EAST LANSING - Michigan State hockey head coach Danton Cole has completed his coaching staff with the hiring of Chris Luongo and Joe Exter as assistant coaches, it was announced on Wednesday. Both Luongo and Exter will begin their roles with the Spartan hockey program immediately.
"I am eager to have both Chris and Joe join our staff here at Michigan State," Cole said. "It is an exciting day, and I know they are ready to be a part of continuing the Spartan hockey tradition of excellence. Both are outstanding coaches, great fathers and exceptional role models for our student-athletes.
"Chris and I have worked together several times since we were teammates at MSU. He is an incredibly driven coach with a passion for teaching and helping young men grow on and off the ice. His knowledge and work ethic will benefit both our student-athletes and the university.
"Joe brings a tremendous amount of experience in both the Big Ten Conference and college hockey to MSU. He is a very bright and hardworking coach that will be a great addition to our Spartan family."
Luongo, a former Spartan hockey captain, returns to his alma mater after having spent the last two seasons serving alongside Cole as an assistant coach with the U.S. National Team Development Program. Luongo worked primarily with the NTDP's defensemen while contributing tactically in all areas, including special teams.
"For so many people, Spartan Hockey holds a place in their heart that is very special, including me," Luongo said. "It's an honor and a privilege to have an opportunity to have a direct impact on the Green and White as a member of the Spartan Hockey staff. I'm looking forward to getting to work."
Prior to joining USA Hockey, Luongo spent four seasons at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. Luongo served as an assistant under Cole from 2008-10, and then took over as head coach for two seasons, from 2010-12, when Cole departed for USA Hockey.
Luongo, a native of Fraser, got his first job in college hockey at Wayne State University, where he was an assistant coach under Bill Wilkinson for two seasons, from 2006-08.
Luongo's first job in coaching was with the Motor City Mechanics of the UHL (2005-06).
Prior to joining the coaching ranks, Luongo enjoyed a 15-year professional career that included appearing in a combined 218 NHL games for the Detroit Red Wings, New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators. Along with spending time in the AHL and IHL, Luongo played his final seven seasons in Germany.
Luongo's career at Michigan State was highlighted by an NCAA title his freshman season (1986) and then two more Frozen Four appearances (1987, 1989). The Spartans also captured two CCHA regular-season titles (1986, 1989) and two CCHA Tournament championships (1987, 1989) as part of winning over 130 games during Luongo's four years in East Lansing.
During his MSU career, Luongo compiled 69 points in 157 games for the Spartans and served as an alternate captain during his junior season before being elected captain as a senior. He was a second-team All-CCHA selection as a senior and was voted the winner of MSU's Outstanding Defensive Player award in each of his final two seasons.
Luongo was a part of three U.S. Men's National Teams at the IIHF World Championship (1996, 1998, 2000), helping the USA earn the bronze medal in 1996. He also received USA Hockey's Bob Johnson Award, recognizing excellence in international hockey competition during the 1996 season.
Luongo earned his bachelor's degree in general business from MSU in 1990. His family includes his wife, Cheryl, and sons, Anthony and Christopher.
Exter comes to East Lansing after spending the last six seasons as an assistant coach at Ohio State. During his time at OSU, Exter helped the Buckeyes reach the NCAA Tournament in 2017 and mentored two All-Americans in Ryan Dzingel (2014) and Brady Hjelle (2013).
Prior to Ohio State, Exter served as an assistant coach with the USNTDP from 2007-11.
"I consider it a privilege to be a part of the Spartan Hockey family," Exter said. "It is with great excitement that I look forward to working with Coach Cole and the entire staff. Michigan State has a long, storied hockey tradition and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it."
Exter was on the coaching staff of the U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team for four IIHF World Men's Under-18 Championships, helping Team USA to a bronze medal in 2008, before capturing three consecutive gold medals from 2009-11.
His highly-successful tenure with USA Hockey also included serving on the staff at the World Junior Championship in 2010, `11 and `12. The team won gold in 2010 and then bronze in 2011, marking the first time the USA won back-to-back medals in the event.
As the first full-time goaltending coach with the NTDP, Exter was responsible for planning, designing and executing the regular on-ice practices for goaltenders, as well as scouting and evaluating the nation's top goaltending prospects. Exter was the coordinator of the revolutionary Warren Strelow National Goaltending Mentor Program, which is designed to recruit, develop and produce elite goaltenders across the United States.
Prior to joining USA Hockey, Exter spent the 2006-07 season with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the United States Hockey League, where he was responsible for the team's defensemen and goaltenders, as well as overseeing scouting and recruiting efforts.
A native of Cranston, Rhode Island, Exter got his first college hockey coaching opportunity in 2005-06, serving as an assistant coach at American International College.
Exter began his coaching career as an assistant at Cushing Academy, his alma mater.
Exter was a 2003 second-team All-Hockey East selection at Merrimack and earned a spot on the league's 2001 all-rookie team. He served as team captain as a senior after being named an assistant captain the prior season. He was the team's MVP in 2003 and also garnered the Players Coach Award.
Following his collegiate career, Exter spent two seasons in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, playing for the ECHL's Wheeling Nailers.
Exter earned his bachelor's degree in political science from Merrimack in 2003.
Exter is married to Erin Van Bruggen and the couple has one son, Maxwell, who was born in February 2012.