May 9, 2013
Warde Manuel, Director of Athletics
“This is a very special day in our history, in our hockey history. Today, we are being introduced to our fourth permanent head coach in hockey here at UConn. It’s a time when we’re transitioning from Atlantic Hockey to the best hockey conference in the nation [Hockey East]. I think in Mike Cavanaugh, everyone has seen his resume, but I’ll talk a little bit about what I saw in him, in this process. First and foremost, everybody that I talked to about him, told me about the type of person that he is, the type of family man that he is, the type of community person that he is, what he exemplifies and carries with him every day, not only on the ice, but more importantly off the ice. Secondly, what struck me is his ability, at BC, to build and establish, consistently, one of the strongest programs in the nation. I think his resume speaks for itself; seven [Hockey East] tournament championships, six Hockey East regular season championships, 10 Frozen Four appearances, four National Championships. He has, in our conversations, exemplified everything that everybody told me about him. I’m extremely pleased that he has accepted this opportunity to become the fourth head coach in our history.”
Mike Cavanaugh, Men’s Ice Hockey Head Coach
“First of all, I want to thank President [Susan] Herbst, who notified me last night that she couldn’t be here. Her support if the hockey program and my candidacy is much appreciated by myself, my wife Lynne and our family. Also, [I’d like to thank] Warde [Manuel] for having the confidence in me to lead UConn into this exciting time. It’s an exciting time for college hockey in Connecticut; with Yale and Quinnipiac playing for the National Championship this past year. For years, I have recruited this area extensively. I think that the homegrown talent here is something that attracted me to the job. The passion that UConn has had for its sports has always intrigued me. It’s what brought me here to UConn. The sense of pride that the alumni and people of Connecticut have for the state university is something that would attract any coach to come here to UConn. The number of National Championships, not only in basketball, but soccer and field hockey shows me that there is a commitment to winning here at UConn. My mission here is going to be to graduate players and win championships. I got into this profession because of the mentoring of players and student-athletes. I had a chance to meet with the team earlier. I thought that they were so eager and enthusiastic. If they share that same sense of competitive spirit that I do, I think it’s going to be a great partnership going forward.”
What is your message to the student-athletes?
“I told them that we’re going to move forward. This is not going to be Boston College moving to Storrs. This is going to be UConn hockey and that’s what I’m focused on. It’s important that we establish what UConn hockey stands for and that’s what I expressed to the players. I expressed that this is going to be a partnership. It’s not a one way street. Whatever you’re in, it has to be a partnership to succeed.”
What recruiting challenges to anticipate over the short term?
“When I went to Boston College, they said we couldn’t recruit Canadians. If you just listen to people say that you can’t do something and say ‘I don’t think we can do that’ then you’re not going to be successful at anything. I’m excited to recruit the talent here. I’ve been recruiting this talent for a long time. I have a lot of connections here; trusted friendships. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem. I look forward to the challenge of recruiting [Connecticut] kids.”
What is at the top of your “To-Do” List?
“I want to get to meet people on the campus. A big belief I have is that if you’re too worried about going vertical, you forget to go horizontal. It’s important that I get out to meet people on this campus. I had a chance to meet with some players today and I’m going to individually meet with every one of our players before we start in September. My goal this summer is to really understand the culture here at UConn, so that my players will understand it and we can navigate this campus effortlessly throughout the year.”
Do you intend to use other UConn head coaches as a guide?
“Without a doubt. I think that’s moving horizontally throughout the campus. I had a chance to meet coach [Jim] Calhoun this morning. He was terrific. I’m looking forward to picking his brain. During the interview process I said, ‘I can’t wait to meet Geno Auriemma’. Eight national titles, 90 straight wins is just incredible. I look forward to going and watching on of his practices. I think it’s always important to keep learning in life. I’m going to continually try to learn and evolve from everyone on this campus.”
What are your thoughts on the UConn/BC rivalry?
“I have a fond affection for Boston College and I always will, but that means when we play them I’m going to want to beat them bad and I don’t think [BC coach] Jerry York would expect anything less of me.”
How can you use your experience in Hockey East to benefit your program?
“I think that I know the league pretty well. This year will be a little more challenging for me because I don’t know the Atlantic Hockey opponents as well. It’s imperative that I set the tone for this program. [Winning Atlantic Hockey] is our goal this year. Hockey East can wait.”