Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Blackburn: from goalie to volunteer coach

August 29, 2001

Former MSU goaltender Joe Blackburn, who came to MSU in 1997 and played through last season, will serve as a volunteer assistant coach and color commentator for Spartan radio broadcasts in the upcoming season.

MSU head coach Ron Mason announced Blackburn’s hiring Tuesday. He replaces Jim Mullin, who left MSU in the spring.

Blackburn will assist the team in all facets, but will focus primarily on goaltending commentary.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to learn a lot from both the coaches and the players,” Blackburn said in a released statement.

The Livonia native was named to the NCAA West All-American team in 1999 - a year in which he led MSU to the Frozen Four and posted a nation-leading 1.55 goals against average.

“Joe is a quality person and understands the Michigan State program, so it’s natural he would become the volunteer assistant coach,” Mason said in the statement. “He’s a good student, and this gives him a chance to work on his education.”

His new job will allow him to continue his tutelage of Hobey Baker Award-winning junior goaltender Ryan Miller, who came to MSU during Blackburn’s junior season.

The two split time in 1999-2000, but Miller broke through last season starting all but two games and relegating Blackburn to the bench.

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