Rivermen’s Payne promoted to head coach

peo_200.jpgThe St. Louis Blues announced today that Davis Payne has been named head coach of the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen, becoming the third bench boss in franchise history.

“Davis has a very impressive resume as a head coach, which includes an ECHL championship,” said Blues president John Davidson. “We are excited about him developing our youth in Peoria and providing leadership for our veteran players.”

Payne, 37, spent last season as an assistant coach for the Rivermen. Prior to joining Peoria, he spent four seasons as head coach of the ECHL’s Alaska Aces, leading them to the 2006 ECHL Kelly Cup championship. He established a .691 (185-75-21) winning percentage in his four years at Alaska.

In addition to leading the Aces to the 2006 ECHL Kelly Cup championship, he guided them to three consecutive trips to the conference finals; it was the first time in 15 years and only the second time in ECHL history that a team advanced to the ECHL’s Final Four in three straight seasons.

At the time of his departure, thirty-eight (38) of Alaska’s 48 lifetime playoff wins came under Payne’s direction, as his winning percentage in the playoffs (38-21, .644) nearly matched that of his four regular seasons in Alaska.

Payne, who owns a 289-142-45 (.654 winning percentage) in seven seasons as an ECHL head coach between Alaska and the Pee Dee (S.C.) Pride, remains second all-time in ECHL history with 50 postseason victories, 12 of which came during his three years with Pee Dee.

Payne is a graduate of NCAA Division I Michigan Tech and appeared in 22 NHL games with the Boston Bruins. He also played 64 career AHL tilts, primarily with the Providence Bruins.