Head Coach Mike Cavanaugh begins his third season at the helm of the UConn men’s ice hockey program after guiding the Huskies through their inaugural season in Hockey East in 2014-15. On May 8, 2013, Cavanaugh was named the fourth head men’s hockey coach in UConn history dating back to the inception of the program in 1960.
Entering their first season of play in Hockey East, the Huskies were tabbed to finish last in the preseason coaches’ poll but Cavanaugh led his team to a 7-11-4 Hockey East mark, tied with Maine for ninth in the final standings. Along the way the Huskies knocked off four teams ranked in the national polls highlighted by a 1-0 win over No. 3 ranked Boston College in the program’s first-ever Hockey East home game.
The new era of UConn hockey also saw the Huskies move in to a new home at the XL Center in downtown Hartford. The program set new records for season ticket sales in 2014-15 and finished the year leading Hockey East in home attendance, averaging 5,396 fans per game.
During his first season as head coach, Cavanaugh led the Huskies through their final season in the Atlantic Hockey Association with a .611 winning percentage and 15-9-3 record in the conference, tying them for third place in the standings with Air Force. Overall, the Huskies finished with an 18-14-4 record, posting consecutive winning seasons for just the second time in the program's Division I history (1998-present) and capping off the program's best four-year Division I stretch with 68 wins (2010-11 through 2013-2014).
The Huskies' defense was tops in Atlantic Hockey in 2013-14, allowing a league-low 2.39 goals per game and finishing with an 82.5 penalty killing percentage. UConn's 15 league wins matched the AHA win total during the 2006-07 campaign for most in program history. The season's highlight was the Huskies first-ever win against a top-10 nationally-ranked team when they dealt future Hockey East foe and #9 ranked Providence College a 3-2 defeat at Schneider Arena.
Off the ice, Cavanaugh forged a partnership with the Hartford Police Activities League (PAL), a non-profit unit with the Hartford Police Department, as a way to encourage community service within the men's ice hockey team. PAL offers inner city youth recreational and educational activities that provide a welcome alternative to violence, gang membership, truancy and substance abuse. The men's ice hockey team regularly participates in pick up street hockey and ice hockey games with youth who attend the after school program in Hartford.
Prior to arriving in Storrs, Cavanaugh spent 18 seasons at Boston College on legendary head coach Jerry York's coaching staff. During his time at BC, he helped guide the Eagles to four national titles (2001, 2008, 2010 and 2012) in addition to nine Hockey East Tournament championships, six league regular-season titles and 10 Frozen Four appearances.
During his tenure at Boston College, Cavanaugh was vital in establishing a decade-strong winning culture for the program in the Hockey East. As one of the nation's premier recruiters, Cavanaugh saw his efforts produce more than 30 National Hockey League players, two Hobey Baker Award recipients (Johnny Gaudreau, 2014; Mike Mottau, 2000), 22 All-Americans and two USA Hockey College Players of the Year (Mottau, 2000 and Nathan Gerbe, 2008) in his 18 seasons - the last nine as associate head coach.
He was named the winner of the 2013 Terry Flanagan Award by the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA). The Flanagan Award is given annually to honor an assistant coach's career body of work in the college game.
In addition to his on-ice achievements, Cavanaugh was highly involved in the greater Boston community. He spearheaded an academic mentoring program with St. Columbkille Partnership School, a local elementary school where 19 different languages are spoken and many students are receiving financial support. Boston College players are matched with fifth graders for academic mentoring that often turns into life mentoring. Cavanaugh also founded and led the coordination of the Annual BC Race to Educate, a 5k road race and 1k kid's fun run held in the spring. The race has raised over $130,000 in just two years for St. Columbkille's that has been put toward financial aid, a music program and staffing at the school.
A 1990 graduate of Bowdoin College, Cavanaugh was a three-year ice hockey letterman for the Polar Bears. He served as team captain in 1989-90. Cavanaugh also captained and played wide receiver on the school's football team. He is a graduate of North Andover High School, where he played hockey.
Upon his graduation from Bowdoin, Cavanaugh spent one year in London serving as player/coach of the Richmond Ice Hockey Club. He returned to the United States and was the assistant hockey coach at the Belmont Hill School for the 1991-92 season. From there, he joined Jerry York's staff at Bowling Green from 1992-93. While at BGSU, Cavanaugh earned a master's degree in sports management.
Prior to coming to Boston College in 1995-96, Cavanaugh spent two years as an assistant coach at Dartmouth College (1993-95). He was promoted to associate head coach at BC prior to the 2004-05 season.
Cavanaugh and his wife Lynne, have two children - Quinn and Caroline.