Plattsburgh's Kevin Houle - for the 7th time - Is CCM/AHCA Division III Women's Coach of the Year

For leading his team to a record of 26-1-0 and the top ranking among NCAA Women's Division III programs, Kevin Houle of Plattsburgh State has been chosen by his peers as the 2020 CCM/AHCA Women's Division III Coach of the Year. It is the seventh time that Houle has been so honored.

Houle completed his 17th season as the Plattsburgh women's coach and extended his remarkable record. This season, he guided the Cardinals to an 18-0-0 Northeast Women's Hockey League (NEWHL) record and the Cardinals' third consecutive NEWHL Tournament title. It marked the Cardinals' eighth consecutive conference title overall counting the five ECAC West championships they won in the final years of that conference. Over the last eight seasons, Plattsburgh has lost a combined 13 games.

Plattsburgh earned the NEWHL's automatic bid into the 2020 NCAA Division III Women's Ice Hockey Championship. Earlier this season, Plattsburgh State set the record for the longest home winning streak in NCAA women's ice hockey history as the Cardinals defeated Oswego State, 3-0, on Nov. 9, for their 29th consecutive home win. The Cardinals' home winning streak was at 40 games when the NCAA Tournament was cancelled and the season ended. Plattsburgh State also set the NCAA Division III women's ice hockey record for the longest overall winning streak with its 26th consecutive win over then-No. 7 UW-River Falls as part of the Panther/Cardinal Classic on Nov. 30, in Middlebury, Vt.

Houle, who is the program's longest tenured and winningest coach, has a 423-51-25 (.873) record since taking over the program for the 2003-04 season. He has coached the Cardinals to seven NCAA Division III women's ice hockey championships (five in the past six years), seven ECAC Women's West Championship titles, three NEWHL titles and at least 20 wins in each of his seasons.

Houle's success led to an opportunity to be an assistant coach with the U.S. Women's National Team for 2007-08, in addition to his Plattsburgh duties. The Americans captured the IIHF World Championship in China, with a 4-3 win over top-seeded Canada. He also coached at the Four Nations Cup in Leksand, Sweden.

Houle originally came to Plattsburgh in 1989 to work on the men's side and become former college teammate and and then Cardinals coach Bob Emery's top assistant. He was promoted to associate coach in 1994 and held that position until heading up the women's program in 2003. The duo saw the Cardinals to NCAA championships in 1992 and 2001 and nine SUNYAC titles, including six straight from 1996 to 2002, both SUNYAC records. In 2002, he was honored by the AHCA with the Terry Flanagan Award, which recognizes the career body of work by a men's assistant coach.

Houle was a fifth-round draft pick, and No. 103 overall, by the Montreal Canadiens in the National Hockey League's 1982 Entry Draft, but opted instead to attend Boston College on an athletic scholarship. He played professionally during the 1986-87 season in the Canadiens' farm system, splitting time between their American Hockey League affiliate Sherbrooke Canadiens and the Saginaw Generals of the International Hockey League. After suffering an injury that season, Houle worked as a scout for the Montreal organization for two years.

A 1986 graduate of Boston College with a bachelor of science degree in communications, Houle earned his master's degree in leadership administration from Plattsburgh State in 1997. Houle was assisted this year by Julia Duquette. The runner-up for this year's award was Bill Mandigo of Middlebury College, a three-time recipient of this award.

CCMThe CCM AHCA COACH of the YEAR AWARDS are sponsored by CCM HOCKEY and chosen by members of the AMERICAN HOCKEY COACHES ASSOCIATION. CCM is the legendary hockey brand dedicated to the endless pursuit of performance by delivering game-changing, head-to-toe innovative hockey equipment to players worldwide.

Winners of the Women's Division III Coach of the Year Award
2000 Ted Wisner, Colgate
2001 Bill Mandigo, Middlebury
2002 Jamie Wood, Elmira
2003 Michele Amidon, Bowdoin
2004 Bill Mandigo, Middlebury
2005 Bill Mandigo, Middlebury
2006 Kevin Houle, Plattsburgh State
2007 Kevin Houle, Plattsburgh State
2008 Kevin Houle, Plattsburgh State
2009 Jim Plumer. Amherst College
2010 Mark Bolding, Norwich
2011 Mark Bolding, Norwich
2012 Mark Bolding, Norwich
2013 Kevin Houle, Plattsburgh State
2014 Kevin Houle, Plattsburgh State
2015 Dean Jackson, Elmira
2016 Kevin Houle, Plattsburgh State
2017 Chad Davis, Adrian College
2018 Mark Bolding, Norwich
2019 Tom Palkowski, St. Thomas
2020 Kevin Houle, Plattsburgh State