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Mike Cavanaugh hired as new UConn hockey coach

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Mike Cavanaugh, who has served on the Boston College coaching staff for the past 18 seasons and has helped lead the Eagles to four national championships, has been named the head men’s ice hockey coach at the University of Connecticut.

Cavanaugh will guide the Huskies in the upgrade of their program as UConn plays in Atlantic Hockey in 2013-14 and then joins Hockey East, the nation’s most competitive conference, in 2014-15. Cavanaugh becomes only the fourth head coach in UConn history dating back to the inception of the program in 1960.

“I am very excited to be joining the UConn Husky family,” said Cavanaugh. “This job is a terrific opportunity and I think UConn’s move to Hockey East is a natural. I look forward to the challenge of building this program and I believe that my experiences over the past 18 years will help me lead UConn into this new era.

“College hockey is at an all-time high in the state of Connecticut right. The national championship teams that we had at Boston College had several players from the state on it and they were integral in our success. There is a wealth of talent in Connecticut and I look forward to recruiting the homegrown players as well as the prep schools. The state of Connecticut will be key in our recruiting efforts.

“I would like thank President Susan Herbst and Director of Athletics Warde Manuel for showing confidence in my abilities and giving me the opportunity to lead UConn into its era of Hockey East.”

Cavanaugh has helped lead the Eagles to four national titles (2001, 2008, 2010 and 2012) in addition to nine Hockey East Tournament championships, six league regular-season titles and 10 Frozen Four appearances.

“I am very happy and honored to welcome Mike Cavanaugh to the UConn community,” said Manuel. “Mike has gained incredible experience over his career that will help lead us to being a highly successful program in Hockey East.

He is a proven recruiter both nationally and internationally and as a native New Englander he has recruited a number of players from Connecticut.

“Mike has enjoyed an accomplished career at Boston College and has a great knowledge of what it takes to win on a national level. He also brings to UConn an understanding and appreciation for what it means to be a complete student-athlete.”

During his tenure at Boston College, Cavanaugh has been vital in establishing a decade-strong winning culture for the program in the Hockey East. As one of the nation’s premier recruiters, Cavanaugh saw his efforts produce 27 National Hockey League players, a Hobey Baker Award recipient (Mike Mottau, 2000), 22 All-Americans and two USA Hockey College Players of the Year (Mottau, 2000 and Nathan Gerbe, 2008) in his 18 seasons – the last nine as associate head coach.

He was named the winner of the 2013 Terry Flanagan Award by the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA). The Flanagan Award is given annually to honor an assistant coach’s career body of work in the college game.

In addition to his on-ice achievements, Cavanaugh has been highly involved in the greater Boston community. He spearheaded an academic mentoring program with St. Columbkille Partnership School, a local elementary school where 19 different languages are spoken and many students are receiving financial support.

Boston College players are matched with fifth graders for academic mentoring that often turns into life mentoring. Cavanaugh also founded and led the coordination of the Annual BC Race to Educate, a 5k road race and 1k kids fun run held in the Spring. The race has raised over $130,000 in just two years for St. Columbkille’s that has been put toward financial aid, a music program and staffing at the school.

A 1990 graduate of Bowdoin College, Cavanaugh was a three-year ice hockey letterman for the Polar Bears. He served as team captain in 1989-90. Cavanaugh also captained and played wide receiver on the school’s football team.

He is a graduate of North Andover High School, where he played hockey.
Upon his graduation from Bowdoin, Cavanaugh spent one year in London serving as player/coach of the Richmond Ice Hockey Club.

He returned to the United States and was the assistant hockey coach at the Belmont Hill School for the 1991-92 season. From there, he joined Jerry York’s staff at Bowling Green from 1992-93. While at BGSU, Cavanaugh earned a master’s degree in sports management.

Prior to coming to Boston College in 1995-96, Cavanaugh spent two years as an assistant coach at Dartmouth College (1993-95).

He was promoted to associate head coach at BC prior to the 2004-05 season.