Crimson Call On Donato
takes Harvard head coaching job
By Nate Ewell
While his Harvard classmates pursued careers in business, law or medicine, Ted Donato followed the less common path to play in the NHL.
Now, with his
NHL career winding down and the possibility of a lockout looming,
that path has led Donato back to school. The Crimson introduced
Donato, a former team captain and member of the school’s 1989 national
championship team, as their new head coach Friday morning in Cambridge.
a great day for me," Donato said. "I'm thrilled to be
back at Harvard. Obviously this is a special place for me. I embrace
the history and tradition of Harvard Hockey and the quality of people
who are involved with the program.
that this is the greatest combination of superior academics and
competitive athletics in all of college sports, and that is a tradition
that I hope to carry on," he added. "I look forward to
working with a number of outstanding people, and I'm very excited
about the future of this program."
Bob Scalise felt like Donato was a perfect fit.
Ted Donato, we're confident that we've added an enthusiastic head
coach who is prepared to build upon our success of the recent past,"
said Scalise. "He knows firsthand what it takes to be a successful
Harvard student and hockey player, and I fully expect that with
his leadership we will have great success with our program in the
carefully at what we thought the principles of the next Harvard
hockey coach should embody," said Scalise. "We decided
that we wanted someone who would first give us credibility in the
hockey community; secondly, someone who would embrace Harvard's
philosophies in academics and athletics; and lastly, someone who
can serve as a role model to our current student-athletes and to
the young people of New England."
Donato and former
Boston College assistant coach Ron Rolston were the leading candidates
for the head coaching position, which became available June 16 when
Mark Mazzoleni stepped down to become the head coach of the USHL’s
Green Bay Gamblers. On Thursday Rolston accepted a head coaching
position with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program.
Rolston’s brother, Brian, was a teammate of Donato’s last year on
Donato is the latest in a line of former NHL players to return
to their alma maters as the head coach, listed here with their
record at school and their NHL statistics:
games, 658 points (MTL, NYR, DET, STL)
Culhane, Western Mich.
games, 1 point (HFD)
games, 347 points (BOS, NYI, OTT, ANA, DAL, LA, STL, NYR)
games, 226 points (MIN, CGY)
games, 66 points (MIN, CALIF)
games, 4 points (DET)
Nahrgang, Mich. Tech
games, 17 points (DET)
Poulin, Notre Dame
games, 530 points (PHI, BOS, WSH)
Watters, Mich. Tech
games, 177 points (WPG, LA)
games, 0 points (BOS)
Donato is the latest in a series of former NHL players to return to their alma maters as the head coach (see chart). Red Berenson has enjoyed tremendous success in leading Michigan, while Tim Watters never got Michigan Tech’s program back on track. Others, like Dave Poulin, who shared his experiences with Inside College Hockey last week, have had mixed results.
career spanned 13 seasons, mostly with the Bruins, but he skated
for eight NHL teams overall. He enjoyed three 20-goal campaigns.
He was an effective defensive forward for Boston this past season,
despite spending part of the year in the AHL, and likely would have
been in the mix for a roster spot in 2004-05, should the season
Donato was paid
at a rate of $450,000 for his time in the NHL last season, and will
likely see his pay cut by more than three-quarters with the move
to his alma mater.
coach Mike Sullivan, a Boston University alumnus, was in attendance
at Donato's introductory press conference in support of his former
In four years as a player at Harvard, Donato posted 50 goals and 144 points in 66 games. The team won the national title his sophomore season and Donato was named the Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA Tournament. As a senior he was the captain and a first-team All-ECAC selection.
He takes over a team that has reached the NCAA Tournament in each of the last three seasons, twice on the strength of the ECAC Tournament title. Last year’s team was the preseason favorite to win the ECAC and finish in the top 10 in the nation, but the Crimson finished sixth in the league (18-15-3 overall).
should energize the Harvard alumni base. While he may not have followed
the traditional business, law or medicine path of most Harvard graduates,
Donato is still clearly one of them.