It took, perhaps, a month longer than expected, but Vermont’s Mike Gilligan finally became the 17th coach to reach 400 career wins on Friday, when the Catamounts defeated Brown, 2-0, at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
The same could be said for Bemidji State coach Bob Peters, whose team won for just the second time this season. The 6-2 win over Niagara gives Peters, the team’s coach of 34 years, 700 wins at the school.
Gilligan earned win No. 398 on Dec. 30, against Dartmouth, only to see his team go 1-7-2 over the next 10 games. The win moved Vermont back to .500 on the season, both overall (11-11-2) and in the ECAC (7-7-2). For his career, Gilligan is 260-234-41 (.524) at Vermont, and 400-295-44 (.571) overall.
Gilligan, in his 17th year at Vermont, currently stands as the winningest active ECAC coach. Only three coaches in league history have recorded more wins — Len Ceglarski, Jerry York and Jack Riley.
Gilligan began his coaching career at his alma mater, Salem State, in 1975 where he compiled a .727 winning percentage (128-48-2, 6 years), the second-best Division II winning percentage in ECAC history. Gilligan left Salem State to serve as assistant coach to Tim Taylor at Yale for two seasons, plus one season (1983-84) as interim head coach, when he compiled a 12-13-1 record. Gilligan became Vermont’s third coach in the spring of 1984.
Vermont has reached the NCAA tournament three times under Gilligan, in 1988, 1996 and 1997. The 1996 appearance included a trip to the Frozen Four.
Peters’ BSU teams have been powers at the Division II and III levels, and now play in the Division I conference, College Hockey America. The Beavers have suffered through a tumultuous season, and are only 2-23-2.
Peters, 63, coached two seasons at North Dakota, his alma mater, before moving to Bemidji State in 1966, where he went on to win 13 National Championships at various levels. In NCAA history, only Michigan State’s Ron Mason has more than Peters’ 742 overall wins.
Peters also holds college hockey records for most wins in an undefeated season (31-0, 1984), and the longest unbeaten streak — 43 straight games (Nov. 8, 1983 to Jan. 1, 1985).