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If you get Brandon Naurato talking for long enough about his life in hockey, he’ll consistently remark, half-jokingly and half dead serious, “I really did get a PhD. in hockey.”

And while Naurato — Michigan’s new interim head coach — may not have had to spend seven years in a graduate school or defend a 300 page thesis, the sentiment of his statement rings true for many. With decades of playing, coaching and even commercializing his knowledge of the sport, Naurato must have genuinely obtained the highest form of education, one that now allows him to teach.

But while Naurato enters his new role with a plethora of junior, collegiate and NHL experience, it’d be frankly wrong to call his coaching path stereotypical. Because in many ways, Naurato is an NCAA anomaly.

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