March 9, 2012 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Marsh Steps Down at St. Lawrence; Carvel Named Replacement

CHN Staff Report

CANTON, N.Y. — St. Lawrence coach Joe Marsh, who was on medical leave this past season, announced his retirement today after 26 years. Marsh cited the time commitment for the continuation of treatment for a condition that kept him out this season, with Mike Hurlbut acting as interim head coach.

Greg Carvel, who was brought in as an assistant after Bob Prier left for Princeton, and was coaching with Hurlbut, has been named the permanent replacement. Hurlbut will continue in his role as associate head coach.

“The time feels right,” said Marsh. “We have the right people in place to take the reins of the program. Two of our former players, one of whom played in the NHL and the other who has years of coaching experience in the NHL.”

Marsh was 468-399-72 in 26 seasons, the most career victories of any active ECAC coach and the third coach in NCAA Division I history with more than 400 wins at one institution. He is the seventh coach since 1951 to win multiple Spencer Penrose Awards as the NCAA Division I Hockey Coach of the Year (1989 and 2000) and was ECAC Coach of the Year a record four times.

“At St. Lawrence, we do not measure a coach’s work solely by the length of a career, the number of victories, or the championship banners draped from the rafters, though Joe Marsh has earned the luster of many positive statistics,” said St. Lawrence President William Fox in a statement. “Rather, we appreciate and admire Joe’s success because it was all about being a teacher first, who had lessons, values and examples to impart. Our men’s hockey program, so distinctive from all others, is nationally renowned – and an important part of Joe’s legacy is the number of alumni who have gone into professional coaching. St. Lawrence is immensely grateful.”

“On behalf of the athletic department and the men’s hockey program, we want to thank Joe for his positive impact on the game of hockey not only at St. Lawrence, but throughout the college game,” said SLU athletic director Margie Strait. “He produced generations of players who played the game the way it should be played and brought a positive reputation to St. Lawrence and our hockey program.”

Marsh, 60, has been battling an esophageal disease that has made it tough for him to eat, breathe and swallow. He has been getting a series of surgeries and treatments. The condition also led to a flare-up of a life-long issue with gout.

Marsh coached 12 of the 14 20-or-more win seasons in St. Lawrence history, produced ECAC championship teams in 1988, 1989, 1992, 2000 and 2001, and took teams to eight ECAC tournament championship game appearances. His 1988 team was NCAA runner-up and he took a total of eight teams to NCAA tournament play.

Among his former assistants are Mark Morris, now coach of the Manchester Monarchs in the American Hockey League; Don Vaughan, head coach at Colgate; Paul Flanagan, head women’s coach at Syracuse; Pierre Maguire, NBC hockey analyst; and Jay Heinbuck, director of scouting for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Three of his former players are Division I head coaches: Bob Prier at Princeton and Chris Wells, coach of the St. Lawrence women’s program, and now Carvel.

Carvel, a 1993 graduate of St. Lawrence, had 15-year professional hockey coaching career that included assisting with the Ottawa Senators and Anaheim Ducks of the NHL. The winner of the ECAC’s Best Defensive Forward Award as a senior at St. Lawrence, Carvel was an Academic All-America. A Canton, N.Y., native, he averaged a point per game for his career as a Saint center with 37 goals and 87 assists for 124 points in 124 career games.

“It is a tremendous honor as well as extremely humbling to be chosen as Joe Marsh’s successor,” said Carvel. “Joe has been the most influential person in my hockey career and has served as a friend and a mentor for almost 30 years. He is one of the last true icons of college hockey because he has embodied all that is right and honorable about college sports and, more importantly, St. Lawrence University. He developed and nurtured a culture, built upon a foundation of passion and compassion that lead to unprecedented success both on and off the ice for this hockey program for the past 26 years. His contributions to both the University and its hockey program cannot be measured and will never be exceeded. On behalf of hundreds of proud and loyal former Skating Saints I want to thank Joe for what he gave to all of us and for making St. Lawrence Hockey what it is today.

“It is my intention to carry on Joe's legacy, to continue to strengthen the St. Lawrence hockey tradition while at the same time making my own personal imprint. Having played for Joe and being a proud alumnus, I thoroughly understand how special the experience of playing hockey at St. Lawrence can be. With Mike Hurlbut serving as our associate head coach, the program will be guided by two former Saints hockey players who are both from the North Country and who both benefited exponentially in their professional careers from having the experience of playing for Joe."

Said Strait, “Looking at the future of the program, we have been extremely impressed with the way Greg Carvel and Mike Hurlbut handled the team this past season. The feedback from the players, alumni and the University community has been very positive. In continuing discussions with Joe Marsh, he has been very supportive of Greg and Mike and impressed with the new systems Greg has introduced to our program to make us a better team."

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