Mike Hastings, an associate head coach with Nebraska Omaha the past three seasons, will interview today for the  head men's hockey coaching position at Minnesota State Mankato with the the school's search committee.

Hastings, a Gophers assistant coach in the 2008-09 season, will then meet with the media and the general public at 4 p.m. at the Taylor Center on campus. That seems a little odd for a candidate, unless the job is nearly his already.

I talked with Hastings numerous times when he was at the University of Minnesota. He comes across as an impressive coach: knowledgeable, passionate, experienced. He primarily worked with the Gophers' forwards and ran practices when head coach Don Lucia was absent.

MSU reassigned Troy Jutting, the Mavericks' coach for 12 years, on April 1 and school officials have worked quickly, it seems, to find a replacement.

Hastings replaced Mike Guentzel at Minnesota and, in turn, was replaced by Grant Potulny.

He has a lot of head coaching experience in the USHL. In 14 years with the Omaha Lancers, he compiled a career record of 529-210-56 and never had a losing season. He had more victories than any coach in UHSL history. His last team there in 2007-08 won the Clark Cup.

His Lancers previously won Clark Cups for playoff championships in 1998 and 2001. His teams also won three Anderson Cups for regular-season titles in 2002, '05 and '08.

Hastings was the USHL coach of the year after the 1996-97 and 2001-02 seasons. And five times he was named the UHSL's general manager of year in 1997, 2002, '05, '07 and '08.

He is a native of Crookston, Minn., and played at St. Cloud State for two season before his college playing career ended because of injuries. He has a bachelor's degree in secondary education.

Hastings is the first finalist to interview for the MSU Mankato job. Will there be others? School officials are not saying.

Maybe there is somebody better out there for the Mavericks' job,  but Hastings has to be a strong candidate.