Longtime Middlebury men’s coach Beaney steps down, is ‘truly blessed’

Middlebury coach Bill Beaney coached 28 of his 35 years for the Panthers (photo: Dennis Curran).

Middlebury coach Bill Beaney, the NCAA career leader in Division III men’s hockey coaching wins, announced Wednesday that he is stepping down.

Beaney earned his 600th win on Feb. 7 and finishes his career with a record of 602-260-59. He spent 28 of his 35 seasons at Middlebury, where he posted record of 516-184-51. He led the team to a total of eight NCAA championships, including a record five in a row from 1995 to 1999, with three additional titles from 2004 to 2006.

He also coached at New England College.

“I have been truly blessed to have had the chance to coach at Middlebury College, a place that believes deeply in the concept of the student-athlete,” said Beaney at a press conference. “A coach is only one part of a successful program. It requires the commitment of the entire institution, from the president to the director of athletics, from the faculty to the entire coaching staff, and of course, to the quality and character of the players.”

Beaney will remain on staff as the head coach of the men’s golf program, which he has led for the last 21 years, while also taking on other duties within the department.

“Bill has had a tremendous and impactful career as a hockey coach,” said Middlebury director of athletics Erin Quinn at the press event. “He is one of the most successful hockey coaches in terms of wins and championships, but that only begins to illustrate his success. The true measure of his success is the impact he has had on the young men who have played for him at Middlebury.”

Middlebury president Ronald Liebowitz called Beaney a “Middlebury legend.”

“For a generation of Middlebury students, Bill’s name has become synonymous with Middlebury men’s hockey,” added Liebowitz. “Today we all honor him for his service to the college, the surrounding community and to amateur hockey, to which he has given so much.”

After taking over the hockey program in 1986, Beaney’s teams qualified for 13 consecutive NCAA tournaments from 1995 to 2007 (winning eight of those) and won eight NESCAC championships. His 1996 national champion squad set school records for most wins in a season (26), highest winning percentage (.929), and longest unbeaten streak (29 games). He has also led the team to six ECAC tournament appearances, with a championship in the 1990-91 season. The school record for wins was broken by the 2003-04 team with 27.

“It’s always dangerous to measure one’s success numerically,” said Beaney. “I would hope that most coaches look beyond wins and losses. Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to have a little bit of impact on some people in the important facets of life. That’s what drives you every day – to see the young people grow and learn how to make good decisions, to solve problems and deal with adversity. I think that’s how perhaps you measure your success.

“I am enthusiastically embracing the new challenges and opportunities and am looking forward to being able to continue to educate students here at Middlebury.”

Quinn said that the college would begin a search for a new coach soon.

1 COMMENT

  1. Congratulations to the John Wooden of college hockey. What an incredible career. He has had an amazing impact on the game and those fortunate enough to play for him–from the small game practice model (which is now seen in the USA Hockey ADM model) to the dynamic 2-3 system he employed and which many of his fellow college coaches then adopted. Imitation truly is the sincerest form of flattery. Most of all, he taught his players the values of hard work, dedication, and accountability. I had the privilege of playing for Coach Beaney many years ago and while he wasn’t always the easiest coach to play for, he was most certainly the best coach I ever had.

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