Agnew, Yates returning to Crunch

The Syracuse Crunch announced today that the Columbus Blue Jackets have signed head coach Gary Agnew and assistant coach Ross Yates to two-year contracts. Both Agnew and Yates will be returning for their seventh season behind the Crunch’s bench in 2006-07.

“Gary and Ross have been instrumental in developing the skills of our good, young prospects and have provided a level of coaching that has made the Crunch an extremely competitive team in the American Hockey League,” said Columbus Blue Jackets executive vice president and assistant general manager Jim Clark. “They are both good coaches and great people and we’re thrilled to have them back.”

Agnew, 45, guided the Crunch to their first-ever division and regular-season conference championships in 2001-02 and set numerous franchise marks during the 2005-06 season including wins (47) and points (102). In 480 career games as head coach of the Crunch, Agnew has a record of 220-210-50.

Agnew is the third head Coach in Crunch history, following Jack McIlhargey (1994-99) and Stan Smyl (1999-2000).

Yates, 46, was the AHL’s most valuable player in 1982-83 and joined the Crunch as an assistant coach in 2000-01.