Former Vermont coach Mike Gilligan has been selected as the recipient of the 2005 John MacInnes Award by the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA).
Established by the AHCA in 1982 to honor former Michigan Tech coach John MacInnes, the award “recognizes those people who have shown a great concern for amateur hockey and youth programs. The recipients have had high winning percentages, as well as outstanding graduating percentages among their former players. The winners of this award have helped young men grow not only as hockey players, but more importantly, as men.”
Gilligan will receive the award at the annual AHCA Awards Banquet in Naples, Florida on Saturday, April 23. A list of previous winners of the award includes includes Gilligan’s predecessor at Vermont, Jim Cross, who won it in 2001, as well as Herb Brooks, Amo Bessone, Ned Harkness, Charlie Holt, Bob Johnson, Bill Cleary, Len Ceglarski, Gino Gasparini, Bill Riley and Ron Mason.
A native of Beverly, Mass., Gilligan played and then coached at Salem State. He was head coach at Vermont for 19 years before retiring in May 2003, but remains at the university as Assistant to the Director of Athletics for Special Projects.
Gilligan completed his UVM career with a record of 279-289-46, while his career record is 419-348-49. A collegiate head coach for 26 years, Gilligan was sixth among active coaches in career wins at the end of the 2002-03 season and 17th all-time in career wins. Gilligan also served as head coach of the golf team at Vermont for 11 years.
“Mike Gilligan, through his service and leadership, has had an immeasurable positive impact on the lives of hundreds of young men and women,” Bob Corran, Vermont director of athletics, said. “He has been a coach to many, a friend to more, and a role model for all of us. There is no better representative of the great game of hockey than Mike Gilligan and no one more deserving of this prestigious award.”
Gilligan led his team into the ECAC playoffs in 16 of his 19 seasons and brought the Catamounts to the league’s Final Four three times (1988, 1989, 1996). Gilligan’s 1987-88 team became UVM’s first hockey squad to compete in an NCAA tournament. That season, UVM advanced to the ECAC Championships at Boston Garden, losing to eventual ECAC champion and NCAA runner-up, St. Lawrence, in the semifinals. For his team’s effort, Gilligan was named co-Coach of the Year in the ECAC.
During the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons, he led Vermont to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances and back-to-back 20-win seasons. In 1995-96, the Cats posted a 27-7-4 record in addition to claiming their first-ever ECAC regular season championship and making their first-ever NCAA Frozen Four appearance. In 1996-97, Vermont posted a 22-11-3 overall mark and attained a No. 1 national ranking for the first time in the program’s history.
A former standout defenseman at Salem State, Gilligan captained the Vikings for two years (1968-70), the same two seasons he earned All-America honors, the school’s first hockey player to do so. He was inducted into Salem State’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1986. Gilligan also played one season with the Springfield (Mass.) Blades of the Eastern League, and in 1972 was a member of the U.S. Team at the World University Games in Lake Placid.