College hockey: Niagara tabs Jason Lammers as third head coach in program history
NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. – Niagara University has named Jason Lammers the third head coach of the Niagara hockey program, announced Monday. Lammers is currently the head coach and general manager of the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League (USHL).
Lammers will remain in his position with the Fighting Saints through the conclusion of the team’s USHL postseason. Dubuque has advanced to the USHL Eastern Conference Finals after defeating Muskegon in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Lammers will be introduced at a press conference in the near future.
“We are excited to bring Jason Lammers to Niagara University to coach our hockey team,” said the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University. “He has proven to be a very successful coach throughout his career. In addition to his success defined by wins and losses, he is a person who demonstrates character, leadership and faith, which make him a great fit for our hockey team, as well as the entire Niagara University community.”
“Jason Lammers is a transformational hire for this University,” Niagara director of athletics Simon Gray said. “Jason has had tremendous success at the collegiate level, as evidenced by multiple bids to the NCAA Tournament and his ability to develop NHL-caliber players. His experience of winning at the highest level of NCAA Division I hockey is complemented perfectly by his passion for developing student-athletes into servant leaders.
“The men’s ice hockey program is a primary asset of Niagara University,” Gray added. “As evidenced during its championship history, the Purple Eagles’ success elevates the brand of the institution and fills all of its constituents with pride. We look forward to Jason leading us in the next chapter of Niagara hockey. We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Jason, his wife Michelle, and their children Rhett and Bryn to our community.”
Lammers brings 15 years of NCAA coaching experience to Niagara, most recently as an associate coach at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell and as an assistant coach at Colorado College and Ohio State University. He has played an integral role in coaching teams with a combined record of 164-98-23 (.616 winning percentage) at the collegiate level with six NCAA tournament berths, four trips to the Elite Eight and a Frozen Four appearance in 2013. Lammers has recruited and coached 23 players that went on to play for NHL franchises.
“As a family, we are excited to join the Niagara University community,” Lammers said. “I would like to thank Father Maher, Simon Gray and Steve Butler for this tremendous opportunity to serve the student-athletes, staff, alumni and friends of Niagara University Hockey as the program transitions into next year and the future. I pledge that we will foster excellence in all aspects of the program, and I cannot wait to get started.”
In two seasons at the helm of the Dubuque Fighting Saints, Lammers has led the team to a regular-season record of 75-36-9 (.663 winning percentage), including a 36-17-7 record and a second-place finish in the Eastern Conference this past season. The Fighting Saints won the USHL’s Eastern Conference and advanced to the USHL Finals in the 2015-16 campaign, posting the second-most wins in the 37-year franchise history with a record of 39-19-2. 17 players from the 2015-16 Fighting Saints roster went on to play NCAA Division I hockey for the 2016-17 season.
Lammers developed an elite offense as Dubuque led the USHL in scoring in the 2015-16 season and finished second in scoring in the league this season. Lammers was also selected as the head coach of Team East for the 2016 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, and he was named to the bench again this season as an assistant coach for the 2017 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
Both of Lammers’ predecessors at Dubuque, Jim Montgomery (2010-13) and Matt Shaw (2013-15), have gone on to win NCAA Division I national championships, Montgomery as the head coach at the University of Denver and Shaw as an assistant coach at the University of North Dakota.
Lammers served as associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell from 2011 to 2015. As a member of head coach Norm Bazin’s staff, Lammers helped UMass-Lowell complete the second best single-season turnaround in NCAA history, as the River Hawks went 24-13-1 in the 2011-12 season after finishing 5-25-4 in 2010-11. UMass-Lowell advanced to the 2012 NCAA Regional Finals for the first time since 1996, returning to the Regional Finals in 2013 and 2014. In the 2012-13 season, the River Hawks achieved the best regular-season record in program history at 28-11-2, winning their first-ever Hockey East regular-season title and tournament championship en route to advancing to the Frozen Four.
Prior to UMass-Lowell, Lammers was an assistant coach with Colorado College from 2009-11. The Tigers’ 23-19-3 record in the 2010-11 campaign is the team’s second best record of the past decade, including an appearance in the 2011 NCAA West Regional Finals. Lammers oversaw the Tigers’ offensive unit, which improved its scoring output by 40 goals from 2008-09 to 2010-11.
Lammers served as an assistant coach for the Ohio State Buckeyes from 2006-09 and assisted in coaching a team that improved from a 15-19-5 record with 97 goals scored during the 2005-06 season to a 23-15-4 record with 143 goals scored in the 2008-09 season, a season that ended with a berth in the NCAA tournament.
Lammers will remain with the Fighting Saints for the rest of the season before taking his post at Niagara at a later date.— DBQ Fighting Saints (@fightingsaints) April 24, 2017
During the 2005-06 season, Lammers was the head coach for NCAA Division III Geneseo. Guiding the program at his alma mater, Lammers led the Knights to a record of 19-9-2, a SUNYAC tournament championship, and an appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament. Two Knights were named All-SUNYAC league players and four were named to the SUNYAC All-Tournament team.
A defenseman in his time as a player, Lammers was a three-year team captain for the Geneseo Knights from 1994-98, serving as a co-captain in 1996 and 1997 before being named team captain in 1998. In his senior season, Lammers guided the Knights to a top-15 ranking in the NCAA and collected SUNYAC All-Conference Second Team accolades. He went on to play 99 games in the West Coast Hockey League (WCHL) from 1998-2000 with the Idaho Steelheads and Phoenix Mustangs. Traded from Idaho to Phoenix in the middle of the 1999-00 campaign, Lammers helped the Mustangs move up in the standings from last place to third place before eventually capturing the Taylor Cup as league champions.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Lammers graduated from the State University of New York at Geneseo in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. Lammers went on to continue his education while coaching at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, where he received a Master of Education degree in higher education in 2015.
The Niagara hockey program enters its 22nd season in 2017-18. A member of the Atlantic Hockey Conference (AHC), the Purple Eagles have advanced to the NCAA tournament four times, including the first at-large berth by an AHC team in the 2012-13 season. Niagara has also won three conference titles and three regular season titles.