St. Paul, MN (Sports Network) - The Minnesota Wild named Mike Yeo their new head coach on Friday.
Yeo, who will be the youngest NHL head coach at age 37, spent the 2010-11 season as the head coach of Minnesota's American Hockey League affiliate in Houston. He led the Aeros to a record of 46-28-1-5 with an appearance in the Calder Cup Finals.
"Mike possesses a great passion for coaching and is a strong communicator," said Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher in a statement. "He has been a winner at every level throughout his extensive coaching career."
Yeo was an assistant coach for five seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins before taking the job at Houston last year. He helped the Penguins to a pair of Stanley Cup Finals appearances with a title in the spring of 2009.
"It was almost a year ago today that I decided to leave Pittsburgh and join this organization," Yeo said at a Friday press conference. "Some people doubted my decision, but I knew it was the right one. I knew it was a place where I could succeed. I always believed in myself and believed this day would come, that I would be a head coach in the National Hockey League."
Yeo will become the third coach in the brief history of the Wild and will take over for Todd Richards, who was fired in April after compiling a record of 77-71-16 in two seasons without a playoff appearance. Jacques Lemaire helped build the franchise from expansion in 2000-01, guiding the club to four playoff appearances in his eight seasons at the helm.
"Mike is the right guy for this team," said Fletcher, who indicated the only apprehension he had with Yeo was his age. "He's a good coach and it's a good day for the Minnesota Wild."
As a player, Yeo was a prospect of the Penguins and started in the minors in 1990 with Sudbury. However, he suffered a career-ending knee injury after playing in just 19 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton during the 1999-2000 campaign and was an assistant for six years in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before joining the Penguins' staff.