PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Don Cahoon, who revitalized the Princeton hockey program during a nine-year stint, was named head coach of the University of Massachusetts Wednesday at a press conference in Providence, site of this year’s Frozen Four.
“I think I can speak for my family and all my good friends in Massachusetts and say it’s an honor and a privilege to coach and lead the UMass hockey program into a new chapter,” said Cahoon. “I’m looking forward to getting the program headed in the right direction.”
“We’re pleased to have a person of Coach Cahoon’s stature in the hockey world as a part of our program,” said UMass athletic director Bob Marcum. “He has a proven record of success everywhere he has coached. We had several outstanding candidates for the position, so it’s evident that the head coaching job at UMass is a very desirable one. We feel confident Don is the person who can instill the winning tradition of UMass athletics to the hockey program.”
Cahoon, a 1972 graduate of Boston University, won 102 games at Princeton since taking over in 1991-92, guiding the Tigers to their only four winning seasons since 1967. Included were three 18-win campaigns, a 20-win season, and, in 1998, Princeton’s only ECAC Championship and trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Princeton had never been to the final four of the ECAC tournament until Cahoon came along. He then led the Tigers to four trips there in five years, never losing a quarterfinal series until this season’s two-game sweep at Clarkson.
A 1972 graduate of Boston University, Cahoon was instrumental in winning three national championships with the Terriers. He played left wing on BU’s 1971 and 1972 championship teams and served as an assistant coach when the club captured the title again in 1978. Cahoon returned to his alma mater as an assistant on three occasions — 1974-79, 1987-88 and 1990-91.
As a player, Cahoon represented the United States at the 1972 World Championships in Bucharest, Romania, helping the national team to the silver medal. He also signed a contract to play professional hockey with the New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association after graduation.
Cahoon also held the position of head coach at Norwich University (1979-82) and Lehigh University (1973-74). At Norwich he posted a 48-39-1 record and qualified for the ECAC Division II playoffs all three years. In 1974 he led the Lehigh Engineers to the Mid-Atlantic Conference title with a 10-5-2 mark.
Following his stint at Norwich, Cahoon joined the Austrian Ice Hockey Federation as the director of hockey operations and head coach of the Vienna Ice Club, guiding the team to a 23-13-2 record in 1982. He returned to the United States the following year as an assistant at the University of Lowell, remaining there until 1986.
New Hampshire coach Dick Umile and Niagara coach Blaise MacDonald, who were also considered for the UMass post, took themselves out of the running after further consideration.
“It has been a privilege for me to be part of building the Niagara University hockey program,” said MacDonald in announcing his withdrawal from the field of candidates early on Wednesday. “I am looking forward to the future at Niagara and especially next season.”
Umile, meanwhile, pulled out of the field last week, citing a desire to finish out his career at New Hampshire.
“I am very excited that UNH has made the commitment to me personally and to the hockey program,” Umile said. “I have every intention of completing my coaching career here at UNH.”
The UMass job was opened when the school opted not to renew the contract of head coach Joe Mallen after his seven-year stint with the Minutemen.