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East Lansing — Tom Anastos is stepping down as hockey coach at Michigan State, the university announced on Tuesday.

In a statement, athletic director Mark Hollis said the move is effective immediately and longtime assistant coach Tom Newton would serve as interim head coach while a national search is conducted.

“I want to thank Tom Anastos for the guidance he’s provided Spartan hockey over the last six seasons,” Hollis said in the statement. “He would be the first to admit that he wished there were more on-ice victories, but he built a program that was a great value to our community. His student-athletes were successful in the classroom and were great representatives of the athletic department and the university as a whole with their commitment to community outreach.”

Anastos was 78-122-24 in six seasons at Michigan State and led the Spartans to a berth in the 2012 NCAA Tournament after going 19-16-4 in his first season. His only other winning season came in 2014-15 when the Spartans went 17-16-1 and finished second in the Big Ten regular season standings.

Michigan State was paying Anastos $347,225 per year, including a $235,225 base salary. The contract was to run through 2019-20.

“When I first became head coach I established my own timeline for the program’s development. After a review of our season, and in spite of the progress we have made in so many areas, we have not met my expectations,” Anastos said.  “As a leader, I believe that you must always make every decision based on what’s in the overall best interests of the program, and never put personal interests first. After lengthy conversations with Mark Hollis, I am stepping down from my role to help facilitate a change in leadership and direction for Spartan hockey.”

A former player at Michigan State under Ron Mason from 1981-85, Anastos took over at Michigan State after serving as commissioner of the CCHA from 1998 through 2011. He had previously been an assistant at Michigan State from 1990-92 after serving has head coach at Michigan-Dearborn for three seasons.

“I’m truly grateful for the opportunity and support provided by our administration, especially that of Mark Hollis and President Simon,” Anastos said. “Michigan State is a special place to me and my family, and what makes it so special are its people. I appreciate the support and relationships that I’ve developed with the fans, boosters, alumni and media. I have loved working with our incredible group of coaches throughout the department, the most passionate and hardest working group of athletic administrators in all of college athletics, and most of all, the hockey coaches, support staff and student-athletes.”

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