LOWELL, Mass. — Norm Bazin, who played at UMass Lowell from 1990-94 and served as an assistant coach from 1996-2000, was named the sixth head coach in the program’s history Thursday, announced Director of Athletics Dana Skinner.
Bazin was introduced to the University campus and community this afternoon at a press conference at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center.
He returns to the University following three successful seasons as head coach at Hamilton College, preceded by eight years as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Colorado College.
“Norm Bazin brings great passion not just for the hockey program, but for the University as well,” said University Chancellor Martin T. Meehan. “We believe he can recruit top-quality talent, develop that talent, and raise the bar of expectation at UMass Lowell. In addition, Norm’s past experiences as a student and a coach demonstrate clearly that he places education at the center of the college experience.”
Bazin replaces Blaise MacDonald, who resigned at the end of the 2010-11 season after 10 years.
“UMass Lowell is my alma mater and it has a special place in my heart,” Bazin said. “Hockey East is one of the premier conferences in the country. I was impressed with the dynamic changes Chancellor Meehan and Dana Skinner have made. The energy and the improvements have been tremendous.”
Bazin inherits a program which struggled to a 5-25-4 record (4-21-2 in Hockey East) last year but is expected to return 24 players for the 2011-12 season.
“I think the long term potential for the program is the ability to compete for the three major championships,” Bazin noted, referring to the Hockey East regular season, tournament and NCAA championships. “Secondly, I think we have a first class facility, a world-class university, a loyal fan base and a solid hockey foundation in terms of support from our administration and staff.”
Fast Success at Hamilton College, NCAA Prominence at Colorado College
Under Bazin’s direction, Hamilton College improved from a 9-15-1 record in 2008-09 to a 15-9-2 clip in 2009-10 and a 14-7-4 record last season, in which the Continentals finished atop of the New England Small Conference Athletic Conference (NESCAC) regular season for the first time in school history.
For his efforts, Bazin was named the NESCAC Coach of the Year the last two years and helped guide four players to NESCAC All-Conference honors, including 2010-11 Player of the Year and All-American Joe Houk. Additionally, he was named a finalist for the 2011 Edward Jeremiah Award for NCAA Division III Coach of the Year.
Hamilton’s 15 victories in 2009-10 marked its highest win total since the 2003-04 season. Consistent with his belief that academic success breeds athletic achievement, Bazin helped guide 11 members of Hamilton’s ice hockey team to the NESCAC Winter All-Academic Team honors in his three years.
Prior to becoming head coach at Hamilton, Bazin spent eight years at Colorado College as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator and was instrumental in leading the Tigers to a 205-102-22 overall record (.623) and a 131-76-17 clip in WCHA play (.585).
During Bazin’s tenure, Colorado College made six trips to the NCAA Tournament – four quarterfinal bids and a Midwest Region title/Frozen Four appearance in 2005 – and won the WCHA regular season title three times.
Among the players Bazin mentored include 19 WCHA all-stars, 13 All-Americans and two Hobey Baker Memorial Award recipients in Peter Sejna (2003) and Marty Sertich (2005). Additionally, 12 players during Bazin’s time went on to play in the NHL.
Bazin was an assistant coach at UMass Lowell from 1996-2000 under Tim Whitehead and helped guide the River Hawks to Hockey East Tournament semifinal appearances in 1997 and 1998. He was integral in recruiting standouts such as All-American Ron Hainsey (currently in his third season with the Atlanta Thrashers) as well as Hockey East all-star Brad Rooney (`01); Yorick Treille (’02) and Laurent Meunier (’02), both members of the French Olympic squad at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
UMass Lowell’s Unsung Hero
As a player, Bazin compiled 32 goals and 36 assists (68 points) in 134 career games. He peaked as a senior with 20 goals and 15 assists – including 17 goals in UMass Lowell’s final 19 games – as the River Hawks posted a 25-10-5 record.
That year, he helped lead UMass Lowell to the Hockey East Tournament Championship game where it fell, 3-2, to Boston University. Along the way, Bazin scored all three goals in a 3-0 quarterfinal victory over Merrimack and also added a goal in a 4-3 triumph at Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament first round.
Team honors were plentiful for Bazin as he was named the recipient of the Most Improved Player, Unsung Hero and Gus Coutu (Most Spirited) awards – all voted upon by his teammates.
Bazin was also an exemplary student, earning Dean’s List honors in each of his eight semesters as well as a place on the Hockey East Academic Honor Roll three times. In 1993, he received the Distinguished Public Service Award from the University for his work with the Special Olympics and SHARE.
Bazin achieved his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in just 3 ½ years and earned his master’s degree in education administration in 1999.
“The characteristics which have made Norm such a successful leader since he graduated from UMass Lowell will pay dividends for our hockey program and University,” Skinner said. “We are pleased that one of our most successful alums is returning to the University and we welcome Norm, his wife Michelle, also an alumna, and their two children to the UMass Lowell family.”
Bazin played professionally for the Birmingham Bulls of the ECHL and the Cincinnati Cyclones of the IHL in 1994-95.
A native of Notre Dame de Lourdes, Manitoba, Bazin and his wife, Michelle, have two sons, Blake (7) and Coleston (4).