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Atlantic Hockey: Holy Cross hires David Berard

David Berard is finally getting his well-deserved chance to be the head coach in Division I.

PC Athletic Media Relations

WORCESTER, MASS. -- Holy Cross hit a grand slam out of the ballpark on Monday afternoon with the announcement that David Berard would be the new head coach of its men's hockey program.

"His wealth of experience as a head coach, assistant and player along with his proven track record of success makes him the perfect person to lead Holy Cross men's ice hockey. I am certain that our program and our student-athletes will prosper under his guidance," said Holy Cross athletic director Nathan Pine.

The former interim head coach at UConn and longtime Providence assistant coach will bring instant credibility to the Crusaders' program. Berard did a terrific job as interim head coach at UConn during the 2012-13 season, going 19-10-3 and coming up just short in his bid to lead the Huskies to an Atlantic Hockey Association tournament championship.

Berard, a 1992 graduate of Providence College, spent 16 seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater as well as two-year stints at Lake Superior and Colby College. In his third stop in Providence, Berard was the Director of Hockey Operations for the Friars this past season.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to be the next head hockey coach at Holy Cross," said Berard. "We want to win championships and make the NCAA Tournament."

Berard is a perfect choice to take on a difficult task of recruiting top notch student-athletes to a challenging academic school. During his introductory press conference, he said he will focus on more mature and older players from the USHL, BCHL and Ontario.

Berard is replacing Paul Pearl, who left Holy Cross after 19 seasons to become the associate head coach at Harvard University. The Crusaders went 14-22-3 this past winter, finishing in eighth place in the AHA before bowing out to top-seeded Mercyhurst in the league quarterfinals.

Pearl led the Crusaders to back-to-back 20-win seasons before this past year and had also been behind the bench for his alma mater's two trips to the NCAA Tournament in 2004 and 2006.

Berard will make his regular season debut as head coach of the Crusaders with a home-and-home series against Merrimack College on October 10 and 11. Friday's contest will be at HC's Hart Center before Saturday's series finale will be Merrimack's Lawler Arena in North Andover.

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Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSports.