you have three guys on staff that played Division I, it’s an easy relation to the current players and players coming into our program that need information or need guidance,” Watt said.
“We’ll be there to make sure they get the information but also the development. We know how to develop players for the next level and having three coaches on staff that can do that is very important.”