Gaudet Announces Retirement After 32 Year Coaching Career

Gaudet Announces Retirement After 32 Year Coaching Career

via Dartmouth Athletics

HANOVER, N.H. – Koenig Family Head Coach of Dartmouth Men’s Hockey Bob Gaudet ’81 announced his retirement after 32 years as a head coach on Wednesday, effective June 30.  

The program’s all-time leader in both wins (331) and games coached (752), Gaudet has been the face of the Big Green men’s hockey program for 23 years, taking over at his alma mater prior to the start of the 1997-98 season after nine years as the head coach at Brown. 

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve in the Dartmouth Men’s Hockey program as a student-athlete, assistant coach, parent, head coach and a proud alumnus,” Gaudet said. “I’ve been so very fortunate to have had the opportunity to interact with so many talented coaches, staff members, faculty, administrators, alumni and especially players over the better part of the last four decades. As a team, we always talk about leaving the jersey in a better place once you exit Thompson Arena, and I hope that I have successfully accomplished that mission.” 

Gaudet became the winningest coach in the history of Dartmouth hockey with his 309th victory behind the bench on Nov. 30, 2018 against No. 16 Cornell, passing the legendary Eddie Jeremiah ’30, who had owned the record for more than a half century. The previous season, Gaudet won his 300th game at Dartmouth by defeating No. 7 Clarkson and joining Jeremiah as the only two coaches in program history to reach the milestone.

A member of the New Hampshire Legends of Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2018, Gaudet became the 23rd Division I coach in history to win his 400th career game when Dartmouth beat No. 15 Quinnipiac on Nov. 3, 2018.

“Bobby was a passionate teacher and coach who always put the welfare of his student-athletes first,” Athletics Director Harry Sheehy said. “He was a wonderful ambassador and terrific department member who truly saw the big picture and understood the role of athletics at Dartmouth. As a son of Dartmouth, his passion for Dartmouth Hockey was exceeded only by his love for the college. He leaves behind a powerful legacy forged through 23 years of impacting Dartmouth students. On a personal level, I will miss my interaction with Bobby greatly. I wish Bobby and his wife Lynne the very best as they enter the next chapter of their lives.”

This past season, Gaudet coached in his 1,000th career game as Dartmouth defeated Princeton, 4-3, on the road in overtime on Jan. 3. In doing so, he became just the seventh coach in NCAA hockey history to reach 1,000 games within one conference and the first in the long and storied ranks of ECAC Hockey to reach the milestone.

Gaudet was honored as the ECAC Hockey Coach of the Year in 2005-06 — just the second Dartmouth coach to earn the award — as he guided the Big Green to a share of the league’s regular-season crown and the postseason tournament’s No. 1 seed for the first time ever. For his efforts that year, Gaudet was also named a finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award, presented to the National Coach of the Year.

The following year, Gaudet led Dartmouth to its first Ivy League title since his junior year as a player (1980). Leading the way for Gaudet’s team that season was junior David Jones ’08, who would be named a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award presented annually to the nation’s top player, a first for Dartmouth. Dan Shribman ’07 would also take home the first-ever Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award, established by the Hockey Commissioner's Association to honor the namesake of the award who was a "consummate team player and team builder."

Prior to returning to Hanover, Gaudet spent nine seasons as the head coach at Brown from 1988 through 1997. In Providence, he turned around the program and, in 1993, guided the Bears to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 17 years. Gaudet led Brown to a pair of Ivy League titles in 1991 and 1995, earning his first ECAC Hockey Coach of the Year in the latter. He was also tabbed as a finalist for the Penrose Award in both 1993 and 1995.

A former Dartmouth goaltender, Gaudet led his team to a pair of Frozen Four appearances in 1979 and 1980 in Detroit and Providence. Following his playing career at Dartmouth, he signed a pro contract with the Winnipeg Jets and played in their minor league system before returning to Hanover to start his coaching career as an assistant under former head coaches George Crowe and Brian Mason.

Gaudet has been one of the best coaches at developing talent and making the most out of players. Under his guidance, 10 players have gone on to play in the NHL, more than any other time period in Dartmouth history. Additionally, 13 players have heard their names called at the NHL Entry Draft since he took over the program. Ben Lovejoy ’06 would go on to win a Stanley Cup in 2016 with the Pittsburgh Penguins, becoming the first Dartmouth player since 1928 to hoist hockey’s top prize. 

Prior to Gaudet’s arrival, only twice had Dartmouth had an ECAC Hockey First Team selection. Since then, that number has grown to eight, including Drew O’Connor ’22 this past season. In total, 22 players have earned All-ECAC first-, second- or third-team honors in the last 23 years, while 10 have been named to the league’s all-rookie team.

Under Gaudet’s coaching, Lee Stempniak ’05 (three), Mike Ouellette ’06 and David Jones ’08 have earned All-America honors. Ouellette was named the ECAC Hockey Best Defensive Forward in 2005-06, and Hugh Jessiman ’06 and Jody O’Neill ’12 were each named the Rookie of the Year in 2002-03 and 2008-09, respectively.

Additionally, Ouellette (2006), Jones (2007) and O’Connor (2020) were all named the Ivy League Player of the Year under the guidance of Gaudet. Jessiman (2003), Nick Johnson ’08 (2005), O’Neill (2009) and Matt Lindblad ’14 (2011) were all tabbed as the Ivy’s top rookie during the Gaudet era.

Dartmouth has played a massive role in Gaudet’s life as each member of his immediate family is an alum of the college. He met his wife Lynne ’81 during his time as an undergrad and all three of their children — Joe ’10, Jim ’12 and Kelly ’17 — have also graduated from Dartmouth. Both Joe and Jim were four-year letter winners with the men’s hockey team, playing for their father as members of the Big Green.

A national search for Gaudet’s successor will begin immediately.