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Wilcox brothers excited to help Dodge County players grow on, off ice as co-head coaches

Andrew Wilcox (2005) and Bryce Wilcox (2007) both graduated from Century High School, where they played on boys hockey teams that reached the state tournament. The brothers now hope to help Dodge County get back to state as the program's new co-head coaches.

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Andrew Wilcox
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Andrew Wilcox and his younger brother Bryce already spend most of their work day together, running their web design and development company, NexGen Marketing.

So when the opportunity presented itself for the Rochester Century graduates — both of whom played on boys hockey state tournament teams for the Panthers — to spend more time on the ice together, it was too difficult to pass up.

Andrew, 35, and Bryce, 33, jumped at the offer to coach the Dodge County boys hockey program. They’ll be the Wildcats’ co-head coaches, taking over for Nick Worden, who guided the Wildcats to their first-ever state tournament appearance (a runner-up finish in 2021) and, more importantly according to the Wilcox brothers, helped turn around the culture in the Dodge County program.

“I don’t know if I really expected to ever become a head coach,” said Bryce Wilcox, a 2007 Century grad. “My wife and I just started a family. I thought I might just walk away from coaching for a while.
“But when Wordo said ‘I’m going to step away,’ I reached out to Andrew and said ‘do you want to commit to this?’ He has a 1½-year-old and another on the way, but we chatted and just had too much excitement to pass it up.”

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Bryce Wilcox

The Wilcox brothers hope for a smooth transition, having been around the program for two seasons as assistant coaches. Dodge County went 35-15-1 in that span and made its only state-tournament appearance in the spring of 2021. It beat Mankato West for the Section 1A championship, then topped Hermantown and Little Falls to reach the title game.

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Andrew Wilcox, who was a forward during his playing career, said he and his brother will run the hockey program the same way they run their business — each of them handling their areas of expertise.

“Bryce loves his defensemen, I love my forwards,” Andrew said. “We both have some ideas on both sides of the ice, and we’ll talk about those ideas and make the best decisions for the team as a team. Whatever fits with our overall goal is the approach we’ll take.
“We have a sense of which way we want to go, but we’ll mold everything to work as well as we can with the players we have.”

Worden coached the Wildcats for four seasons, compiling a 65-38-1 mark.

“He’ll never take credit for it, but since Day 1 he was determined to change the culture of the program,” Andrew Wilcox said of Worden. “When I think of a winning program, it’s not just winning games, it’s not just winning your shift. It’s doing the right things away from hockey, too. He held kids accountable; he brought that into the classroom, talked to teachers and administrators to make sure the kids are working hard in the classroom, too.
“Helping these guys grow into young men is one of his strengths and we want to carry that on.”

The cupboard is loaded for the Wildcats’ new coaches. Dodge County is led by a trio of forwards — juniors-to-be Cooper Jacobson and Gryffon Funke, and sophomore Brett Ludvigsen — who are beginning to get noticed at a national level, while attending Minnesota Hockey and USA Hockey summer camps.

“We’re excited about that; how good they’ve already become for how young they are,” Bryce Wilcox said. “We think we can help elevate those kids a little bit more, because Andrew and I did play junior hockey and college hockey.
“They know the game; we’re just there to make them a few tools to become little bit better.”

Andrew Wilcox, a 2005 Century grad who played on its first-ever state tournament team, said he’s most excited to try to provide the same opportunities for kids that he had while playing youth and high school hockey.

“I’ve seen what Nick has done there since the beginning with him,” Andrew said. “I’ve seen the culture he’s built there. We want to help that grow. And the love of the game, the success I’ve had and how good the game has been to me, this is a good way to give back.
“I’ve always had a passion for helping players develop on and off the ice, so this was kind of a no-brainer to get on board.”

Jason Feldman is the sports editor of the Post Bulletin. In addition to managing the four-person sports staff at the PB, Jason covers high school football, golf and high school and junior hockey. Readers can reach Jason at 507-281-7430 or jfeldman@postbulletin.com.
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