Denap’s Vision for Marian’s Club Hockey Team Shapes the Future


Tanner Pagendam, Staff Writer

Brett Denap, born in Granite City, Ill., became one of the newest additions to the Marian athletics program when he took the position as head coach for the Men’s ACHA Division II Club hockey team.

He has former experience playing at this level as he played two years for Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, which adds a lot of depth and experience to the position as head coach here at Marian.

I sat down with Brett and asked him about his thoughts, feelings, and plans regarding where he wants to take this program in the near future. In addition, we talked about how he plans to implement the core values that Marian emphasizes to students both academically and athletically.

How has the transition to Marian been for you in regards to taking this head coaching position for the men’s’ Club team?


The transition has been very smooth, as the faculty members and students provided a warm welcoming for me as I entred this new chapter of my life. Being only 24 years of age can be eye-opening to many, which was one aspect I was thinking about while considering this position. But I feel that my experience and background has aided in making me suitable for the head coach position.


How has coming from a background of playing sports while in school helped you relate with players close to your age?


I feel that being able to play competitive sports while doing academics really aids in building and shaping the maturity level of student-athletes. It is a way of portraying the skills of time management, leadership, teamwork, and building an environment in which everyone works together for a common goal. It also helps that I am closer to their ages as it makes situations and concerns easier to cope with as many of the experiences are similar to what I have experienced personally.


You mentioned one point  about building a framework that works to achieve a common goal. Can you explain some goals that you and your team have set out to accomplish?


Absolutely. When it comes to coaching any competitive sports team, especially at the collegiate level, it’s very important to address and come up with goals  which the team as a whole can work towards. These goals could be achieving a certain GPA as a team or individually, or working towards winning a championship by devoting oneself to the hard work and sacrifice that comes along with it. Personally as a team, we have all seemed to buy into a system in which everyone is on board with achieving and doing well in school/academics and also being fully dedicated when arriving at the rink for practices, workouts, and games.

You seem to have a solid basis regarding what you want from your players both as students and athletes. What in particular, from your knowledge and experience, do you encourage students to pursue both academically and in sports?


Like I mentioned in the previously, we set goals for ourselves as a whole, and in having these goals, I feel that the experiences and development of these young men will ultimately shape them into fine young, mature men  who will become very successful in life. Being here for only a semester, I can already see how each guy on the team takes interest and concern in each and every one of their teammates. This really helps with the building process as a team and allows me to continue to push these guys to succeed in the right direction.

Lastly, like most colleges and universities, Marian has set forth core values and motives for students to embrace and use as a tool to help them succeed in life. What do you personally have to say or express in regards to your own values and motives?


Taking this coaching position here at Marian has really been a huge opportunity for me to enhance my experiences and intellect regarding how to approach students and how I can really aid in getting them where they want to be in life. I feel that it’s crucial and necessary to take part in each of their lives just as they do amongst each other and with myself. It’s important to become invested in each of the men’s lives on the team as it becomes helpful when providing intellect and direction for someone who may be confused. I feel that the presence of each individual in the locker room and classroom should resemble and represent a devoted, hardworking individual. Who will provide assistance to anyone and themselves in a sense of getting not only themselves to where they want to be in life, but those who are around them as well.