Curtis Carr has been named Head Coach and General Manager of the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL, Team President Alex Zoldan announced Thursday. The solidifying of Carr's position comes just six weeks after he was appointed to direct the club on an interim basis.
"Curt has earned this opportunity with his hard work over the past several years," Zoldan said. "I believe in his ability to coach and so does this organization. More importantly, I also believe Curt will be a leader in these young men's lives, helping them become not only better hockey players but also better people."
Carr was promoted from his previous position of Associate Coach/Director of Player Development on February 16, replacing former Head Coach/General Manager Bob Mainhardt, whom he worked under for parts of four seasons. The first three seasons of Carr's tenure in Youngstown came with the North American Hockey League's Mahoning Valley Phantoms, who posted a 142-61-11 record during that span.
"I'm honored and excited to get the opportunity to lead this team," Carr said. "I'm very fortunate to get this chance and I owe a lot of people who helped me develop along the way, most notably Bob [Mainhardt]. He taught me so much during my first years here and I couldn't have gotten to this point without him."
The Phantoms (19-35-4, 42 points) have shown marked improvement since Carr took over behind the bench, especially in the last eight games, when they have earned at least a standings point in five of them. Youngstown went 3-4-2 in the month of March, capped by a resounding 9-3 win Wednesday in Chicago which completed a five-game season sweep over the Steel.
"I'm looking forward to making this a winning organization in the USHL," Carr said. "I want to repay Alex and [team owner] Bruce Zoldan for their loyalty by presenting a team the Mahoning Valley can be proud of."
While there are still two games left in the Phantoms' inaugural campaign at the Tier I level, the time will soon come for Carr, Assistant General Manager/Director of Player Personnel Jason Koehler, and Assistant Coach Brad Patterson to begin focusing on building for next season.
"I'm pleased with the team's play over the past few weeks," said Carr. "We have a lot of pieces to the puzzle, and now with the draft coming up, we have a lot of work to do to complete that puzzle for next year."
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)