September 9, 2009

Shaun Hannah Resigns as Men's Ice Hockey Coach

Sept. 9, 2009

Fairfield, CT- Sacred Heart University Executive Director of Athletics Don Cook announced today that Shaun Hannah has resigned as the head coach of the Sacred Heart men’s ice hockey program, effective immediately. Hannah stood behind the bench of the Pioneer ice hockey program for the last 13 seasons and compiled 189 wins over that time, leading the Pioneers to post-season play each year.

“Sacred Heart University and Sacred Heart Athletics owe Shaun Hannah a great debt of gratitude,” says Cook. “If there ever was someone who understood the mission, vision and core values of Sacred Heart it was Shaun Hannah. And, in every way Shaun advanced that mission, vision and core values through the Sacred Heart men's ice hockey program. “

Hannah guided the SHU ice hockey program in its transition into Division I and his Pioneers gained the reputation as tough opponents while first playing as members of the MAAC and, later, Atlantic Hockey. Hannah was named the 1999-2000 MAAC Coach of the Year after leading the Pioneers to a 16-win season, an improvement of nine wins over the previous year. He was also among the finalists for the Spencer T. Penrose Award, which is awarded to the NCAA Division I Coach of the Year.

The highlight of the Pioneers time in Atlantic Hockey was in 2004 when Hannah's squad reached the inaugural Atlantic Hockey Championship game before falling to Holy Cross. During 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons, the Pioneers twice won a school-record 21 games and earned the top seed in the Atlantic Hockey playoffs for the first time in school history in 2007.

During his career, the Pioneers never shied away from tough competition. Early in Division I he took his team to play nationally-ranked Maine from Hockey East and came away with a tie. This past season, his team flew out to Boulder and quieted a raucous crowd by tying #9 Colorado College 2-2.

During his tenure numerous players earned All-Conference recognition, while some, like Pierre-Luc O'Brien and Alex Parent, were nominated for the Hobey Baker Award, the highest honor in college hockey. Perhaps Hannah’s proudest achievement, however, was annually placing a large number of players on the Atlantic Hockey All-Academic Team.

Hannah came to the Pioneers after an outstanding playing career at Cornell and two seasons playing professionally. He was a member of the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League at the tail end of the 1994-95 season. The following year he played for the Knoxville Cherokees of the East Coast Hockey League, scoring six goals and 22 assists for 28 points.

“If there's any good news from this it's that Shaun's tenure as head coach leaves a program marked only by integrity and success on the ice and in the classroom,” says Cook. “Shaun wouldn't have it any other way. Thankfully he remained here long enough to give the program the organizational infrastructure and stability needed to succeed in the future. Shaun will be sorely missed, so too Scared Heart's most loyal fans, his wife, Amy and beautiful daughter, Emma.”

"I will forever be grateful for the opportunity that I have had to grow both personally and professionally at Sacred Heart over the last 13 seasons, but I feel that this is the right time for me to take my career in a different direction,” says Hannah. “ While I will miss not seeing the people associated with the hockey program and university on a daily basis, I expect to be following the team closely and rooting for them as they challenge for championships in the years to come."

The search for Hannah’s replacement will begin immediately.