Harvard University athletic director Bill Cleary named Miami head coach Mark Mazzoleni as the new head man of the Crimson on Sunday. Mazzoleni will be formally introduced in a press conference on Wednesday.
Mazzoleni will take over a Harvard program that has not had a winning season since 1993-94 — the year of Harvard’s last ECAC Championship. Over the course of the last five years, the Crimson have a record of 66-85-10, have appeared in two ECAC semifinals and one ECAC final.
Mazzoleni will replace Ronn Tomassoni, who resigned on May 14 after nine years at the helm of the Crimson compiling a 140-115-26 record.
“Mark’s background at outstanding schools, his long track record of success, and his enthusiasm for the sport and the way it’s meant to be played were key factors in his selection,” said Cleary, who chaired the selection committee and himself coached the Crimson hockey program between 1971 and 1990.
“I was very honored first to be considered and then to be offered the hockey coaching position at Harvard,” said Mazzoleni. “I have great respect for the program’s rich history, and was drawn to the school because it is so consistent with my beliefs philosophically. It needed to be a perfect fit for me to leave Miami.
“The job ahead is both a tremendous challenge and a great opportunity. The commitment to building and maintaining a successful program here is evident, and I am confident in my abilities to lead Harvard hockey to this success.”
Mazzoleni has compiled a 85-83-20 record at Miami, a school-best winning percentage-wise, over the course of five seasons. Last year the Red Hawks were 11-20-5 and missed the CCHA playoffs by one point in the standings. In 1996-97, Mazzoleni was named the CCHA Coach of the Year after guiding the Red Hawks to a 27-12-1 record, matching a school record for wins, and a second NCAA tournament appearance after a second place CCHA finish.
“We would like to thank Mark for all of his hard work here at Miami,” said Joel Maturi, Miami director of athletics. “It is very evident from his record and all the accolades he has received why he is such a highly sought after head coach. In his time at Miami, he has enhanced his outstanding reputation as head coach not only in the CCHA but nationally. We wish him the best as he takes over the head coaching position at Harvard.”
“Miami has lost another valued member of its prestigious ‘Cradle of Coaches’,” said Steve Cady, associate director of athletics for ice hockey and former Miami head ice hockey coach. “Mark has done a terrific job building on the tradition of hockey we have here at Miami. We would like to thank him for all the hard work and dedication he has given to the program and Miami. He has helped Miami move into the national spotlight with his efforts the last five years.”
Before guiding Miami, Mazzoleni was an assistant at Minnesota for four seasons. Prior to that he was the head coach at Wisconsin-Stevens Point for six seasons. While at Stevens Point, he coached three consecutive Division III NCAA Champions, the first time that a team had done that at the Division III level.
Mazzoleni was one of three finalists reported to be on the final list that Cleary had. The other two were Yale’s Tim Taylor and St. Lawrence’s Joe Marsh. Taylor withdrew his name on July 15 and Marsh withdrew on July 10.
Mazzoleni becomes just the tenth head coach in Harvard hockey history and fourth since 1950. The Crimson recovered from a 2-8-1 start last season to finish 14-16-2. The Crimson also started the ECAC season with an 0-8-1 record to finish 8-12-2 in the league and finishing eighth.
Meanwhile, Miami will begin its search for a head coach immediately.
Report Compiled by Becky Blaeser, Jayson Moy and Paula C. Weston