position Head Coach
Hometown St. Paul, Minn.
Alma Mater Wisconsin, 1990
Career Record (Through 2020-21) 162-127-36
Steve Rohlik, head coach of the Ohio State men’s hockey team, has led the program back into the national picture during his nine years at the helm. The Buckeyes made three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (2017-19) and were poised for a program-record fourth straight trip when the remainder of the season was canceled in 2020, finishing as the first team out in 2022. Among the NCAA trips was a Frozen Four berth in 2018, the first for the program in 20 years. In 2018-19, he guided the squad to the first Big Ten regular season title in program history and the school’s first conference regular season crown since 1972. The team finished in the Top 4 of the Big Ten six of the last seven years, with three Top 2 seeds in the league tournament in that span.
Rohlik, the 2018 and ’19 Big Ten Coach of the Year and a two-time AHCA National Coach of the Year finalist, including a runner-up finish in 2018, was named the ninth head coach in Ohio State men’s hockey history in April 2013 after spending three years as the Buckeyes’ associate head coach. He has more than 20 years experience as a Division I coach and during his career has recruited and/or coached two Hobey Baker Award winners, 16 All-Americans – including Buckeyes Brady Hjelle, Ryan Dzingel, Mason Jobst and Tanner Laczynski – and nearly 20 players who have reached the NHL. He has a career and Ohio State record of 162-127-36 through 2021-22.
Under Rohlik, the Buckeyes have been outstanding academically, combining as a team to post a grade-point average of 3.0+ throughout his tenure. He has had 59 players combine for 118 Academic All-Big Ten accolades and 72 accumulate 168 Ohio State Scholar-Athlete nods through 2022. Sean Romeo was recognized with the NCAA Elite 90 Award at the 2018 Frozen Four. In 2021-22, 25 Buckeyes were named Ohio State Scholar-Athletes and 17 (nearly 90 percent of eligible players) earned Academic All-Big Ten accolades.
On the ice, the team has five 20-win season, including four-straight from 2017-20, and led the NCAA on the power play in 2016-17, ranking first on the penalty kill in 2017-18. The Buckeyes have ranked in the Top 10 in scoring offense in four of the last seven years and been in the Top 6 on the power play three of the last six campaigns. The Buckeyes allowed just 2.07 goals a game in 2017-18, the best mark in program history and have been among the Top 15 teams in scoring defense four of the last five seasons.
In 2021-22, the Buckeyes finished 22-13-2, ranked 16th nationally, and in fourth place in the Big Ten with a 13-9-2-1-1-1 record in conference games. The squad, which was the first team out of the NCAA Tournament, was in the Top 15 in the nation in scoring offense and defense. Jakub Dobes earned Big Ten Goaltender of the Year and Big Ten co-Freshman of the Year accolades and was a Mike Richter Award semifinalist and was joined on the All-Big Ten First Team by classmate and 20-goal scorer Georgii Merkulov. Dobes, also a B1G Player of the Year finalist, Merkulov and Mason Lohrei, a B1G Defensive Player of the Year finalist, made up half the Big Ten All-Freshman Team. Will Riedell and Quinn Preston were Senior CLASS Award finalists and 25 Buckeyes, the most under Rohlik, earned Ohio State Scholar-Athlete accolades, with 17 garnering Academic All-Big Ten honors.
The 2019-20 campaign, shortened because of the COVID-19 pandemic, ended with the Buckeyes 20-11-5 on the year following a sweep of a Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal series vs. Wisconsin with 9-1 and 2-1 overtime victories. The squad tied for second in the Big Ten, posting an 11-9-4-1 record, and earned the No. 2 seed in the B1G Tournament for a third consecutive Top 2 seed. The Buckeyes kicked off the year winning the Ice Breaker Tournament in Toledo, the first time the program captured the Ice Breaker trophy. The squad was 10th in the PairWise when the season ended, set to earn a program-record fourth straight NCAA Tournament bid. The Buckeyes were second nationally on the power play (.276) and ranked 13th in team defense (2.28 goals allowed per game). Laczynski was a Second Team All-Big Ten choice and Senior CLASS All-American and three Buckeyes garnered honorable mention all-conference accolades. The 2020-21 season was also affected by the pandemic, with the schedule limited to just Big Ten contests, along with four nonconference games vs. Arizona State for each B1G team. After not having typical offseason and preseason schedules, a young and mostly unexperienced Buckeye squad struggled throughout the year and finished 7-19-1.
The 2018-19 campaign began with high expectations for the Buckeyes, as they were selected first in the Big Ten preseason poll and began the year ranked in the Top 3 in the national polls, moving to No. 1 before playing their first game. It was the first time Ohio State was atop a national poll since three weeks in Fall 1983. The Buckeyes responded to the expectations, winning the B1G regular season crown with a 13-7-4-3 record and a nine-point cushion in the final standings. Ohio State earned a third straight NCAA bid, matching the feat set by the program from 2003-05. Rohlik was the unanimous choice for Big Ten Coach of the Year, Sasha Larocque was voted B1G Defensive Player of the Year and Tommy Nappier was the B1G Goaltender of the Year and a Mike Richter Award semifinalist. Mason Jobst was a Hobey Baker Award finalist (the fifth in Ohio State history), became the program’s second two-time All-American and was one of four Buckeyes to earn first/second team All-B1G accolades. Tommy Parran was the program’s first Hockey Humanitarian Award Top 5 finalist, Larocque was a Senior CLASS Award finalist and Brendon Kearney was the program’s first winner of the Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award. Ohio State ended the year 20-11-5 for a third straight 20-win campaign.
The 2017-18 squad notched one of the best campaigns in program history, ending the year 26-10-5 (never losing more than two games in a row) and finishing second in the Big Ten with a 14-8-2-1 ledger while also advancing to the league tournament championship game (an overtime loss). A No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history, Ohio State topped Princeton and defending NCAA champion Denver in the Midwest Regional to reach the program’s second Frozen Four and the first since 1998. The squad, which ended the year a program-high third in the national polls, ranked in the Top 10 in the NCAA in scoring offense, scoring defense, power play, penalty kill, fewest penalty minutes per game, wins and winning percentage. Four Buckeyes earned All-Big Ten first/second team accolades, Laczynski was a Second Team All-American and Romeo was both a Mike Richter Award finalist and the NCAA Elite 90 Award winner for the highest grade-point average among players at the Frozen Four.
In 2016-17, Rohlik led the Buckeyes to the NCAA Tournament, the first appearance for the squad since 2009. The team notched its first 20-win season since that time, with a record of 21-12-6, including an NCAA-best 13 road wins. In B1G play, the squad was 11-8-1-1, finishing in third place, just one point behind second. The team ranked in the Top 3 nationally in scoring offense (3.92 gpg) and was first on the power play (31.6%), with a Top 10 point scorer (Jobst, who earned First Team All-Big Ten and Second Team All-America honors) and Top 3 goal scorer, with three Buckeyes in the Top 5 among B1G point getters.
Rohlik’s first season at the helm of the Buckeyes (2013-14) also marked the first year of men’s hockey as an official Big Ten Conference sport. He led the team to a spot in the inaugural Big Ten Tournament championship game, with an overtime win in the quarterfinals vs. Michigan State and an upset of No. 1-ranked and top seed Minnesota in the semifinals before an overtime defeat in the final. The squad was 18-14-5 overall in 2013-14 (6-9-5-4 in B1G play). In his second year, the Buckeyes (14-19-3, 8-11-1-1 B1G) ended the season strong, going 7-4-1 in the last 12 games, and reached the conference tournament semifinals. The 2015-16 Buckeyes (14-18-4) were 8-8-4 in Big Ten play, advanced to the B1G tourney semifinals and closed out the year undefeated in eight of their last nine games, ranking in the Top 10 in the NCAA in scoring offense on the year.
Rohlik joined the Ohio State program as associate head coach in 2010 after 10 seasons on the coaching staff at Minnesota Duluth (2001-10) where the squad advanced to two NCAA Tournaments, including a Frozen Four appearance in 2004, and won the 2009 WCHA playoff title. He was part of the staff that put together the roster of the Bulldogs’ 2011 NCAA Championship squad.
Rohlik coached three seasons at Nebraska-Omaha, joining the program for its inaugural campaign in 1997-98. In the team’s first campaign as a member of the CCHA (its third year as a Division I team), the squad advanced to the 2000 CCHA Tournament final.
Rohlik spent five years as the head coach at Hill-Murray High School, his alma mater, in Saint Paul, Minn., posting a 107-20-1 ledger and leading the squad to two Minnesota State High School Tournaments, including a runner-up finish in the 1993 Tier I event and fourth place in 1997 Class AA before joining the UNO Mavericks. He also served one-season assistant coaching stints at Wisconsin (1990-91) and Stillwater (Minn.) High School (1991-92).
A native of Saint Paul, Minn., Rohlik is a 1990 graduate of Wisconsin. A four-year letterwinner for the Badgers, he wore the captain’s C in both 1989 and 1990. He was a senior on the squad that won the NCAA title, as well as the WCHA regular-season and tournament crowns, and was named the WCHA Tournament MVP that season. The team qualified for the NCAA Tournament each of his last three seasons and also captured the 1988 conference playoff championship. Rohlik skated in 166 games for Wisconsin, scoring 34 goals and adding 47 assists for 81 points, and received the team’s Fenton Kelsey, Jr. Most Competitive Player honor in 1990. He was an eighth-round selection by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft (No. 151 overall).
Rohlik earned his bachelor’s degree in communications/journalism from Wisconsin. He and his wife, Julie, have two daughters, Erin and Annie, and a son, Grady.
|Season||Record||B1G Record/Finish||B1G Tournament||NCAA Tournament|
|2017-18||26-10-5||14-8-2/2nd||Runner-up||Frozen Four Semifinals|
|2019-20||20-11-5||11-9-4/t-2nd||Reached semifinals before tournament canceled||N/A (10th in PairWise when season was canceled)|