June 25, 2003; UPDATED 5 p.m. EST
Vermont Turns to Sneddon

By Nate Ewell

With strong 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).

Related Stories

June 19: Back to the Future?
June 16: Finalists Interviewing at UVM
May 29: Who will be the Next Top Cat?
May 16: Gilligan Steps Down at UVM
May 9: Gilligan, UVM Look to Future
May 7: UVM Names Corran A.D.

"We are 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."

The 33-year-old 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.

Kevin Sneddon's Record at Union
Year Overall ECAC
1998-99 3-26-3 1-19-2, 12th
1999-00 8-24-1 6-14-1, 10th
2000-01 12-18-4 8-12-2, 9th
2001-02 13-13-6 8-11-3, 11th
2002-03 14-18-4 10-10-2, 6th
Total Five years, 50-99-18

"I am 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.

"Aside 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.

"I welcome 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."

Sneddon has 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.

When Sneddon was initially mentioned as a possible candidate for the Vermont job he denied interest, but changed his mind when Corran contacted him, he said.

"In all 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 into it.

“When 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."

Corran started 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.

Inside College 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.

He inherits 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 scandal.

The Catamounts 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 freshman campaign.

Union, meanwhile, will conduct a search for its fourth head coach since moving to Division I in 1991-92.

Send this to a friend

About Us | Advertiser Info | Site Map | Privacy Policy
© 2003 Inside College Hockey, Inc., All Rights Reserved