Women's Hockey: UNH hires Hilary Witt as new women's head coach
The University of New Hampshire's athletic department held a press conference Wednesday to announce the hire of new women's hockey coach Hilary Witt, the team's fourth head coach in its 37-year history.
"We are very excited to welcome Hilary to the UNH family," UNH athletic director Marty Scarano said in a press release. "She is one of the brightest young coaches in the nation, has a fabulous understanding of the game and her recruiting ties will have an immediate impact on our program. Furthermore, Hilary is one of the all-time great players in women's hockey and knows exactly what it takes to succeed at this level. We look forward to her leadership in rebuilding UNH into once again a national contender."
Witt, a native of Canton, Mass., played hockey at Northeastern from 1997-2000 and the US national team, said not only was she excited to be working again in Hockey East, but also that she had been set on chasing the job in Durham this year.
"I wanted the job," Witt said. "I didn't come up here to interview just to have a new job. I came here because I wanted this job ... because of the history and because I feel like it has the bones to be fantastic every year."
Witt has 14 years coaching experience, including as an assistant coach and team scout for USA Hockey. She became head coach of the Yale women's hockey team after just one year as an assistant, followed by assistant coaching jobs with her alma mater and USA Hockey.
In 2003, Witt was named ECAC Coach of the Year. In just three seasons, she had taken a team with a 9-19-3 record and helped them win 16 games.
Witt cited her time at Yale when asked if she'd ever been faced with a challenge like the one handed to her with the Wildcats. UNH had a record of 9-23-2 this past year.
"I worked at Yale for nine years and took over a program that really struggled and we had more success there than they had ever had," Witt said. "The great part of this program is that its only had a couple years where it's kind of gone off-track a little bit."
After the controversial departure of former head coach Brian McCloskey this past December, the UNH players are relieved that the team has finally found a coach to move forward with.
"I think we've been waiting for this day for a very long time," junior forward Hannah Armstrong said. "We're all in there celebrating in the dressing room right now. It's a great, heavy burden lifted off of our shoulders."
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