Mike Cavanaugh had to wait eighteen years for his chance at a head-coaching gig, but the longtime Boston College assistant coach finally has his chance to lead a program. The University of Connecticut named Cavanaugh, a native of North Andover, Mass., the school's new head hockey coach on May 9.
Cavanaugh has long been respected as one of the college game's top assistant coaches. Now the Bowdoin alum has his chance to prove he can be the top man.
"This is a special day in our hockey program's history. [Cavanaugh's] ability to establish one of the stronger programs in the country at BC is what struck me," said Connecticut Athletic Director Warde Manuel at the time of Cavanaugh's hiring.
Cavanaugh faces a unique challenge this season at UCONN. He is guiding a program that is playing its last season in the Atlantic Hockey Association before moving to Hockey East. "Our goal is to win the Atlantic Hockey Championship. It would be unfair to our seniors to look ahead and not focus on this year," said Cavanaugh.
Cavanaugh was part of four national championship teams at Boston College. The Eagles won NCAA Titles in 2001, 2008, 2010 and 2012 with Cavanaugh as an assistant. He said he will lean on what he learned at Boston College, but is intent on making UCONN its own program with plenty of success. "My mission here is simple. Graduate players and win championships," said Cavanaugh.
Jerry York, Cavanaugh's boss at BC, believes UCONN picked the right man for the job. "He's an outstanding college hockey coach and a first class individual," said York at the recent Hockey East Media Day. "They'll quickly rise in the ranks of college hockey," added York.
"He's hired a really good staff. He dipped into Hockey East with one former player from BU and one from New Hampshire. Mike is a real hard worker. He'll get into recruiting pretty hard here and get some quality players in there," said York.
Cavanaugh will always have tremendous respect for his friend and mentor. "When we play BC, I'll want to beat them bad, but I'll still play golf with Jerry York in the summer," said Cavanaugh at his introductory press conference.
More from Western College Hockey Blog:
- Breaking Down the Roster for the 2013 USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game
- Hockey East Recruiting Rankings
- Hockey East and Big Ten Announce Challenge
- Boston College, UMass-Lowell Share First Place in Hockey East Preseason Coaches Poll
- Minnesota State Dominates WCHA Preseason Poll, Individual Accolades
Jeff Cox covers college and junior hockey, recruiting, NHL Draft prospects and the AHL for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.