The longest tenured coach in the NHL and only coach in Nashville Predators franchise history, Barry Trotz is regarded as one of the top bench bosses in the game today. He has been a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach twice in the last four seasons (2010 and 2011), while finishing in the Top Five on four other occasions since 2006. Since Trotz was hired on Aug. 6, 1997, there have been more than 175 coaching changes involving the League’s other 29 teams.
In his 15 seasons and 16 years as the Predators’ coach, Trotz has put himself among some legendary names, ranking third all-time in both games coached (1,114) and wins (519) with a single franchise. He also ranked 15th on the NHL’s all-time coaching victories list, and fourth among active coaches behind only Joel Quenneville (Chicago), Ken Hitchcock (St. Louis) and Lindy Ruff (Dallas). Additionally, he is one of just six coaches in all four major North American sports leagues to have coached or managed each of a team’s first 15 seasons of existence (MLB: Connie Mack (50, Oakland); NFL: Curly Lambeau (29, Green Bay), Tom Landry (29, Dallas), Hank Stram (15, Kansas City), Paul Brown (15, Cleveland)), and one of just four coaches in expansion-team history (among the four major sports) to have a record better than .500.
Trotz is one of just two coaches to lead the same team to the play¬offs at least seven times in the last nine seasons, and has averaged nearly 45 wins and 99 points in each of the last eight full seasons (91 in 2003-04, 106 in 2005-06, 110 in 2006-07, 91 in 2007-08, 88 in 2008-09, 100 in 2009-10, 99 in 2010-11 and 104 in 2011-12). The Predators also boast the League’s sixth highest win total (336) and fourth-most home victories (192) in the League since the start of the 2005-06 season.
Trotz’s modus operandi is using an aggressive system based on strong forechecking and sound defense to direct a hard-working group to the playoffs on an annual basis. After becoming the only Western Conference team to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs back-to-back seasons in 2011 and 2012, Trotz faced a season of transition during the abridged 2012-13 campaign, seeing eight rookies and three other newcomers implemented into the lineup. In 2013-14, Trotz will look to get back to the “Predator way” with an ideal blend of youth and veterans, as well as grit and offensive ability. Trotz’s system has seen the Predators finish among the Top 10 in penalty killing rankings six times in the last eight seasons, and in the League’s top half in goals-against average seven times in the last eight years. The Predators are annually among the NHL’s most disciplined as well, ranking among the Top Five in fewest penalty minutes five straight seasons, finishing first in the category in 2009-10 and 2011-12.
Trotz earned his back-to-back Jack Adams nominations in 2009-10 when he was runner-up for the award after leading his squad to a 100-point season (47-29-6) despite the NHL’s 28th-highest payroll, and in 2011-12 after guiding the Predators to the fifth seed in the Western Conference (44-27-11 record) despite losing 348 man-games due to injury, a number that ranked among the top three in the League, and being the fifth youngest roster down the stretch and the youngest among playoff teams. That success continued in 2011-12 when he finished fifth in Adams voting after steering the team to their third-best record in franchise history and to Top 10 rankings in goals for (eighth), goals against (eighth), power-play percentage (first) and penalty kill percentage (10th). On Nov. 12, 2011, against the Montreal Canadiens, he hit the 1,000-game milestone, and on March 30, 2012, reached the 500-win mark.
Trotz also raked in the individual accolades following the 2006-07 campaign after guiding the Predators to the second-most points in the Western Conference and tied for the third-most points in the entire National Hockey League, notching franchise records in points (110), wins (51), road wins (23) and goals (272) in the process. He was named 2007 Coach of the Year by The Sporting News, an honor determined through a vote of his peers, in addition to finishing fourth in Jack Adams voting and serving as an assistant coach for the Western Conference All-Stars at the 2007 NHL All-Star Game.
The 51-year-old Dauphin, Manitoba native reached his goal of becoming an NHL head coach when he was named to his current position on Aug. 6, 1997. After a year aggressively scouting talent in North America and Europe, Trotz and his staff made the most of their opportunity by leading the inaugural edition (1998-99) of the Predators to a 28-47-7 record. Starting with a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct. 13, 1998, the Predators’ 28 wins were the third-most in expansion history.
Prior to joining the Predators, Trotz spent five seasons (1992-97) as the head coach of the Washington Capitals’ primary developmental affiliate in the American Hockey League. He was named head coach of the Baltimore Skipjacks in 1992 after one season as an assistant coach. Following the franchise’s relocation to Portland, Maine in 1993, he led the Portland Pirates to two Calder Cup Finals appearances over the next four seasons. In 1994-95, Trotz coached Portland to a Calder Cup Championship and a league-best 43-27-10 record and captured AHL Coach of the Year honors. In 2006, he was honored with election to the Pirates’ Hall of Fame.
Trotz has also gained experience coaching on the international stage, serving as an assistant coach for Team Canada at the IIHF World Championships on four occasions, most recently at the 2013 tournament in Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland. In 2003, he helped the Canadians strike gold in Finland, and in 2009 he helped guide Canada to a silver medal in Switzerland. The first time he answered the call for his nation came at the 2002 Championships in Sweden.
Trotz began his coaching career in 1984 as an assistant with the University of Manitoba. He then served two seasons (1985-87) as the head coach and general manager of the Dauphin Kings ju¬nior hockey club before returning to the University of Manitoba as the head coach in 1987. In January 2001, Trotz was inducted into the University’s Hall of Fame.
During the 1987 campaign, Trotz also served as a scout for the Spokane Chiefs (WHL) and a part-time scout for the Capitals. In 1988, he joined Washington as a full-time western scout, and the next season he became the Caps’ chief western scout.
Before coaching, Trotz played junior hockey for Regina (WHL) from 1979-83, capturing a WHL championship in 1979-80. The defenseman registered 102 points (19g-83a) and 490 penalty minutes in 204 games.
The popular head coach and his family are active in a variety of service and charitable initiatives in the Middle Tennessee community. This commitment was recognized when Trotz was honored with the Community Spirit Award (in recognition for community service) at the 2005 O’Charley’s Dinner of Champi¬ons, presented by the Nashville Sports Council.
Since the Predators inception, the Trotz’s have donated $500 to My Friend’s House (a United Way agency) for each Nashville victory, with donations to surpass $260,000 in 2013-14. He is an active board member for Peterson for Parkinson’s Foundation, the Williamson County YMCA and the United Way. He also works closely with Best Buddies of Tennessee, a nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-on-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Barry and his wife, Kim, reside in Brentwood along with their four children: Shalan, Tyson, Tiana and Nolan.