Manhattanville has named assistant coach Nicole Kirnan to take over its Division III women’s program.
Kirnan replaces Rick Seeley, who left to start Clarkson’s new Division I women’s program.
“I am very enthusiastic to have Nicole coach our women’s ice hockey team,” said school president Richard Berman. “Her experience as both a player and coach are invaluable, as is her commitment to academics. Nicole’s love of the sport and intense respect for the students will ensure a successful season and career.”
Kirnan takes charge of a program that advanced to the first ever NCAA Division III championship game last season before falling to Elmira, 2-1. It was only the school’s third season of varsity hockey.
Kirnan is a 2001 graduate of St. Lawrence and played for the Saints’ team that finished as runner-up in the inaugural NCAA Division I Women’s Championship during her senior year. After graduation, she came to Manhattanville to serve under Seeley.
Last season, Kirnan helped the Valiants go an impressive 23-2-2, finishing first in the ECAC Division III East with a record of 16-0-2. The team also captured the postseason tournament title with wins over Rensselaer and RIT before going on to finish second in the NCAA tournament.
With Kirnan ascending from assistant to head coach, the school also announced the hiring of Catherine Elkins as assistant coach. Elkins, a native of Bernardsville, N.J., comes to Manhattanville after a storied playing career at Middlebury, where she graduated in 2002.
Elkins’ accolades include being a four-time First Team All-American, a three-time All-ECAC selection, an All-NESCAC selection her senior year, a two-time ECAC All-Tournament team member, and a finalist for the Division III Player of the Year Award in 2002. She helped Middlebury capture the AWCHA National Championship twice during her career in 2000 and 2001.