July 28, 2003; UPDATED July 29, 2003
Union Hires Harvard's Leaman

By Nate Ewell

Union’s win total grew steadily through five years under Kevin Sneddon, a young, heralded coach with a Harvard background.

The Skating Dutchmen hope a similar formula produces more positive results, as they turn to 30-year-old Harvard assistant coach Nate Leaman to replace Sneddon, who left to become the head coach at Vermont. Union athletic director Val Belmonte introduced Leaman as the school's next coach on Tuesday.

Leaman joins Union after four years as an assistant at Harvard to head coach Mark Mazzoleni.

Nate Leaman's Resume

Coaching Experience
1999-2003: Assistant coach, Harvard
1998-99: Volunteer assistant coach, Maine
1997-98: Associate coach, OId Town (N.Y.) H.S.
Summers: USA Hockey Select teams

Bachelor's: Cortland State, 1997
Master's: Maine, 1999

Centerville, Ohio

“I don't think a lot of people realize how good he is," Mazzoleni told Ken Schott of the Schenectady Daily Gazette. "He's the real deal. Of all the people I've worked with, I think he has the most impeccable work ethic and very, very thorough. He may only be 30, 31 years old, but he's way beyond his years.

"I think Val has hit a major home run with him."

Leaman played college hockey at Cortland State (Sneddon had played at Harvard before beginning his coaching career as a Union assistant). After a year as an associate coach at New York’s Old Town High School, Leaman was a volunteer assistant coach on Maine’s 1999 national championship team. He joined the Harvard staff when Mazzoleni came on board in 1999-2000.

For the past year at Harvard, since Ron Rolston left to become an assistant at Boston College, Leaman has been Mazzoleni’s top assistant. In that role, Leaman led the Crimson’s recruiting efforts, worked with the team’s forwards and led its special teams units. During his time in Cambridge the Crimson made two NCAA Tournament appearances, won the 2002 ECAC Tournament and finished second in the conference in 2002-03.

"Nate has experienced success with every program he’s been a part of, making this an exciting transition with the continued growth of Union hockey," Belmonte said. "He has distinguished himself amongst his peers with his impeccable integrity, work ethic, leadership skills and thorough knowledge of the game. Nate is one of the up-and-coming coaches of his generation and we are thrilled to have him on staff.”

"I believe the biggest challenge is the same challenge that I had when I went to Harvard, a program that is not used to winning on a consistent basis, to try to get them to play consistent and to teach people to win," said Leaman. "I think itís a challenge. Itís a lot of work, but itís a challenge Iím looking forward to."

Leaman inherits a Union team that was 14-18-4 in 2002-03, finishing sixth in the ECAC and hosting a first-round playoff series (which it lost to Rensselaer). The team’s leading scorers, Jordan Webb and Joel Beal, will be juniors in 2003-04, and its top two goaltenders will be sophomores. Leaman is the program's fourth head coach since it moved up to Division I in the 1991-92 season.

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