There's something uncanny in how he inspires the best out of his players. There's just a different level of intensity that you can see on the ice when he's behind the bench. It's this intangible quality that's impossible to quantify, except when you look at the on-ice results and the banners hanging on the wall.
Los Angeles, CA (Vocus) April 24, 2010
Mark Wilbur, Head Coach of the University of Southern California (USC) Men’s Ice Hockey Team to take on new GM role to grow and enhance program beyond its current championship success.
Fresh from winning his unprecedented 8th PAC 8 Championship, Wilbur is transitioning to focus his attention on a “list of USC Hockey to-do’s that I have wanted to get done for years. We have many opportunities in front of us that I simply can not get accomplished while trying to coach full time as well. I’m proud of many great accomplishments that I have enjoyed while coaching these great guys, not least of which was watching more than 700 players graduate from USC. This is not an end of a great run of Championships, but a more of a refresh and a beginning of another great run.”
Wilbur has coached USC for 17 years to an overall record of 322-155 (.675), and a record over cross-town rival UCLA of 63-21 (.750). In addition to coaching USC, Wilbur was the Executive Director of the PAC 8 for its first 11 years. He has supported the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) in many regional and national needs, including hosting the 2003 National Championship in Anaheim.
Easily the winningest coach in PAC 8 history, Wilbur is the last of the original founders of the PAC 8 Hockey Conference which celebrated its 15th year this past season and helped establish a recognized hockey conference on the west coast. Wilbur’s teams have won 8 of the 15 PAC 8 Championships to-date and were in the championship finals 11 of those years.
Several responses were captured from current and past players and staff:
Manny Ramirez, Asst. Coach for Past 15 Years – Mark has set the bar pretty high for how a hockey team should be coached and an organization run. He has won over 300 games and taken teams to play hockey in places like China and Iceland. He has taught the kids that you can have a lot of fun and still be all business when the puck drops. I have learned so much from him over the years, his hockey knowledge is amazing. But what he has done off the ice is just as impressive: he has been like a second father to many of our players, he has helped kids get jobs, decide on majors and was always there when the players needed someone to talk to. I was lucky enough to be part of Mark’s team and it was a pleasure being his assistant coach these past 15 years.
Ryan Seals, Former Captain and from 2006 and 2007 Championship Teams - "The belief he had in all four lines' ability to perform was key to beating Oregon my junior and senior seasons. I'm still a little bit in shock that he could take this year’s team as a fifth-seed that underperformed all year long and turn it into a champion. His official stamp is on this year's championship and I don't think there's a better way for him to go out."
Alex Goldsmith, Senior Broadcaster – "There's something uncanny in how he inspires the best out of his players. There's just a different level of intensity that you can see on the ice when he's behind the bench. It's this intangible quality that's impossible to quantify, except when you look at the on-ice results and the banners hanging on the wall."
Ryan Farias, Former player from 2006 and 2007 Championship Teams - "There's an undeniable winning culture that Mark Wilbur brought to USC Ice Hockey. With Mark, winning is expected, it becomes commonplace along with his confidence in the most adverse situations."
Justin O'Neill, Graduate Student Player - "He's a coach that you want to win for and that's the difference he brought to the locker room. I was shocked in that I know that he loves hockey and really enjoys being on the bench and being on this team and being the motor behind this team. I'm shocked from that perspective. I'm not shocked because he's at that point in his life where he has to give the extra time to his family and his daughters."
Groundbreaking - Wilbur’s efforts have been groundbreaking in many areas beyond helping to found the PAC 8, including in 2002 being the first US hockey team in history to play in China which was recognized by the Chinese National Sports Federation for this significant achievement. The team has since been back to China expanding its relationships in the country. The team also played in Japan and was hosted by the Mayor of Nagoya, Japan as the Sister City of Los Angeles. Wilbur has led the USC Ice Hockey team to international competitions for many years, which is unprecedented for any team in the PAC 8 or ACHA. Other destinations that the Wilbur led USC Trojans visited include France, Italy, Thailand and Iceland.
At time of the release, a replacement coach has not been named.
PAC 8 Championships: 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2010
Crosstown Cups vs. UCLA: 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
About USC Ice Hockey:
Established in 1925, USC Ice Hockey is a student-run organization under the auspices of University of Southern California’s Recreational Sports Department. The team plays in the PAC-8 Conference, and is a sanctioned member of USA Hockey and the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA), the national governing body of non-lettering college hockey. USC Ice Hockey plays approximately 25 games a season, playing teams locally, nationally, and even internationally. In 2002, USC Ice Hockey became the first American collegiate hockey team to visit China playing their IIHF national team.
The PAC 8 was founded in 1995 for its first season in 1995-1996 and is a participating conference of the American Collegiate Hockey Association.
Mark Wilbur is also the President and CEO of Employers Group headquartered in Los Angeles, California. Employers Group is a professional services firm and association serving employers human resource and management needs since 1896.