Cedar Rapids RoughRiders Head Coach/GM Mark Carlson earned his 400th USHL coaching victory on Tuesday night.
It took more than 60 minutes and even went into bonus shootout rounds, but the RoughRiders earned a 3-2 victory and gave their coach the milestone victory when Stu Wilson converted in the eighth round of the shootout against the Des Moines Buccaneers.
Carlson is in his 12th USHL season and has been the only coach in RoughRiders history since the team first arrived in Cedar Rapids in 1999. His overall USHL record currently stands at 400-246-61 (.609 winning percentage). This season marks the 11th consecutive year that he has led the team to a winning season and a playoff berth. The team currently has a 36-11-5 record (77 points), sitting just one point behind the Green Bay Gamblers for the overall USHL lead. It is the eighth consecutive season that the RoughRiders have earned at least 30 wins under Carlson's leadership.
Carlson led the RoughRiders to their first-ever Anderson Cup title (best regular season record) during the 2004-05 season, finishing with a team-best 42-13-5 record. They also went on to win their first Clark Cup championship as they went 9-2 in the playoffs. Carlson was recognized that season as the USHL Coach of the Year.
Well over 100 players have earned NCAA Division I scholarships during Carlson's tenure and 16 players have been selected in the NHL Entry Draft. Six players that Carlson has coached have played in the NHL – David Moss (Calgary), Teddy Purcell (Tampa Bay), Justin Abdelkader (Detroit), Derek Peltier (Colorado), Alec Martinez (Los Angeles), and Casey Wellman (Minnesota).
Carlson has also been successful during international competition as he led the U.S. Junior Select Team, comprised of mostly all USHL players, to the tournament championship of the World Junior A Challenge in both 2008 and 2009. He was selected as the United States Olympic Committee Development Coach of the Year in 2009.
The New Jersey native graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell where he also skated for the RiverHawks. Prior to his collegiate career, he was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1987 NHL Entry Draft. Carlson became an assistant coach at his alma mater for the 1995-96 season before joining the staff at Northeastern University for three seasons (1996-99).
Carlson is the sixth coach in USHL history to accumulate 400 wins, joining Waterloo's P.K. O'Handley (424) as the only current coaches to reach the milestone. Kevin Hartzell of Sioux Falls currently has 398 USHL wins.
All-Time USHL Coaching Wins Leaders
Mike Hastings - 529
Dave Siciliano - 522
Bob Ferguson - 517
Steve Johnson - 470
*P.K. O'Handley - 424
*Mark Carlson - 400
*Kevin Hartzell – 398
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)