Joe Kola oversaw every achievement for the New Albany High School hockey team during its first five seasons, but now the Eagles will go forward with a new coach.
Kola resigned March 1, having guided the team from club status into a varsity sport.
Kola, who coached the team since its founding in 2013, went 81-49-5-3 overall at New Albany, leading the Eagles to the junior varsity state tournament in 2015 and Capital Hockey Conference division championships each of the next two seasons. In their first two years as a varsity program, the Eagles won the CHC-Blue Division in 2016 and the CHC-White in 2017.
New Albany was 13-20 overall and 6-10 with 12 points in the CHC-Red this year, finishing fifth in the division behind champion Dublin Jerome (30, 15-1) and losing to Olentangy 4-1 in the second round of the district tournament Feb. 18.
“I know next season I won’t be able to accommodate the schedule of being the head coach with my full-time job,” said Kola, a contracts director at Mission Essential, a defense contractor. “Building New Albany hockey these past five years has been a great experience and I believe we can find the right coach to continue to lead the program. The program remains very strong with a fantastic young core.”
Kola said he plans to help athletics director Richie Wildenhaus in the search for a new coach.
Also stepping down is five-year assistant coach and former Blue Jackets player Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre.
@NewAlbanyHockey Thank you for the past 5 seasons! It’s been a real joy coaching and seeing the program become what it is today. I’ll clearly miss the daily interactions but will still be around. I look forward to just being a dad and watch my little guy play the game he loves.— Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre (@JLGP34)March 2, 2018