NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – In a move that surprised many in the ECHL, Friday, the South Carolina Stingrays announced Spiros Anastas has been fired after just one season behind the ‘Rays bench.
Assistant coach Steve Bergin has been tabbed as the team’s ninth head coach, with a formal introduction scheduled for 1 pm ET Friday afternoon.
Anastas joined the Stingrays on August 7, 2018, just 15 days after then-head coach Ryan Warsofsky was promoted to the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League. Anastas struggled to adapt his style of play to the team that had been built and signed by Warsofsky the year prior. During the 2018-19 regular season, the Stingrays barely finished with a 35-31-5-1 record, had a franchise-record 10-game home losing skid, but ultimately finished in a tie for third overall in the South Division, before being eliminated in six games by the Orlando Solar Bears in the South Division semifinals.
His 262-day tenure as head coach is the shortest in team history, with each coach prior getting at least two years behind the bench.
“As an organization, we are committed to getting better and not resting on our laurels. We are excited about refocusing our efforts and improving our team and our fan experience as we pursue our goal of winning our fourth Kelly Cup,” said Stingrays Principal Owner Todd Halloran.
Bergin makes the move to the head coaching spot already having a wealth of experience under his belt. Bergin joined Warsofsky’s staff in 2016 and together, the two helped guide the Stingrays to the Kelly Cup Final in 2017 and helped lead one of the best defensive teams in ECHL history. The 2017-18 Stingrays finished with league records in fewest goals against (156), lowest goals against average (2.13) and allowed just 29 power-play goals to the opposition.
Before starting his coaching career Bergin spent five seasons as a defenseman with the Pensacola Ice Flyers of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) 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.
“I’m very excited to lead the Stingrays on the ice during the coming season,” Bergin said. “I want to thank Todd and Rob for this great opportunity and I’m looking forward to working with the team and the organization in our pursuit of a championship.”
Prior to turning pro, Bergin played four seasons of NCAA Hockey at the University of Connecticut and was a product of Lawrence Academy as well as the Boston Jr. Bruins.