The end of an era: Beaney announces retirement

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College hockey has reached the end of an era as legendary Middlebury coach Bill Beaney announced that he is stepping down from his position as men's ice hockey coach at a news conference in Middlebury on Wednesday.

Bill Beaney speaks at Wednesday's news conference.
Photo: Middlebury Athletics

"I have been truly blessed to have had the chance to coach at Middlebury College, a place that believes deeply in the concept of the student-athlete," said Beaney. "A coach is only one part of a successful program. It requires the commitment of the entire institution, from the president to the director of athletics, from the faculty to the entire coaching staff, and of course to the quality and character of the players."

Beaney spent 28 seasons behind the Panthers' bench where he guided the program to a 516-184-51 mark. Including seven seasons as head coach at New England College, Beaney's career mark stands at 602-260-59 and his 602 career wins in Division III stand as the 11th most in NCAA history across all divisions and the most attained by any coach at the Division III level.

His 516 wins at Middlebury level stand as the most achieved by a coach at a single Division III institution.

1977-78     N. England College     7-13-2
1978-79     N. England College     10-13-2
1979-80     N. England College     9-13-0
1980-81     N. England College     16-8-0
1981-82     N. England College     15-10-1
1982-83     N. England College     13-11-0
1983-84     N. England College     16-8-3
1986-87     Middlebury     7-16-1
1987-88     Middlebury     7-16-1
1988-89     Middlebury     11-12-1
1989-90     Middlebury     21-5-1
1990-91     Middlebury     22-3-1
1991-92     Middlebury     21-5-0
1992-93     Middlebury     18-4-2
1993-94     Middlebury     13-10-0
1994-95     Middlebury     23-2-2*
1995-96     Middlebury     26-2-0*
1996-97     Middlebury     22-3-2*
1997-98     Middlebury     24-2-2*
1998-99     Middlebury     21-5-1*
1999-00     Middlebury     20-5-2
2000-01     Middlebury     23-4-1
2001-02     Middlebury     26-2-1
2003-04     Middlebury     27-3-0*
2004-05     Middlebury     23-4-3*
2005-06     Middlebury     26-2-2*
2006-07     Middlebury     20-8-3
2007-08     Middlebury     18-7-2
2008-09     Middlebury     19-7-1
2009-10     Middlebury     19-5-4
2010-11     Middlebury     11-8-6
2011-12     Middlebury     14-10-3
2012-13     Middlebury     13-11-2
2013-14     Middlebury     11-11-3
2014-15     Middlebury     10-12-3
* national champion

Includied in Beaney's run of success was an unprecedented span from 1995 to 2006 in which Middlebury scored a remarkable eight national championships. The Panthers' five consecutive titles from 1995-99 remain a Division III record, and they were followed by a run of three straight championships from 2004-06.  The eight national titles remain the most won by any Division III program.

"He is one of the most successful hockey coaches in terms of wins and championships, but that only begins to illustrate his success," said Middlebury Director of Athletics Erin Quinn. "The true measure of his success is the impact he has had on the young men who have played for him at Middlebury."

A native of Lake Placid, New York and 1973 graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Beaney was a four-year letterwinner for the Wildcats and served as team captain during the 1972-73 season.

Following graduation Beaney coached at Bellows Free Academy in Vermont and guided the team to three straight championships. His induction to the college ranks came in 1977 when he accepted the head position at New England College. During his tenure at NEC, Beaney guided the Pilgrims to four straight ECAC tournaments and one NCAA tournament appearance and was named New England Coach of the Year following the 1981-82 and 1983-84 seasons.

Long considered one of the earliest advocates of the "small ice game" concept, Beaney accepted the head position at Middlebury in 1986 and success, driven by a unique and innovative style of play, soon followed. 1989-90 proved the Panthers' breakout season under Beaney as they rolled up a 21-5-1 mark.

Middlebury's first NCAA tournament appearance did not come until 1995, due to conference-wide restrictions on postseason play, but the Panthers wasted little time making the most of it as they downed Fredonia State 1-0 to claim their first national title and launch what became an unprecedented string of five straight national championships.

Though the championship streak ended in 2000, Middlebury continued to be a force at the national level and a regular participant in the NCAA tournament.  The Panthers found themselves at the top of the Division III world yet again in 2004 as they notched their sixth national title under Beaney, while numbers seven and eight followed in 2005 and 2006.  Middlebury's lone loss in the championship game came in 2007, and its 8-1 mark in title games and 34-7-2 record in the NCAA tournament under Beaney are likely numbers that will never be matched.

Collectively during his time at Middlebury, Beaney's squads claimed eight NESCAC championships and one ECAC championship.  A four-time Ed Jeremiah Award winner as Division III Men's Coach of the Year, Beaney garnered the honors in 1990, 1995, 2004, 2006, and added four more New England Coach of the Year awards in 1989, 1991, 1995 and 2006. His four Ed Jeremiah Awards are tied for the most all-time.

Additionally, under Beaney's tutelage four Middlebury players -- Ray Alcindor ('94), Ian Smith ('96), Mark Spence ('98) and Kevin Cooper ('04) claimed the Sid Watson Award, annually presented to the nation's best men's Division III player.

Concurrent with his collegiate coaching career, Beaney was extensively involved with USA Hockey. He served as head coach of the USA Junior Olympic team from 1985-97 and of the Women's Junior National Team in 1996 and 1997.

Beaney was recently named to Lake Placid's Olympic Regional Development Authority's Board of Directors and will continue to coach the men's golf team at Middlebury, a position he has held for the past 21 years. Under Beaney, the Panthers' golf team has won five NESCAC championships and made five NCAA tournament appearances.



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