July 19, 2011 PRINT Bookmark and Share

MacDonald Named Assistant at UMass

CHN Staff Report

AMHERST, Mass. — Former Massachusetts-Lowell coach Blaise MacDonald has landed an assistant coaching job at Massachusetts. The position was opening after Red Gendron decided to leave to take a spot on Yale's staff.

MacDonald, who was let go by Lowell following last season, is re-united with UMass head coach Don "Toot" Cahoon. The two worked together as assistants at Boston University, and later at Princeton when Cahoon was head coach there. MacDonald also had a previous stint at Princeton under Jim Higgins, where he coached a defenseman named Len Quesnelle. Quesnelle went on to become head coach at Princeton after Cahoon, and is now the other assistant at UMass.

“Toot’s been my guardian angel,” MacDonald told Masslive.com.

MacDonald was head coach at Niagara for four seasons, taking them to the NCAAs in 2000, before leaving to become head coach at Lowell. He was there 10 years and had three 20-win seasons, but was let go after the program failed to reach the Hockey East playoffs last season.

"Blaise was unquestionably the best candidate for the position and for our needs. He comes with a great deal experience, a great deal of enthusiasm and a great positive feel. He is the most dynamic of all the people who were out there," said Cahoon.

"I am really happy to be working with him again; the familiar relationship that we have played a big role in making this an easy decision. I'm really fortunate that I've been able to find another capable and well-schooled assistant. I've had a whole series of them from Bill Gilligan to Mark Dennehy to Red Gendron to Len Quesnelle; that now continues with Blaise. I've been blessed to have had so many great and knowledgeable assistants throughout my coaching career."

As for Gendron, he said the decision had nothing to do with being dissatisfied at UMass.

“There were three reasons for the move,” Gendron told Masslive.com. “First, Yale has a great hockey program, as everyone knows. Second, the head coach is a long-time friend who is a terrific coach. We worked with four U.S. teams together. And third, the opportunity to be the associate head coach.”

Cahoon and MacDonald helped recruit the class that led to Boston University's 1995 national championship, though Cahoon was off to Princeton by then. MacDonald would later interview for the UMass head coaching position that Cahoon ultimately got in 2000.

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