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Tailing the Komets

Komets pick Bingham

The Fort Wayne Komets have selected Pat Bingham as the 25th coach in the team's 55-year history. Bingham, 37, edged out John Marks to replace Greg Puhalski who recently became coach of the United Hockey League's Chicago Hounds.

Komets General Manager David Franke said it was the toughest of the eight coaching choices he's had to make since his family bought the team in 1990.

Both Bingham and Marks, 58, were tremendously qualified. Bingham was recently let go as an assistant coach with Bridgeport of the American Hockey League when his contract was not renewed. The Sound Tigers' NHL parent club, the New York Islanders, recently made changes in management staff which wanted their own minor league coaches.

More than likely, the first thing Bingham did after hearing the news was to jump on the phone to start recruiting players.

``That's just what he does,'' said Jim Brooks, co-owner of Wheeling of the East Coast Hockey League where Bingham coached for two years. ``All day, all night, he's is always thinking how he's going to make his team better, whether it's now or in the future. He understands what it takes.''

Before Bingham took over, the Nailers had not made the playoffs for five straight seasons. He replaced mentor John Brophy and led Wheeling to a 51-17-4 record in 2003-04 to win ECHL Coach of the Year honors. Before he got there, the Nailers had never won more than 37 games in a season.

``As a player he was a hard nosed, really, really tough guy,'' Brophy said. ``He played hockey first and if something had to happen he took care of it. He would do the same as coach. The players liked him a lot because he worked hard for them. I think he's perfect for this day and age.''

Another factor for Bingham in the process was his knowledge of the UHL. He coached Asheville to a division title and the 2001 Colonial Cup Finals and led Adirondack to a 92-point season in 2002-03.

``He has a worth ethic that is second-to-none, and 10-15 years he'll be in the NHL as a head coach,'' Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Chief Executive Officer Jeff Barrett. ``He knows the game and busts his butt to make sure he gets the most out of his players. A lot of it is about recruiting and contacts and he works harder at that than anybody I've ever seen. If I had a job open here, I'd sign him.''

Bingham's career record is 215-123-9 as a head coach, and his teams are known for their toughness and high skill level.

``You have to have an element of toughness, but you can't sacrifice skill,'' he said early in the coaching search. ``If you are really doing your homework and working hard at recruiting, you can find those players. You can't have too many soft, skilled guys, either, but you have to be able to play it both ways. You have to be tough enough to go with them if they want to play that way and skilled enough to play with the skill teams."

His Asheville team had 12 players with 100 or more penalty minutes, but also 13 players with 10 or more goals. Adirondack had even more toughness, and five players who scored 30 goals or more. A defenseman, Bingham played seven years in Class AA hockey, so he understands what the players want. During his two years in Wheeling, 13 of his players each season advanced to the AHL.

Posted in: Komets


Mon, 07/10/2006 - 7:46am

Congrats to Bingham!

Lets get some players signed now!

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 7:46am

welcome to Fort Wayne Coach Bingham

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 7:55am

Welcome to Fort Wayne Coach Bingham.

Hope coach Marks can still get his old job back with Grenville.

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 7:58am

Welcome coach, now we have to pound Rockford every game and win the cup. thats all i want. thanks.

Jungle Monkey
Mon, 07/10/2006 - 8:05am

Welcome Coach Bingham! This makes JungleMonkey very happy!

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 8:05am

this is gonna be an interesting rest of the summer...

is the St Pierre annoucement coming today blake...

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 8:08am

Oh yeah, I forgot about St. Pierre, all those bloddy rumors.

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 8:12am

Congrats to coach Bingham. Now, give us the news on Frenchy.

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 8:14am

Well now that we have a coach, I think the first thing on his agenda should be getting Danny Stewart back! :)

Jungle Monkey
Mon, 07/10/2006 - 8:18am

I think Danny is going to Europe. Not sure if its been announced yet.

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 8:22am

Finally we have a new coach. I hope that management takes a good look at Kelly Miller and Jamie Milam. Can't wait to see the new blood that is brought into Fort Wayne!

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 8:23am

Congrats to Bingham! Can't wait until October 21! =)

And I'm ready for the Frenchy news too. I hope he pulls through....

Speaking of Danny Stewart, my brother saw him on this past Saturday. So he's possibly still in town. I'd like to have him back but I doubt we would be seeing him.

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 8:25am

We can get better players than Danny Stewart.

Tony E
Mon, 07/10/2006 - 8:26am

Congrats to Coach Bingham. Here is to a new look to the future of the Komets. A younger and hungry team. Time to look forward and leave the past where it is. This is a new generation of Komet hockey.
The amazing thing on this, it sounds like all fans are happy with this choice. Lol everyone agreeing. What is up with that? ;-)

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 8:32am

I was kinda hoping for Marks, but heck, I'm not upset with Bingham either...I'm just glad we have a coach now...GO KOMETS

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 8:32am

Right now we're just happy one decision is done, let's get some players signed please.

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 8:58am

Well said Greg. I didn't care which one was picked for our coach. They both were wonderful choices. Now, let's get on with building our team.

Tony E
Mon, 07/10/2006 - 9:00am

For awhile I was concerned
that Coach Bingham would simply look at Fort Wayne as a quick stepping stone. I have thought about it and I believe that once he sees how much passion there is in Fort Wayne and what a quality organization he is working for, he will think twice before leaving for another minor league job. Opening night I think fans need to give Bingham (and the new cast of players) the loudest ovation that has been heard in the jungle in a long time.

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 9:03am

Sounds good to me, as long as we hear Welcome To The Jungle and Gary Glitter that night too!!!!!!! LOL

Tony E
Mon, 07/10/2006 - 9:09am

Ok, I have found the downside to all of this.
Blake gets to leave us and go on vacation :(

Blake please reconsider!! Look what happened on the blog last night when you left your post for the evening!

Seriously, everyone here I am sure would agree that you work much too hard and as much as we will miss having you around for a few days (if you actually can leave your computer off) you deserve to have some quality unwinding time. Here is hoping you find yourself on a nice beach sipping a cold drink with a bikini clad fan girl at your beck and call ;-)

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 9:10am

Frenchy will not be returning to Fort Wayne, now you know. The offer was O.K. but not good enough for the best goalie in all of minor league hockey.

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 9:14am

Welcome coach lets get the jungle back to rockin

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 9:15am

Forget bikni clad:-)

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 9:23am

Hey, alright, I'm glad it is decided. Seriously, I was ready to go into the Franke's offices and flip the coin for them. I am looking forward to this year. Now, Frenchy or not, lets build a team.

Tony E
Mon, 07/10/2006 - 9:38am

Kometfanfromafar, what is your opinion based on? If the best goalie in minor league hockey is a career AA goalie then the sport is in trouble.

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 9:40am

Actually, I'd like to know why KFFA thinks, Frenchy isn't coming back.

Tony E
Mon, 07/10/2006 - 9:45am

I didn't bother to ask. I assume it is a "reliable source" ;-)
I would be surprised if he comes back. Either way it doesn't matter. If not him there are plenty of quality goalies floating around right now. The Komets do not need to overpay for St Pierre.

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 10:33am

Just talked to Frenchy, and he's meeting with the Frankes today. He said nothing has been decided as of yet, but he is leaning toward a certain way. He declined to expand on that. Maybe it's a positive that he's still going to meet with them.

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 10:38am

Or that he's showing some class and turning the Frankes down face to face, or that there might be more negotiating that needs to be done...oh wait a mineut, rumors are on the other thread. Oops sorry.

Jungle Monkey
Mon, 07/10/2006 - 10:42am

I'd like to see Frenchy one more year with some killer D in front of him. If not, thats cool too.