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Coaching staff rewarded
Wilson, Hunter and Zettler land new deals
8/2/04 - By Mike Lee

A record regular season and the longest playoff run in franchise history were two pretty good reasons for Sharks head coach Ron Wilson and his coaching staff to be rewarded. San Jose GM Doug Wilson made sure that was the case on Monday by signing Ron Wilson, Tim Hunter and Rob Zettler to new two-year contracts, with an option for a third year. Terms of the deal were not released.

San Jose finished the 2003-04 season with a franchise record 104 points and earned a birth in the Western Conference Finals before bowing out to Calgary in six games. The turnaround was a feat worthy of reward, considering the franchise that Wilson took over in December 2002 after Darryl Sutter was fired.

``We're still a young and developing team with lots of room to grow,'' said Wilson. ``But to see the light go on for so many guys, that's really what coaching is all about, when you see the kind of illumination from your team.''

GM Doug Wilson made the right call in keeping Wilson on after inheriting the Sharks from Dean Lombardi in the Summer of 2003. With plenty of doubters forecasting several seasons of rebuilding, the tandem set out to make the Sharks competitive that Summer.

``We wanted to change the way this team was going to play,'' Doug Wilson said. ``There are very few coaches who have that combination of fundamentals, detail and creativity. That was the first thing we identified that we wanted in a coach, and Ron fits that.''

The Sharks played their cards well that Summer, locking up all their free agents prior to the start of training camp. Having a complete roster at the beginning of September meant no distractions when the team was trying to find its identity.

It should come as no surprise that Wilson knows a thing or two about hockey. He'll lead Team USA into battle at the upcoming World Cup of Hockey in September.

Clear objectives and accountability were laid out for every Sharks from the onset, and a Pacific Division Title would await San Jose seven months later. On August 2nd, Wilson, Hunter and Zettler received a well earned bonus.

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