Hilbert names inaugural women’s ice hockey coach and inaugural track & field coach
HAMBURG — Hilbert College President Michael S. Brophy, Ph.D. has named Cole Klubek the first women’s ice hockey coach in Hawks’ program history. Klubek brings a vast athletics background to Hilbert, much of it coaching hockey at various levels. Brophy has also named Raymond Putnam III as the first men’s and women’s track and field coach in Hawks’ program history. Putnam brings over 20 years of head coaching experience to Hilbert. He will begin his new role on Jan. 4, 2022.
“I am confident that Cole Klubek has the experience and vision to successfully build and lead our women’s ice hockey program to compete at the NCAA Division III level,” Brophy said. “Cole has shown throughout his life that he is dedicated to athletics and, more importantly, to the character-development that is vital for NCAA student-athletes.”
“I am honored to have the opportunity to develop and build the Hilbert Women’s Ice Hockey Program,” Klubek said. “It is very exciting to have the opportunity to return home to Western New York while leading the talented and deserving NCAA Division III student-athletes at Hilbert.”
Klubek, a Hamburg High School graduate, is currently the hockey director at Kendall Ice Arena in Miami. In this role, he manages practice and game plans, new player recruitment, budgeting, USA Hockey compliance, and coaching. Prior to Miami, Klubek served as the head coach of the Laramie Outlaws (14U) in Laramie, Wyoming.
While serving in the United States Air Force, Klubek moved around quite a bit, but one thing always remained constant, he was involved in athletics. It started in 2008 in Shreveport, Louisiana, where he began coaching youth in-line hockey before being deployed to Iraq in October 2010.
When he returned from Iraq, he would be stationed in Mississippi, and he got involved with the Mississippi State University ice hockey program. The club program was about to fold, but Klubek jumped at the opportunity and helped recruit some more players and revitalized the program. After about two and a half years, Klubek was on the move again and headed to Germany. During his stint in Germany, Klubek served as the head coach of a professional women’s hockey team.
Klubek enrolled at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in January 2018 and earned his bachelor of arts in English in May 2020. While at Lincoln, he served as a two-year captain as punter/kicker on the NCAA Division II football team.
Putnam has been a head coach for track and field since 1999, most recently at The College of Saint Rose in Albany. During his time at Saint Rose, he coached an NCAA Division II National qualifier (the first in 14 years), he coached the conference’s Women’s Runner of the Year, and he coached nine all-region athletes.
“I am confident that Ray has the experience, knowledge, and vision to successfully launch our men’s and women’s track and field program to compete at the NCAA Division III level,” Brophy said. “We are very excited to have a head coach with Ray’s expertise to lead this new program.”
“I am honored to have the opportunity to launch the Hilbert Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Program from the ground up,” Putnam said.
He has a proven track record of successful college athletics recruitment, developing competitive programs, and prioritizing student success. Putnam has coached numerous athletes to individual conference recognitions and to team championships. He was twice named Conference Coach of the Year (Great Northern Athletic Conference, 2012 and 2013). In his career, Putnam has coached 30 All-Americans.