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End of an era: Colgate hockey coach Vaughan retires

Posted 4/18/23

The 30-year career of Colgate men’s hockey coach Don Vaughan is coming to an end. The coach announced his retirement from the Raiders’ bench Tuesday evening.

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End of an era: Colgate hockey coach Vaughan retires


HAMILTON — The 30-year career of Colgate men’s hockey coach Don Vaughan is coming to an end. The coach announced his retirement from the Raiders’ bench Tuesday evening.

The nation’s third-longest tenured men’s hockey coach in Division I, Vaughan led the program on a memorable postseason run after guiding Colgate to its first ECAC Hockey championship since 1990. The Raiders knocked off No. 2 Quinnipiac 2-1 in double-overtime in the semifinals before beating No. 6 Harvard in the championship, marking the first tournament title during his tenure. 

His 470 victories make him the winningest coach in program history. He has six 20-win seasons, four NCAA tournament berths and two ECAC Coach of the Year awards. 

“It has been a privilege for me to have served as head coach of the Colgate men’s hockey program for 30 years,” said Vaughan. “It is hard to believe that so many years have passed since Colgate Athletic Director Mark Murphy gave a young assistant coach this opportunity in 1992.” He continued: “In all of these years I never once looked at Colgate Hockey as my program. I was simply the mantle holder and I have had so much help along the way. I am so very fortunate to have worked alongside so many wonderful and talented administrators, assistant coaches, staff, and colleagues. Thank you to our alumni and Silver Puck Members as well as Silver Puck President Jerry Quill.”

Colgate President Brian W. Casey said, “Don has been a wonderful coach and leader at Colgate for over 30 years. He has pursued and achieved both athletics success and academic excellence for his teams and student-athletes. He has been a model of what Colgate seeks in our head coaches.”

Vaughan developed and mentored more than 200 Academic All-ECAC members, 56 All-ECAC Hockey honors, seven All-Americans, five Hobey Baker Award finalists, three Colgate 1819 award winners, two ECAC Hockey Players of the Year, one NHL Stanley Cup winner, an ECAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and one Hockey Humanitarian Award winner.

Vaughan coached 36 Raiders who went on to be drafted in the NHL — or were drafted prior to coming to Colgate. The 2022-23 team includes draftees Alex Young (forward) and Carter Gylander (goalie). Another 34 signed with NHL teams after graduating. They include Andy McDonald, who won a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. The most recent Colgate player to sign with an NHL team was Bobby McMann, who made his debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier this season.

Vaughan’s consistency defined his career, leading the program to 27 playoff appearances and to the ECAC championship weekend on 14 occasions. In his final season, Colgate hosted the first round of the playoffs, a one-game knock-out contest against Dartmouth. The Raiders prevailed in a 5-3 victory. It would be Vaughan’s final game at the Class of 1965 Arena.

“I am proud of the work we have done here with so many people past and present,” said Vaughan. “The time is right. It has always been my intention that when the time comes for retirement that I leave the program in a good place. The program is poised to continue to challenge for more championships in the future.”

In the 2017-18 season, Vaughan got his 400th career win at Colgate. At the time, he became the 24th coach in Division I ice hockey history to reach the milestone. The previous season the program had won its 1,000th game.

A 1984 graduate of St. Lawrence, Vaughan played three seasons of varsity hockey for the Saints after earning All-America status in his only season at Canton College. While with the Saints, Vaughan tallied 41 goals and 49 assists in 96 games as a center.

“As my father often said you can grow old, just don’t ever grow up,” added Vaughan. He said he and his wife, Mariel, are “looking forward to the next chapter and enjoying a quieter life here in the Hamilton and Colgate Communities.”

A national search for the next coach of the program will begin immediately, the school noted.


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