After 27 seasons, Vermont’s Sneddon to retire from college hockey coaching at end of ’19-20 season

12 Oct. 13: The University of North Dakota host the University of Vermont Catamounts in a nonconference match-up at the Ralph Engelsted Arena in Grand Forks, ND (Coaching Staff-Vermont) (BRADLEY K. OLSON)
Kevin Sneddon (center) has been behind the Vermont bench since the 2003-04 season (photo: Bradley K. Olson).

Vermont announced Wednesday that head coach Kevin Sneddon will retire after the current 2019-20 season.

Sneddon, 49, has coached 17 seasons with the Catamounts and 27 seasons overall, which includes five seasons as head coach at Union.

“The decision to retire from college hockey coaching and announce this now has been a difficult one, but I truly believe it is in the best interest of the program,” said Sneddon in a statement. “It allows (athletic director) Jeff (Schulman) to begin the search process for the next coach immediately and removes the speculation about my status here at UVM. I will continue to love, care, and teach our student-athletes daily and compete with everything I have for the remainder of this season. My players, staff, and support staff mean the world to me, and I will continue to work tirelessly for them to help this team improve down the stretch. I will have plenty of thanks to dole out at a later date, but for now, I prefer to focus on the team and our season.”

“I’m very appreciative of everything that Kevin has contributed during his 17 years leading our men’s hockey program,” added Schulman. “In addition to three NCAA appearances and a Frozen Four, Kevin has always led with a high level of integrity and a commitment to the academic and personal well-being of our student-athletes. Kevin’s participation and emphasis on community engagement and volunteering will also be an enduring part of his legacy at UVM. On behalf of my colleagues in the athletic department, I wish Kevin all the best as he moves on from UVM.”

Sneddon, who played at Harvard, is one of only three coaches to lead the Vermont program since 1965 and has compiled a 249-296-82 mark at UVM. His overall coaching record is 299-395-100, which includes time spent at Union from 1998 to 2003.

He led the Catamounts to three NCAA tournament berths, including the program’s second-ever NCAA Frozen Four berth in 2009. Sneddon’s squads also made three trips to TD Garden in Boston for the Hockey East championship, including most recently a semifinal appearance in 2015. Catamount teams under Sneddon have also performed extremely well in the classroom posting an average GPA over a 3.1 and graduation rates well over 90 percent.

Sneddon led the Catamounts to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances in 2008-09 and 2009-10.

The Catamounts attained their highest-ever final ranking in 2008-09, finishing third in the College Sports Poll with a 22-12-5 record. Sneddon was named a finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award, given annually to the top Division I coach in the country.

In 2007-08, Sneddon was named the Bob Kullen Hockey East Coach of the Year and was a finalist for national coach of the year after leading the Catamounts to their first-ever trip to the Hockey East championship game in Boston.

Twelve of Sneddon’s former players have signed NHL contracts during his tenure. Seven of those players (Connor Brickley, Brayden Irwin, Kevan Miller, Torrey Mitchell, Mike Paliotta, Jaime Sifers and Viktor Stalberg) have played in the NHL.

A national search for the next head coach will begin immediately.

“I’m confident that we will attract an exceptional pool of candidates to lead our program into the future,” said Schulman. “With a major renovation under way to what is already one of college hockey’s most iconic venues, a rich hockey tradition, and a commitment to being a championship program in the classroom, in the community and on the ice, I’m very excited about the future for UVM hockey.”