By: Stingrays Media
The ECHL league office on Tuesday announced South Carolina Stingrays Head Coach Steve Bergin as the 2019-20 recipient of the John Brophy Award as the league's Coach of the Year.
The John Brophy Award is the trophy presented annually to the ECHL coach selected to have contributed the most to his team's success as selected in a vote of ECHL coaches, broadcasters, media relations directors and media members. The trophy is named for John Brophy, who won a record three ECHL titles with Hampton Roads in 1991, 1992 and 1998, and was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2009.
In his first season as a head coach, Bergin led South Carolina to a 44-14-4 record, including a 25-5-4 record on the road. The 25 road wins are tied for the second-most in a single season in ECHL history. Bergin also served as a coach at the 2020 Warrior Hockey/ECHL All-Star Classic in Wichita, leading the Eastern Conference to the event's title.
South Carolina was tied with the Florida Everblades for the highest winning percentage in the ECHL during 2019-20 at 0.742%. The Stingrays also led all teams in the league with 44 wins and 92 points. SC had the top defensive ranking in the ECHL, allowing a league-low 2.37 goals per game and just 147 total goals on the season.
Bergin was named the ninth head coach in Stingrays' history on April 26, 2019, after serving as the club's assistant coach for the previous three seasons. He was part of the Stingrays' Kelly Cup Finals appearance in 2017 and helped the team to their best regular season in club history the following year.
"This is a well-deserved honor for Steve for the job he's done this past season," said Stingrays President Rob Concannon. "When he was hired last April, he immediately went to work, and his efforts showed with our performance on the ice. I think our players respected Steve, his knowledge of the game and his passion for our organization and that was evident with the fine season that we had as a team."
He is the second bench boss in Stingrays history to win the award, joining Spencer Carbery, who was honored at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season.
Before starting his coaching career, Bergin spent five seasons as a defenseman with the Pensacola Ice Flyers of the Southern Professional Hockey League from 2011-16. He led Pensacola to three SPHL titles in 2013, 2014 and 2016 as well as a regular-season championship during the 2013-14 season.