steps down at Vermont
Gilligan closes his Vermont head coaching career one win shy
of the school's leader in victories, Jim Cross. (Photo
courtesy of Vermont Sports Information)
announced his retirement from the head coaching position at Vermont
Friday, ending a 19-year run at the school in which he led the
Catamounts to their greatest heights.
since those back-to-back 20-win seasons in the mid-1990s have
been less kind to the Catamounts. They have finished under .500
for six straight seasons, and the 1999-2000 campaign was canceled
midway through due to a team hazing scandal. The Catamounts were
13-20-3 this past season (8-14-0 and 10th in the ECAC).
recent tumultuous seasons, he leaves as the 17th-winningest coach
in college hockey history (419 wins) and a highly respected figure
in the sport.
Gilligan has all the qualities you would want in a collegiate
head coach," outgoing Vermont A.D. Rick Farnham said in a
statement. "He is loyal, thoughtful and extremely dedicated
to his student-athletes. His values are beyond reproach."
who will remain as Vermont's men's golf coach and become an assistant
to new athletic director Bob Corran, spoke
just last week to Inside College Hockey about the need for
the school to upgrade its support for the hockey program. He said
that fundraising would play a key role in that, and expressed
an interest in helping that effort.
a goal to raise $2 million in a hockey endowment," Gilligan
said. "With some of the NHL players that have played for
me and other support, I think we can do that."
conduct a national search for its next head coach, and Corran
– who officially assumes his role as A.D. on June 16 –
indicated that the process will begin immediately.
to get the process going as quickly as we can," he said.
"We're going to meet over the phone on Monday to get the
process laid out.
is an opportunity that doesn't come along very often, so we want
to cast the net as wide as we can. I
received a lot of calls from prospective candidates already today.
I'm impressed with the quality of the people that have been in
contact with me. This is obviously viewed as a quality job."
55, began his coaching career at Salem State, his alma mater,
and was the interim head coach at Yale when Tim Taylor was an
assistant coach with the 1984 U.S. Olympic team. He concludes
his 26-year head coaching career with a record of 419-348-49 (279-289-46
been an honor to lead this program for the past 19 years, and
I am now looking forward to serving the university and the athletic
department in a new capacity,” Gilligan said. “I am
very proud of what we accomplished here and the quality of the
young men who have come through this program. My relationships
with the players and with the great Catamount fans have made these
19 years the best of my life.
is something I have been seriously considering since the end of
the season,” he said. “I always wanted to make sure
that I left the program in good shape. I think the program made
tremendous strides in 2002-03, and I am confident that the future
is bright for UVM hockey. I am now looking forward to working
with Bob Corran, our incoming director of athletics, and supporting
him as he works to elevate the overall quality of our athletic
met with Gilligan in person last week and was prepared for the
possibility, looks forward to working closely with Gilligan moving
wanted some comfort with the future direction of the program before
making a decision," he said. "He didn't want to leave
until he felt the timing was right."
are some major pieces of the process that I'll need Mike's help
with and I'm going to be leaning on him a lot. He's a tremendous
bridge for us to have as part of the transition process."
reporting by Jess Myers