Now a champion, Gerwig moves on from Darien
Published 12:16 pm, Friday, August 7, 2015
Chris Gerwig went to Darien High School as the Head Coach of the hockey program four years ago. In those four years he built the program to be one of the best in the state, getting a little better every year and culminating in FCIAC and state championships this past season, Darien’s first state title since 1969.
For Gerwig, his work at Darien is done. The celebrated coach, who has been a part of a high school program for the past 18 years in Connecticut, preceded by three years as an assistant at New England College will be heading to the SoNo Ice House in Norwalk to work full time as one of four Hockey Directors.
"I had been coaching high school hockey for 18 years, been at Blue Line Sports for 14 years and at the New Canaan Winter Club for 13," Gerwig, Hearst CT Media’s reigning Coach of the Year, said. "So I was doing three different jobs which took a lot of time and crazy hours. So now this would be my one full time job; running camps, doing private lessons and clinics plus coaching two triple-a teams at the junior level."
Gerwig who lives in Greenwich and got married last June made the move to be more of a family man. The opportunity presented itself for Gerwig at the right time and felt he had to jump at it.
"We felt that this was a great opportunity for my future in hockey and now my future is all hockey all the time," Gerwig said. "It had nothing to do with me being unhappy (at Darien) and sometimes in life it’s all about timing and opportunity and now I get to join forces with three coaches that have a great resume and background and we’re all different in our own way and that’s what going to make it special down here."
The hardest part of leaving is always the goodbye. For Gerwig the move all happened rather quickly but he still made sure there was time to set up next year’s schedule as well as make sure that his assistant the past four years, Mac Budd, was going to apply for the position.
Budd did apply and will be the coach for Darien in 2015-16. Gerwig thinks the program is in excellent hands with Budd and that’s one of the things he told the returning players and captains when he sat them down to deliver the news of his departure.
"They were disappointed for the right reasons and not the wrong reasons," Gerwig said of the player’s reactions. "And they were excited that Mac got the job and they knew nothing would change, the program is in great hands. I’m going to be running the captain’s practices for both boys and girls hockey next year so I’m still involved and I’ll be doing lessons with some Darien kids.
"I’m still a big part of Darien hockey and I’ll go to the big games and help if he needs an extra pair of an eyes; Darien will always have a special place in my heart, it all worked out."
That being said, Gerwig will miss certain aspects of coaching at the high school level, namely the comradery of the unit as a whole.
"I just had a great talk with Jake Kirby (Darien player), I told him I’m going to miss the boys, the chemistry as not only coaches and players but we had a great family bond," Gerwig said. "I’m going to miss that part and competing at the high level and playing the wonderful, powerful division one teams in the state, I think after 18 years I was due for a change."
Gerwig doesn’t know whether another change is in the future, or if he might want to coach at a higher level again. For now the coach is just focused on the task at hand.
"There’s always those dreams to get to the collegiate level or minor leagues as an assistant or a scout," Gerwig said. "But right now my goal is to build this CT Oilers program and you see a lot of NHL players from around this area so I just want to keep giving back and making players better so they can achieve their goals."