The American Hockey Coaches Association have named Rick Bennett as the 2014 recipient of the Spencer Penrose Award, given annually to the top coach in college hockey. To be eligible, a coach must either be named his conference's Coach of the Year, or win his league's postseason tournament. He will formally be given the honor at the coaches association's banquet held in Florida on May 5th.
Bennett becomes the second Union coach to win the award, joining 2011 recipient Nate Leaman. Bennett led Union to a 30-6-4 overall record, an ECAC regular season title, an ECAC playoff title, the school's second ever trip to the Frozen Four, and the school's first ever #1 overall ranking in the USCHO poll.
"It means more to our staff than anything. I really do believe it's a staff award, and should be a player award. The players are the ones playing this game, and they make you look good," said Bennett during his team's Frozen Four press conference on Wednesday.
"These guys have done that in my time here at Union College. I'm grateful to them, grateful to the staff. Jason Tapp, Joe Dumais, and John Ronan have done a phenomenal job. They make you look good. I think you've got to put a name to the award, and I guess my name is on that now. But it really belongs to everybody," added the third year bench boss.
Bennett was also suspended a total of four games for his involvement in an ugly post-game fight with rival RPI in late January.