McCloskey "no longer employed" by UNH
"Inappropriate physical contact" is reason for termination
This article was updated at 12:13 a.m. on December 6, 2013.
UNH women's ice hockey head coach Brian McCloskey is no longer employed by the University of New Hampshire as of Thursday night due to "an investigation into an incident of inappropriate physical contact with a player on the bench" at a home game against Ohio State University on Nov. 30, according to the UNH Athletic Department's press release Thursday night.
"The safety and well-being of our student athletes is our number one priority," UNH Athletics Director Marty Scarano said in the press release, which was sent out shortly after McCloskey was let go. "Coaches are role models for our students and responsible for their dignity and safety, and we have zero tolerance for unsportsmanlike behavior on any of our athletic teams."
McCloskey gave the following statement to The New Hampshire around 6:30 p.m. Thursday night:
"I have loved every aspect of my work at UNH. The people I've had the opportunity to work alongside through hockey and UNH are some of the very best I have ever known.
"My players, both current and past, are an extended family. I admire their dedication and strength of character. I will greatly miss sharing the remaining journey with this year's team. They are an exceptional and loyal group. UNH will remain a special place with terrific people. I thank every one of them for the impact they've had on me and my family."
Scarano told The New Hampshire that the department will not release any more information on the matter and is "trying to move on."
Scarano, who is in his 14th season as the UNH Athletic Director, would not specify what the inappropriate physical contact specifically entailed.
"It is a very sensitive matter," he said. "We are all going to restrict what we say to what was said [in the press release].
"It is a personnel matter, which typically in these cases the university is precluded from discussing it."
The department began looking into the situation on Monday, according to Scarano.
"Specifically, he was suspended Monday, at 11 a.m., upon the initial findings that this was a serious incident," Scarano said. "The final determination was made and rendered [Thursday]."
The UNH Human Resources Department worked in conjunction with university legal counsel as the investigation was carried out.
"It was more of an inquiry than an investigation," Scarano said.
Scarano said UNH President Mark Huddleston was informed throughout the process, but was not directly involved in the investigation.
The press release also stated "the team's two assistant coaches, Jamie Wood and Stephanie Jones, will lead the team in its two games this weekend against Harvard and Dartmouth. Conference play for the team will resume Jan. 10, 2014, with an interim head coach in place."
In McCloskey's time as the women's hockey head coach from 2002 to 2013, he led the Wildcats to five consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (2006-10), four quarterfinal home games (2006-09) and two Frozen Four appearances (2006, 2008). UNH was Hockey East regular-season champions from 2004-2009 and Hockey East Tournament champions from 2006-2009. Before being named head coach, McCloskey was an assistant coach at the university, beginning in 1998.
Nick Stoico and Max Sullivan can be reached on Twitter @NickStoico and @MaxSullivanLive, respectively.
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