Umile to coach one more year at New Hampshire; Souza will take over in ’18-19

Jay Camper (UNH - 17), Jeff Silengo (UNH - 18), Dick Umile (UNH - Head Coach), John Henrion (UNH - 16) - The University of Maine Black Bears defeated the University of New Hampshire Wildcats 5-4 in overtime on Saturday, January 7, 2012, at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Melissa Wade)
Dick Umile played at New Hampshire from 1969-72 and will coach his 28th and final season at his alma mater during the 2017-18 season (photo: Melissa Wade).

New Hampshire announced Wednesday that UNH men’s hockey coach Dick Umile will retire following the 2017-18 season.

Associate head coach Mike Souza will become the head coach at that time.

“I’m excited to come back for the final season of my contract and still have a strong desire to win,” Umile added. “With a strong nucleus returning and exciting newcomers on the way, we are determined to get UNH hockey back to the level of annually competing in the NCAA tournament.”

“Coach Umile and I spoke about how this next season will be spent continuing the effort to re-build UNH hockey into a national caliber program that competes in the NCAA tournament and eventually the Frozen Four,” New Hampshire athletic director Marty Scarano said. “That has been, and always will be, our aspiration. We are fortunate to have Mike Souza here already changing the culture in recruiting, and he will hit the ground running at the conclusion of next year.

“We look forward to the challenge of reaching NCAAs next year and our focus is on having the program in great shape when Mike Souza takes over as head coach,” Umile said.

Umile, who just completed his 27th season as head coach in 2016-17, is ranked ninth all-time and fourth among active Division I head coaches in victories (586), and his .611 winning percentage ranks 11th among active D-I coaches. Under his tutelage, the Wildcats have reached the NCAA tournament 18 times and appeared in the NCAA Frozen Four on four occasions (1998, ’99, 2002, ’03), including national championship game appearances in 1999 and 2003.

In the Umile era, the Wildcats have captured eight Hockey East regular-season titles (1992, ’97, ’99, 2002, ’03, ’07, ’08, ’10), won two HEA championships (’02,’03) and have eclipsed 20 victories in 20 of his 27 years, highlighted by a school-record 31-win campaign in 1998-99. Umile’s Wildcats have been ranked No. 1 nationally in five different seasons (’99-00, ’01-02, ’02-03, ’06-07, ’12-13).

The 1994 UNH Hall of Fame inductee is a six-time Hockey East Coach of the Year (1991, ’97, ’99, 2002, ’07, ’10), four-time New England Coach of the Year (1991, ’99, 2002, ’08) and won the Spencer T. Penrose Memorial Trophy as the nation’s top Division I coach in 1999.

As a Wildcat player from 1969 to 1972, Umile scored 60 goals and tabulated 84 assists for 144 points in 87 games. He is ranked 12th all-time in school history in points per game (1.66).

Souza, a 2000 UNH graduate, has been an associate head coach at his alma mater for two seasons. He assists in all aspects of the program, with a focus on power plays and directing recruiting efforts. Previously, he spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Connecticut for head coach Mike Cavanaugh. Souza began his coaching career with a two-year stint (2011-13) at Brown as an assistant coach.

Souza graduated from UNH after a decorated four-year career with the Wildcats from 1996 to 2000. During that time, the squad reached two Frozen Fours, including the national championship game against Maine in 1999. In 1999-2000, Souza won the Jim Urquhart Award as Student-Athlete of the Year, which is the highest honor bestowed upon a graduating student-athlete at UNH.

The 67th overall selection in the 1997 NHL Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, Souza played professionally in the American Hockey League and East Coast Hockey League from 2000-05, and he played six additional seasons (2005-11) in Europe.