Providence head coach Paul Pooley officially resigned Friday and will head to Notre Dame next season to serve as an assistant to recently-hired head coach Jeff Jackson, ending days of speculation about the future of the Friars’ coach.
Pooley, having just completed his 11th season behind the Providence bench, will reunite with Jackson, after the two coached for three seasons together at Lake Superior State in the early ’90s. With Jackson as head coach and Pooley an assistant, the Lakers won two national championships (1992, 1994).
“We appreciate all of the hard work and dedication Paul Pooley has given to Providence College during the past 11 years,” said Providence athletic director Bob Driscoll. “Paul has been an integral part of the Friar family and will be missed.”
“It has been a pleasure to have coached so many wonderful people over the last 11 years,” Pooley said in a press release. “The mission of Providence College is rooted in the development of the individual as a whole and I have tried to remain true to this mission in my coaching.
“As this chapter closes for our family a new and exciting chapter opens with the opportunity at the University of Notre Dame. I will always have a place in my heart for Friar Hockey. I want to thank the coaches, student-athletes and support staff with whom I had the privilege to be associated with at PC. Providence has been a part of our lives for over a decade and we will cherish the memories and the people forever.”
Under Pooley, the Friars compiled a 108-123-30 record in Hockey East, and a 185-187-40 mark overall. He led the Friars to the 1996 Hockey East title and NCAA tournament appearances in 1996 and 2001.
However, the timing of his departure seems good for Pooley. Last season, the Friars finished seventh in Hockey East, matching the worst finish in his 11-year tenure and leading to questions over Pooley’s job security among fans and local media.
Still, the Providence program is left with a major hole just three months before students return to class. According to the school, a national search for Pooley’s replacement will begin immediately.
Providence is the third Hockey East school to change head coaches this offseason. Northeastern did not renew the contract of nine-year veteran Bruce Crowder, replacing him with former Maine assistant Greg Cronin, and Merrimack head coach Chris Serino resigned to take a high school coaching position after leading the Warriors to an all-time worst Hockey East record of 1-22-1. That position remains vacant.