Blais Contract Extended Through 2017-18
CHN Staff Report
OMAHA, Neb. Nebraska-Omaha extended the contract of coach Dean Blais through the 2017-18 season, the school announced today.
“Dean has done an exceptional job leading our team through a period of great transition during the last four years,” UNO athletic director Trev Alberts said. “In that time, he led the team into two new leagues, the WCHA and the NCHC, and his experience and knowledge of the leagues and the Division I hockey landscape was critical to our success.
“Next year, he will guide us through additional transition as we move into the new arena. This extension will allow us to ensure the continuity of our coaching staff and the recent positive momentum we’ve had recruiting quality student-athletes to our program.”
UNO is coming off a 17-18-2 season that was somewhat disappointing after a good first half. It was the team's first season in the new NCHC, after first moving from the CCHA to WCHA in Blais' second season, 2010-11.
For the second straight year, UNO had a Top 10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, Josh Archibald.
“When I came to Omaha, Trev and I had a goal of building an on-campus arena, and I’m excited that this extension will allow me to see UNO athletics reach that goal,” Blais said.
“We consistently rank in the top five in attendance each year, and that proves what a great hockey community Omaha is,” Blais added. “We’ve got a very good core of returning players and what is perceived to be a great recruiting class coming in. As a coach, you want to work with great players with strong community support behind your team, and we have that here.”
Blais has a 91-86-18 record in five years as the Mavericks’ head coach. He has guided UNO to two 20-win seasons and an appearance in the NCAA tournament in 2011, the second in school history. During that season, he was named the WCHA’s Coach of the Year.
Blais, a 1973 graduate of Minnesota, is 353-201-51 in his 15-year career as a head coach, which includes 10 seasons at North Dakota, where he won two national championships (1997 and 2000). He is a two-time Spencer Penrose Memorial Award winner as the Division I coach of the year.