In the spring of 2002, with Ron Low finishing his final season as head coach of the New York Rangers, captain Mark Messier, 41 years old at the time, told the NY Daily News that he wasn’t interested in becoming coach of the Rangers, “No. “(Coaching) is not in my immediate plans, that’s for sure. You probably never say never, but I’ve never given it much thought. And not right now. I have no interest in coaching.”
Following the Rangers firing of Brian Trottier in January 2003, Messier revealed in the NY Daily News that Glen Sather had asked him before the season about going behind the bench, “He did ask me, to be very honest, he did ask me last year if I was going to play, and if I didn’t, would I be interested in coaching the team last year,” Messier said, referring to a conversation they had shortly after Ron Low was fired as Sather’s first Rangers head coach. “I said I didn’t know if I was going to play. And he said, ‘Well, if you don’t play, would you be interested in coaching?’”
Messier added, “Glen has been asking me to do that for a long time, but I’m a player right now and I don’t want to coach. I’m under no illusion that because I’ve played the game and been involved and won before that that automatically translates into a coach.
Sather coached the team following the firing of Trottier but only because assistant coach Jim Schoenfeld turned down the job.
The report says that Herb Brooks was twice offered the position of head coach and, along with Larry Robinson, turned it down.
The NY Post says that Pavel Bure asked Sather to coach the team before Trottier was hired and also says that Schoenfeld turned down the head coaching position.
Messier has been working as a special assistant to Glen Sather the past three seasons.