UConn Officially Hires Cavanaugh as New Head Coach
CHN Staff Report
STORRS, Conn. Connecticut made it official late Wednesday, naming Boston College assistant Mike Cavanaugh its new head coach.
David Berard had been the interim coach since Bruce Marshall resigned in January. Berard was interviewed to keep the position, but was passed over in favor of Cavanaugh, an assistant at BC the last 18 seasons, where he helped the Eagles win four national championships.
UConn has one more season in Atlantic Hockey before it moves to Hockey East, to become its 12th team.
Cavanaugh becomes only the fourth head coach in UConn history dating back to the inception of the program in 1960. He will be formally introduced at a news conference Thursday. According to the Hartford Courant, it's a five-year contract that will pay Cavanaugh a base of $200,000 the first year.
"I am very excited to be joining the UConn Husky family," said Cavanaugh in a statement. "This job is a terrific opportunity and I think UConn's move to Hockey East is a natural. I look forward to the challenge of building this program and I believe that my experiences over the past 18 years will help me lead UConn into this new era.
"College hockey is at an all-time high in the state of Connecticut right. The national championship teams that we had at Boston College had several players from the state on it and they were integral in our success. There is a wealth of talent in Connecticut and I look forward to recruiting the homegrown players as well as the prep schools. The state of Connecticut will be key in our recruiting efforts."
Cavanaugh was said to be a favorite of state governor Dannel Malloy, a Boston College graduate who is a fervent hockey fan and helped push for UConn to upgrade its program. But Malloy denied that he had any direct involvement in the decision to hire Cavanaugh.
"I am very happy and honored to welcome Mike Cavanaugh to the UConn community," UConn athletic director Warde Manuel said. "Mike has gained incredible experience over his career that will help lead us to being a highly successful program in Hockey East. He is a proven recruiter both nationally and internationally and as a native New Englander he has recruited a number of players from Connecticut.
"Mike has enjoyed an accomplished career at Boston College and has a great knowledge of what it takes to win on a national level. He also brings to UConn an understanding and appreciation for what it means to be a complete student-athlete."
Cavanaugh is the most recent winner of the American Hockey Coaches Association's Terry Flanagan award, which annually honors an assistant coach's body of work.
Cavanaugh played three seasons at Division III Bowdoin, graduating in 1990. He was team captain his senior year, and also captain of the football team, where he was a wide receiver. Upon his graduation, Cavanaugh spent one year in London serving as player/coach of the Richmond Ice Hockey Club. He returned to the United States and was the assistant hockey coach at the Belmont Hill School in 1991-92. From there, he joined Jerry York's staff at Bowling Green in 1992-93.
Prior to coming to Boston College in 1995-96, Cavanaugh spent two years as an assistant coach at Dartmouth (1993-95). He was promoted to associate head coach at BC prior to the 2004-05 season.
"I'm thrilled for Mike Cavanaugh to accept the head coaching position at the University of Connecticut," BC coach Jerry York said. "I think it's a significant hire by athletics director Warde Manuel. He has hired a very energetic, knowledgeable, classy young man. Mike will be sorely missed here at Boston College for his contributions to our hockey program over the last 18 years. But, on the other hand, we wish him all the best as he starts a whole new chapter in his career."
Former Denver coach George Gwozdecky was also interviewed for the position.