After coaching the UMass men’s hockey team for 12 years, Marblehead native Don “Toot’’ Cahoon stepped down Tuesday.
“As a result of conversations we had last week, we mutually thought it was in the best interest of the program that we separated and moved on,’’ said athletic director John McCutcheon.
In his tenure, Cahoon amassed a 166-225-42 record, the most wins in program history. Last season the Minutemen finished 13-18-5, earning a 10th consecutive berth in the Hockey East playoffs. They were swept in the best-of-three quarterfinals by eventual NCAA champion Boston College.
“It’s been an honor to coach and work with so many fine student-athletes over the last 12 years here at UMass,’’ Cahoon said in a statement. “Their efforts and the efforts of the faculty, staff, and community members will be fond memories of my time here at Massachusetts. I look forward to the continued growth and development of this program so that it will sustain itself at the most elite level within Hockey East. The privilege has been all mine.’’
During the 2006-07 season, Cahoon led UMass to its first NCAA Tournament, where the Minutemen beat Clarkson in the first round. During the next season, Cahoon helped UMass earn its best national ranking in school history at No. 5 after early-season wins over Notre Dame and Colorado College. He also coached four All-Americans: Tomas Pock in 2004, Jonathan Quick (who led the Los Angeles Kings to the Stanley Cup this year) in 2007, James Marcou in 2009, and Justin Braun in 2010.
“Toot did a lot of positive things and brought this program up,’’ said McCutcheon. “If you look at the quality of our student athletes, he made an outreach to the community and because of this we are well prepared to take the next step in the future.’’
The search for Cahoon’s replacement will begin immediately.
“I think we will find a great candidate pool as this is a tremendous opportunity here and it is a quite attractive job,’’ McCutcheon said.