MacDonald, Lowell Officially Part Ways
CHN Staff Report
Blaise MacDonald officially parted ways with Massachusetts-Lowell today, confirming a story first reported earlier this week by College Hockey News.
According to sources, MacDonald was informed that Lowell wanted to go in another direction, and was spending the week in discussions with athletic director Dana Skinner on terms of a buyout of the final year of his contract.
In a statement, Mass.-Lowell technically said MacDonald decided to "step down."
"Dana and I have been in talks all week." MacDonald said in a statement. "The discussions have been detailed and included everything from budgets to recruiting strategies. Together we reached the conclusion that the time was right for me and the University to try something different."
Lowell finished last in Hockey East this season with a 4-21-2 record (5-25-4 overall), and failed to make the playoffs. It's the worst showing, percentage-wise, in the program's history, and the fewest wins since the second season of existence in 1968-69.
MacDonald came to Lowell from Niagara, where he built that program from scratch into a 30-win at-large NCAA team in 1999-2000. One year later, he accepted the job at Lowell after current Maine coach Tim Whitehead did not renew his contract.
MacDonald had three 20-win seasons with the RiverHawks, but failed to make the NCAAs. His job status was previously in jeopardy following a DUI arrest after the 2007 season, but Skinner decided to retain him.
The River Hawks advanced to the Hockey East Tournament semifinals twice under MacDonald — in 2002 and 2009. In 2009, Lowell reached the championship game, losing to Boston University, 1-0. On two different occasions the River Hawks received the program's highest ranking ever, third in the NCAA.
"Blaise MacDonald has made many significant contributions to the University and the hockey program," said Skinner. "He has coached effectively and mentored many of our student-athletes, instilling in them the importance of education, civility and community service — qualities that served as the cornerstone of his program. We're grateful for the leadership he provided during his 10 years as head coach. I consider Blaise a friend, and I wish him every success in the future."
All told, MacDonald is 241-236-59, including 150-178-42 at Lowell.