Niagara’s Blaise MacDonald visited UMass-Lowell on Monday to interview for the head coaching position opened by the departure last month of Tim Whitehead.
Speaking to reporters Monday evening at Buffalo Niagara International Airport upon his return, MacDonald said his interest in the Lowell job is heightened by Niagara’s status as a member of College Hockey America.
“Getting into a major conference … we [Niagara] just need a break and I don’t know if that’s going to come, and that’s a concern of mine,” said MacDonald. “But other than that, I think Niagara’s done a terrific job at showing a lot of class, integrity, and vision.”
Last fall Niagara, along with Canisius, explored the possibility of moving to the ECAC.
MacDonald said the high profile of the program, highlighted by last year’s upset of New Hampshire in the NCAAs, has led to other opportunities for him, “not so much as for my coaching ability as because I’m part of a first-class organization.”
MacDonald is scheduled to meet with Niagara officials today.
Prior to his five seasons as head coach at Niagara, MacDonald was an assistant at Lowell, Princeton, Dartmouth, and Boston University.
MacDonald was a finalist for the Lowell position in 1996 before Whitehead was named to replace Bruce Crowder. Niagara refused to allow MacDonald, who had just been hired to start the Purple Eagles’ program, out of his contract.
Lowell would be a homecoming for MacDonald, who grew up in nearby Billerica, Mass.