UPDATED 5 p.m. EST
Turns to Sneddon
community support and a new administration that has placed an
emphasis on the hockey program, it’s not surprising that
Vermont received a lot of interest in its head coaching position
after Mike Gilligan retired in May.
But when the
Catamounts introduced Kevin Sneddon as the school’s fourth
head coach on Wednesday, it came as a surprise to some. Sneddon
beat out a crowded field that included coaches with close ties
to the school (former assistant Roger Grillo), the state (Norwich
coach Mike McShane and, possibly, Middlebury coach Bill Beaney),
and new UVM A.D. Bob Corran (Tim Bothwell, who used to work for
Corran at the University of Calgary).
thrilled to have Kevin Sneddon join our coaching staff,"
Corran said. "He is an exceptional young man who has already
accomplished a great deal in his career. We are confident he will
provide vision, leadership and a strong sense of values to our
men's hockey program."
Sneddon moves to Burlington after five years as the head coach
at Union, where he posted a 50-99-18 record. He also spent five
years at Union as an assistant coach, making this the first stop
in his coaching career outside of Schenectady.
Record at Union
extremely honored to accept this position and I welcome the opportunity
of leading this program into a new era," Sneddon said. "Mike
Gilligan has done a tremendous job of building and sustaining
a strong foundation, and I hope to build upon the strong tradition
of UVM Hockey.
from a fantastic community, a wonderful campus, and the strong
academic reputation of UVM, the thing that impressed me most during
the interview process was the quality of people at the University,"
Sneddon continued. "Everyone with whom I met shared a passion
for the institution and offered an exciting vision of the future.
this opportunity and fully embrace the challenges that lie ahead.
The leadership of President Dan Fogel, director of athletics Bob
Corran and his staff will guide us in our quest to take this program
to new levels of success. It is going to take a full commitment
from each of our student-athletes as well as an incredible work
ethic from our coaching staff in order to establish, enhance,
and maintain a strong culture of athletic and academic excellence
at the University of Vermont."
applied for the head coaching jobs at Harvard, Princeton and Northern
Michigan in recent years, but this is the first time he has received
an offer for another head coaching position.
was initially mentioned as a possible candidate for the Vermont
job he denied interest, but changed his mind when Corran contacted
him, he said.
honesty, there wasn't anything sneaky about this at all,"
Sneddon told Schott last week. "I know it seems that way,
but when I first talked about it, I [said] it was an unbelievable
coaching position. Obviously, the new athletic director and the
vision of where they want to go is very impressive. I just felt
like there was going to be a ton of interest from head coaches
and other qualified assistant coaches. I hadn't put too much thought
I was contacted by them and asked to meet with them," he
added, "anytime that happens, you have to consider it. It's
too good of an opportunity not to at least explore."
in his position as Vermont's athletic director just last week,
but was conducting phone interviews with candidates before that.
A former hockey coach himself, he has made some astute coaching
hires in his previous job as A.D. at Minnesota-Duluth. His women's
hockey coach, Shannon Miller, has led the Bulldogs to three straight
NCAA titles, while men's coach Scott Sandelin has the program
on the rise.
Hockey named Sneddon the coach of the year in the ECAC this season,
after he led the Skating Dutchmen to a 14-18-4 record and a sixth-place
finish in the league (10-10-2). A 1992 Harvard graduate, Sneddon
took over for former coach Stan Moore at Union in 1998.
a program at Vermont which hasn’t posted a winning record
since 1996-97, but boasts enthusiastic crowds at Gutterson Fieldhouse
and an administration discussing the possibility of building a
new arena. Gilligan had led Vermont to its greatest heights in
the mid-1990s, including a trip to the 1996 Frozen Four. Low points
in recent years included a 3-26-2 mark in 2001-02 and the 1999-2000
season that was canceled midway through the year due to a hazing
finished 13-20-3 last season (8-14-0 and 10th place in the ECAC)
and lose just five seniors to graduation. The top two scorers,
including 19-goal scorer Jeff Miles, will return for Sneddon,
as will defenseman Jamie Sifers, who is coming off an impressive
will conduct a search for its fourth head coach since moving to
Division I in 1991-92.