For his efforts in leading Union College to its third straight ECAC title and into the 2014 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey "Frozen Four," Rick Bennett has been chosen winner of the 2014 Spencer Penrose Award as Division I Men's Ice Hockey STX/AHCA Coach of the Year. He will receive his award on Saturday evening, May 3, during the American Hockey Coaches Association annual convention in Naples, FL.
Entering Thursday evening's semifinal contest vs. Boston College, Bennett's Dutchmen have compiled an overall record of 30-6-4, capturing both the ECAC Hockey regular season and tournament titles along the way. Union advanced to the Frozen Four by defeating Vermont (5-2) and Providence (3-1) to win the NCAA East Regional in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The Dutchmen enter the Frozen Four on a 15-game unbeaten streak (14-0-1), the longest in the nation. Their last loss came on January 31.
In three seasons in Schenectady, Bennett has compiled a record of 78-27-16 (.711) A year ago, Union finished with a record of 22- 13-5, clinching its fourth straight 20-win season. The Dutchmen, who successfully defended their ECAC Tournament title, earned their third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament in the Division I era.
In 2011-12, Bennett's first year as head coach, Union earned its first ever trip to the Frozen Four, with wins over UMass-Lowell and Michigan State in the East Regional of the NCAA Tournament. Union earned its first ever Whitelaw Cup as ECAC Hockey Tournament champions and its second consecutive Cleary Cup, capturing the ECAC Hockey regular-season title. Union (26-8-7, 14-4-4 ECAC Hockey) finished the season at No. 3 in the national polls, the highest ranking in program history. Bennett recorded the most wins by a Union head coach in his first season, and is the only Union coach to record 20 wins in his debut year.
Coach Bennett was introduced as Union's fifth head coach in the Division I era on April 20, 2011, following six years as an assistant for the Dutchmen, which began after five years as an assistant at Providence College, his alma mater.
Bennett was named to the Providence College Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012. He enjoyed a standout career as a student-athlete at Providence, where he was best recognized for his versatility. In his years at PC, the powerful left wing played center, played defense, played on the power play and killed penalties. The culmination of years of hard work and dedication led Bennett to be a 1990 Hobey Baker Finalist. A former Friar co-captain, Bennett earned Second Team All-Hockey East honors in 1990. In 1987, he was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team. He was a two-time winner of the Lamoriello Trophy as Team MVP for Providence. In 1989, he tallied 46 points and was named Second Team All-American. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in general studies.
Bennett was a third round draft pick of the Minnesota North Stars in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft and was traded to the New York Rangers his junior year at Providence. From 1990-93, he played for the Binghamton Rangers of the AHL and saw action in 15 games for the New York Rangers. After leaving Binghamton, he spent two seasons with the Springfield Indians of the AHL and played his final four seasons of professional hockey (1995-99) for the Jacksonville Lizard Kings (ECHL) and the Pee Dee Pride (ECHL). In addition to playing for the Lizard Kings and the Pride, Bennett also served as an assistant coach for each team for four years.
Assisting Bennett this season were Jason Tapp, Joe Dumais and John Ronan. The runner-up for this year's AHCA Men's Division I Coach of the Year award was Bob Daniels of Ferris State College.
The Spencer Penrose Award is named in memory of the Colorado Springs benefactor who built the Broadmoor Hotel Complex, site of the first ten NCAA championship hockey tournaments. All AHCA Coach of the Year awards are selected by the head coaches in each division and are sponsored by STX.
STX is a global sporting goods leader in the sports of lacrosse, field hockey, golf, and hockey. With its 1970 introduction of the first synthetic lacrosse head, STX ushered in the "modern era" of what is now the fastest growing team sport. Based in Baltimore, the home of lacrosse, STX has been universally recognized for innovation in product design and development. STX continues to strive for new performance standards in sporting goods equipment at the highest levels of competition. For more information, visit http://www.stx.com.
Winners of the Spencer Penrose Award
(Division I Coach of the Year)
|1951||Edward Jeremiah, Dartmouth||1983||Bill Cleary, Harvard|
|1952||Cheddy Thompson, Colorado College||1984||Mike Sertich, Minnesota-Duluth|
|1953||John Mariucci, Minnesota||1985||Len Ceglarski, Boston College|
|1954||Vic Heyliger, Michigan||1986||Ralph Backstrom, Denver|
|1955||Ralph "Cooney" Weiland, Harvard||1987||John "Gino" Gasparini, North Dakota|
|1956||William Harrison, Clarkson||1988||Frank Anzalone, Lake Superior|
|1957||Jack Riley, Army||1989||Joe Marsh, St. Lawrence|
|1958||Harry Cleverly, Boston University||1990||Terry Slater, Colgate|
|1959||John "Snooks" Kelley, Boston College||1991||Rick Comley, Northern Michigan|
|1960||Jack Riley, Army||1992||Ron Mason, Michigan State|
|1961||Murray Armstrong, Denver||1993||George Gwozdecky, Miami|
|1962||Jack Kelley, Colby||1994||Don Lucia, Colorado College|
|1963||Tony Frasca, Colorado College||1995||Shawn Walsh, Maine|
|1964||Tom Eccleston, Jr., Providence||1996||Bruce Crowder, UMass Lowell|
|1965||Jim Fullerton, Brown||1997||Dean Blais, North Dakota|
|1966||Amo Bessone, Michigan State
Len Ceglarski, Clarkson
|1998||Tim Taylor, Yale|
|1967||Edward Jeremiah, Dartmouth||1999||Richard Umile, New Hampshire|
|1968||Ned Harkness, Cornell||2000||Joe Marsh, St. Lawrence|
|1969||Charlie Holt, New Hampshire||2001||Dean Blais, North Dakota|
|1970||John Maclnnes, Michigan Tech||2002||Tim Whitehead, Maine|
|1971||Ralph "Cooney" Weiland, Harvard||2003||Bob Daniels, Ferris State|
|1972||John "Snooks" Kelley, Boston College||2004||Scott Sandelin, Minnesota-Duluth|
|1973||Len Ceglarski, Boston College||2005||George Gwozdecky, Denver|
|1974||Charlie Holt, New Hampshire||2006||Enrico Blasi, Miami|
|1975||Jack Parker, Boston University||2007||Jeff Jackson, Notre Dame|
|1976||John Maclnnes, Michigan Tech||2008||Red Berenson, Michigan|
|1977||Jerry York, Clarkson||2009||Jack Parker, Boston University|
|1978||Jack Parker, Boston University||2010||Wayne Wilson, RIT|
|1979||Charlie Holt, New Hampshire||2011||Nate Leaman, Union|
|1980||Rick Comley, Northern Michigan||2012||Bob Daniels, Ferris State|
|1981||Bill O'Flaherty, Clarkson||2013||Norm Bazin, UMass Lowell|
|1982||Ferny Flaman, Northeastern||2014||Rick Bennett, Union|