Paul Moggach retires as longtime Brighton HS coach
Brighton coach Paul Moggach celebrates with his team after the Bulldogs won their last state high school title in 2018.
Paul Moggach just felt it was time.
Moggach, who led Brighton High School to five state championships in 25 seasons, has announced his retirement as the Bulldogs’ hockey coach.
“It was just the timing of everything,” Moggach told the Livingston Daily. “I really can’t pin it down. I haven’t been thinking about it for a long time. I enjoyed last season. There wasn’t anything I didn’t love about where I was. It wasn’t a lack of passion or whatever. Just something said to me, ‘Maybe it’s time.’
“I think my wife’s been very solid behind me all these years,” he added. “Maybe it’s time to give her a little bit of my winter.”
Moggach, 74, had a record of 466-172-47 to rank seventh in victories in state history.
Moggach built the Bulldogs into a state hockey power. The school’s five state hockey championships ties them for third, with Marquette, among public schools. That puts him behind only Trenton (14) and Calumet (six).
Brighton has recorded 23 consecutive winning seasons. The school won its first Michigan High School Athletic Association Division I title in 2006. Four more followed in 2012, 2013, 2017 and 2018.
“The legacy we’ve created and the program we’ve created, we can compete with anybody,” said Moggach. “Our schedule is one of the best in the state. In order to have that, you have to earn it. I believe you earn everything you get. You just don’t do it by luck. You have to work hard and do the little things and have respect for others. You have to have responsibility and accountability. I think we did. It’s sustainable if you stay with your principles.”
Brighton Athletic Director John Thompson says Moggach has been a big part of the improvement of Michigan High School hockey.
“Paul is among a handful of High School coaches who have elevated High School hockey into what it is today in the state of Michigan,” Thompson said. “They’ve really made it a viable option for high-quality players to not only play a sport they love, but to do so as part of a school program, wear the colors and represent their community. It wasn’t always the case in High School hockey in Michigan.”
Moggach said the interruption of the COVID-19 pandemic likely impacted his decision. Although the team’s season ended March 4 with a 4-2 regional final loss to Howell, the March 12 shutdown of high school sports disrupted the Bulldogs’ post-season routine.
“That probably had something to do with it,” he said. “This is a routine I’ve had for several years. As soon as the season’s over, you start planning for the next, getting ready for camp, talking to kids. That kind of went away with COVID. While that wasn’t there, we were still planning how we were going to get back and what we were going to do.”
Moggach still works full time as director of risk management for the University of Michigan.
Thompson said the Brighton coaching position will be posted on Monday.
Kurt Kivisto, who has been an assistant coach under Moggach for the past 10 seasons, is considered the favorite to land the job. He played three seasons at Brighton from 2000-01 to 2002-03 and then four seasons at Michigan State.