New Haven, CT - Just under three months after announcing they would launch a men's ice hockey program for the 2019-20 season, Albertus Magnus College now has a coach for that program. Albertus Magnus athletic director Jim Abromaitis has announced the hiring of University of Vermont associate head coach Kyle Wallack as its inaugural men's hockey head coach. The announcement came in a press conference with New Haven area media on Monday.
"Kyle brings with him to Albertus Magnus Athletics a wealth of experience and a history of success," Abromaitis said in the school's release. "He is well-known and well-respected among all in the hockey community not only locally but nationally as well. I don't think there is anyone more prepared to put our new Men's Ice Hockey Program on the map."
Wallack hops aboard in New Haven following six seasons at the University of Vermont. As a member of the UVM staff, Wallack helped pilot the Catamounts to the 2014 NCAA tournament as an assistant, and was promoted to Associate Head Coach for the last three years. Before UVM, Wallack was the head coach of the USHL's Indiana Ice in 2011-12 and coached a team that included Division I stars Dalton Izyk and Jonathan Gillies, and NHL players Boo Nieves, Daniil Tarasov, and Sean Kuraly.
Prior to that season as a USHL Head Coach, Wallack was already an established Division I assistant, working to recruit many of the elder members of Yale's 2013 NCAA Division I National Championship team during the latter portion of a five year stop with the Bulldogs. He also worked in other programs around New England with assistant coach stints at Quinnipiac, Holy Cross and UConn. A noted highlight of his formative coaching years in Division I was his role as an assistant on the Holy Cross team that shocked the Minnesota Golden Gophers in overtime at the 2006 NCAA West Regional.
As a player, Wallack suited up as a goaltender at the club level for his hometown Springfield College Pride. He was a multi-time team captain while at Springfield.
The Falcons will begin play in Fall 2019 following a year of recruiting for Wallack, and are set to play at the Ralph Walker Arena in New Haven.
One of the most successful coaching careers in the history of NCAA hockey has come to an end as Norwich head coach Mike McShane announced his retirement at a press conference on Friday.
Full video: Mike McShane retirement press conference
McShane, a native of Wakefield, Mass., spent 37 seasons as a NCAA head coach, the final 23 of which came at the Division III level where he established and maintained Norwich as one of the nation's elite programs.
"It's been a great honor to coach here at Norwich University for 23 years," McShane said. "I've been very fortunate to coach for 46 years and end my career at a special school like Norwich. I appreciate the tremendous support we have had here right from the top down from President Schneider to Vice President Frank Vanecek and Athletic Director Tony Mariano.
I'd like to thank my assistant coaches, especially Steve Mattson, who have helped sustain the program's success by doing an excellent job recruiting. I'm looking forward to the search for a new coach and we're doing everything in our power to make sure the success of the program continues."
Overall, McShane posted a career mark of 722-341-67 which makes him the seventh-most winningest coach across all NCAA divisions. At Norwich, his 497-130-38 mark was good for a .767 win percentage which stands as second-best among coaches who have coached exclusively at the Division III level, while the 497 wins rank as ninth-most among the same group.
Under McShane's guidance, Norwich won four national championships, with the most recent in 2017 adding to a list that already included the 2002, 2003 and 2010 titles. The four championships served as capstones of a career that included 16 NCAA tournament and 12 Frozen Four appearances. 28 of the Cadets' 29 NCAA tournament wins came under the leadership of McShahe and mark a total that trails only Middlebury (34) and St. Norbert (32).
Norwich proved almost indestructible at the conference level under McShane as it won 19 of the past 20 New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) regular season championships, including a run of 17 straight from 1999-2015. Success came aplenty in the league postseason as well as the Cadets claimed 12 NEHC playoff titles with McShane behind the bench.
"Mike McShane has proven to be one of the best coaches in all NCAA divisions in the country," said Norwich University Director of Athletics Tony Mariano. "His record speaks for itself and he has elevated Norwich hockey to national prominence since his arrival in 1995. His teams have played with great intensity and sportsmanship on the ice and have done outstanding work in the classroom. All of that is due to Mike's leadership and his ability to prepare his athletes for not only hockey but life after their playing days are over. A consummate professional and outstanding coach and mentor, he will be greatly missed by all of us here at Norwich. I wish him all the best in his retirement that he so richly deserves."
Over the course of his career, McShane amassed an astounding 25 coach of the year awards of various natures, and was named the recipient of the prestigious Ed Jeremiah Award, given to the Men's Division III coach of the year, in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2010 and 2017. McShane stands as the only coach to have won the award five times.
The program has also produced countless All-Americans, including Keith Aucoin and Kurtis McLean, both of whom also won the Sid Watson Award as Division III men's player of the year -- and both of whom eventually earned playing time in the NHL.
Prior to his time at Norwich, McShane served as head coach at a pair of Division I institutions as he led St. Lawrence from 1980-85 and Providence from 1985-94. At St. Lawrence, he posted a 95-56-6 record and helped lead the Saints to the 1983 NCAA tournamnt, while at Providence he maintained a 151-153-24 ledger and led the Friars to the NCAA tournament in 1989, 1991 and 1992.
Norwich plans to conduct a national search to fill McShane's head coaching vacancy immediately and aims to have a new coach in place by August 1.
"Coach McShane represents everything that is great about Norwich athletics," said Norwich University President Richard W. Schneider. "A leader, a teacher and a role model to our men's hockey team for over two decades, Mike has shared his 37+ years of coaching experience and talent freely with our student-athletes, his coaching staff and the hockey community with the goal of performing to our best each and every day."
The hockey players he has recruited excel on and off the ice and are always in the top of the class academically with a 100% graduation rate. Those who have played for and coached with Mike, or have had an opportunity to interact with him, are lucky to have done so. We will miss his leadership at the helm of our perennial national championship contending men's hockey program."
St. Benedict Puts Thibault in Charge of Women's Program
ST. JOSEPH, Minn. – The College of Saint Benedict athletic department is at full strength once again with the hiring of Nick Thibault as the school's new women's hockey coach.
“After a competitive and robust search, we are pleased to announce the selection of Nick Thibault as the next coach for CSB hockey,” said Mary Geller, CSB vice president for student development. “Nick’s knowledge and passion for the sport, his understanding of the Division III values and his commitment to developing women athletes was evident throughout the hiring process. He expressed a clear vision for the program and a successful track record, which leads us to have great confidence in his ability to coach the program. He joins an outstanding athletic department, and we look forward to welcoming him to Bennie Nation. We share in his excitement to take our program to a new level of performance.”
Thibault comes to Saint Benedict with a successful coaching background. For the past three seasons, he has served as the head coach for both the St. Cloud Cathedral girls’ soccer program and the St. Cloud Icebreakers girls’ hockey team. The Icebreakers went from 8-15-2 overall in 2014-15 to 18-6-1 and a second-place conference finish in Thibault’s first year at the helm in 2015-16, and the team won 17 games in each of his next two seasons. He is 54-22-4 in three seasons as head coach, and has coached five all-area, nine all-conference and 12 all-section athletes.
In his time with the Cathedral soccer team, Thibault took the team from a sub-.500 program to an undefeated conference championship team. In his first season in 2015, Cathedral finished 13-0-2 – the first undefeated season in program history – and won the conference title. He won at least eight games each of the next two seasons, and has had athletes earn all-area, all-conference, all-section and all-state awards. In three seasons, he went 34-15-3 overall and 25-5 in conference play at Cathedral.
Prior to his time as head coach at Cathedral and with the Icebreakers, Thibault served as an assistant coach for the Cathedral boys’ soccer team and the school’s boys’ hockey team, as well as the girls’ soccer team. He is a 2014 graduate of St. Cloud State, and received an MBA from Grand Canyon University in May. He played hockey for the Granite City Lumberjacks in the 2007-08 season.
“I’m extremely excited to be joining the College of Saint Benedict community,” Thibault said. “This is a terrific opportunity for me and a dream come true. I look forward to the challenge of building this program and instilling a culture of excellence and tradition. I would like to thank Mary Geller and Glen Werner for displaying confidence in my abilities and giving me the opportunity to lead CSB hockey.”
Thibault takes over a team that finished 2-21-1 in 2017-18, but returns three of its top four leading scorers. CSB Athletic Director Glen Werner said Thibault will start his new position in July.
“Nick comes to us with a solid background in athletics and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for coaching,” Werner said. “Nick has shown an ability to transform programs to get results, and I’m looking forward to welcoming him to campus to begin preparing for next season.”
Just under three months after announcing their program, Albertus Magnus has a head coach. The Falcons have reached into the D1 ranks as they named Kyle Wallack as head coach Monday. Photo: Albertus Magnus Athletics
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