Tim Whitehead took over a team devastated by the death of its popular coach, Shawn Walsh, in September. He watched the Maine Black Bears start out 3-4-2. But in the end, his team fell just an overtime goal short of the NCAA title.
Because of his team’s efforts, Whitehead was voted the winner of the 2002 Spencer Penrose Award as Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Coach of the Year.
Whitehead, whose title all year was “Interim Head Coach,” had that changed two days after the 4-3 overtime loss to Minnesota when Maine named him the school’s permanent head coach.
Whitehead returned to Orono this fall after 10 years at UMass-Lowell. He served as an assistant to Walsh at Maine during the 1990-91 season. Whitehead then spent five years at Lowell as an assistant to Bruce Crowder, and five more as head coach. His record as a head coach was 76-95-12 before this year’s 26-11-7 mark.
Whitehead is a 1985 graduate of Hamilton College.
The award is named in memory of the Colorado Springs benefactor who built the Broadmoor Hotel Complex, home of the first 10 NCAA ice hockey championships.
The runner-up in this year’s balloting was George Gwozdecky, head coach of Denver.
College hockey’s Coach of the Year recipients are chosen by members of the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA). Winners will receive their awards at the annual AHCA Coach of the Year Banquet, held in conjunction with the AHCA Convention in Naples, Fla. This year’s banquet is scheduled for Saturday evening, April 27.