MACON, Ga. – The Macon Mayhem have a new head coach, it’s one that led the team to the apex of the franchise’s history.
The team announced Monday that Kevin Kerr is returning to the team as head coach and director of hockey operations with Ryan Michel, who assumed the role of head coach in the midst of last season, moving to associate head coach and director of player development.
“I’m really excited to come back to Macon, it’s like my second home,” Kerr said. “Everyone with the new ownership group, they’re all familiar faces to me, and I’m really excited to work with them.”
“I’m really excited to come back to Macon, it’s like my second home.” – Kevin Kerr
Kerr was Macon’s head coach for its first three seasons in Macon, leading the team to an SPHL President’s Cup championship and Willam B. Coffey Trophy, given to the team with the best regular-season record, in 2016-17. The Mayhem made the playoffs all three seasons that Kerr was behind the bench. Kerr comes to Macon after a two-year stint with the ECHL’s Greenville Swamp Rabbits, having an overall record of 54-71-7-4. Even with the season shortened by eight games due to COVID-19, Greenville improved its win total by four. Since Kerr’s departure from Macon at the end of 2017-18, the Mayhem have gone 44-48.
“I knew that he could possibly be available with his contract coming up for renewal. We stayed in close contact,” Mayhem General Manager Blair Floyd said. “We kept Ryan in the loop and wanted to make sure we gave him the utmost respect.”
With Kerr back in Macon, he’ll team with Michel in a goal of getting the Mayhem back among the SPHL’s elite. In fact, a handful of players remain from Kerr’s previous tenure that were placed on the team’s protected list in May – Stephen Pierog, Jimmy Soper, Caleb Cameron and Dylan Denomme. Soper was placed in Greenville’s protected list, and Pierog played for Kerr in Greenville in 2018-19, playing in 67 games.
“When you talk with the ownership group, you can tell that they want to win, and I want to win and build a culture to do that,” Kerr said. “We’ll have to go through the roster and see who we want to bring back for what we want to do to win.”
Michel remaining aboard is expected to pay dividends in multiple areas as the Mayhem takes advantage of his head coaching experience, background with the current roster, and having played for Kerr.
“Ryan, internally, will have a lot more responsibilities than most assistant coaches would. He’ll handle a few of head-coach- type duties. And Kevin will offer more of a mentorship. One thing that Ryan made apparent in the process, he really wanted to learn from Kevin and saw this as a great way for him to grow as a coach and get to the next step,” Floyd said. “On paper, it seems like a demotion, but it’s really something that will help him for the future. He’s 100 percent on board with it.”
Kerr was Macon’s head coach to start the first five years of its tenure. He’ll now be back behind the bench for year six.
“You want to win. That’s the goal, on and off the ice. With Kevin, it solidifies the on the ice portion. We’re working on some creative things for the fans in the stands, as well,” Floyd said. “We don’t want fans to have unrealistic expectations that, ‘Kevin’s going to come in and win a championship in his first year back…Would that be great? Yes. But we’ll have to rebuild and retool, much like the first season and when we had to weed out some people. I don’t think we’re as bad off as we were then, but it won’t be an overnight thing. I think within two years, we’ll have it where we want to be”
“I think within two years, we’ll have it where we want to be.” – Mayhem general manager Blair Floyd
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Brad Harrison is the SPHL Editor for The Sin Bin. Follow Brad on Twitter for the latest on the SPHL and the Macon Mayhem! Also, follow The Sin Bin on both Facebook and Twitter for all the latest AHL, ECHL, and SPHL minor league hockey coverage!
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