Brian McCloskey, who has served as men’s assistant coach at New Hampshire for 10 of the past 11 seasons, has been named head coach of the women’s program, UNH director of athletics Martin Scarano announced Tuesday.
“We are very excited that Brian McCloskey will become UNH’s third head coach of women’s hockey,” Scarano said. “Brian’s coaching experience, recruiting process and motivational skills will serve the women’s program well and help UNH hockey to return to national prominence.”
McCloskey becomes the second prominent assistant to take over a school’s top women’s job in the past week; Wisconsin’s Mark Johnson took over the Badgers’ women’s program.
“I am very excited by the opportunity to lead this storied hockey program and I am looking forward to working with these outstanding student-athletes,” McCloskey said. “This is a unique period in women’s ice hockey and I am thrilled to be able to play a part in the continued growth of this sport at UNH.”
McCloskey becomes the third head coach in the 25-year history of the UNH women’s hockey program. Russ McCurdy compiled a 264-36-10 record from 1978-1992 and Karen Kay had a 215-90-25 record from 1993-2002.
Julie Sasner, currently serving as assistant coach of the U.S. national women’s hockey team, and Stacy Wilson, assistant coach at University of Minnesota-Duluth, were other finalists in consideration for the UNH women’s hockey head coach position.
“We were very fortunate to have had such a talented pool of candidates,” Scarano said. “Any of the three finalists could have done the job and that is a tribute to the tradition of women’s hockey at UNH.”
McCloskey, a 1977 Dartmouth graduate, has been the Wildcats’ recruiting coordinator, attracting UNH’s first Hobey Baker Award winner — Jason Krog — four Hobey Baker Award finalists, five All-America First Team selections, three Hockey East Rookie of the Year recipients and three of the top five all-time leading scorers in the program’s history.
In that span, UNH has made seven NCAA tournament appearances, and three Frozen Fours.
“Clearly Brian’s 10-year tenure at UNH has proven to all that his love of UNH and dedication to our philosophy is unparalleled,” Scarano said.
After fellow Dartmouth graduate Bob Gaudet was hired at their alma mater in 1997, McCloskey left UNH for one season to become an assistant there, but returned a year later.
McCloskey began his collegiate coaching career at Princeton, where he was an assistant from 1979-81. From there he went to Brown (1989-92) and helped rebuild the program from last place to an ECAC finalist within three years.
A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, McCloskey also spent seven years leading high school programs at North Yarmouth (Maine) Academy and Portland (Maine) High School. His 1988-89 North Yarmouth squad posted a 20-1-0 record en route to a Class A state title. Hockey Night in Boston named him Maine State Coach of the Year that same season.
McCloskey tallied 92 points in a three-year varsity career at Dartmouth after serving as captain for the freshman squad in 1973. He was a local standout in Vancouver, where he skated on four consecutive BC provincial championship teams and won Rookie of the Year honors in the British Columbia Junior Hockey League in 1972.
McCloskey served as director and head coach of Elite Hockey Schools, where he worked both women’s and men’s camps from its inception in 1988 through 1998. He also was director and head coach of the Alaska Women’s Camp in Anchorage from 1995-97.
New Hampshire is the winningest women’s hockey program with a record of 479-126-35 in 25 years.