After New Hampshire associate head coach Scott Borek made the lateral move from UNH to national champion Providence, one name popped up as the odds-on favorite to replace him in Durham: UConn associate head coach Mike Souza.
Now, according to Mike Anthony of the Hartford Courant, Souza is indeed on his way back to New Hampshire.
Sources: UConn hockey associate head coach Mike Souza to be named associate, and head coach in waiting, under Umile at UNH. Souza a UNH alum— Mike Anthony (@ManthonyCourant) June 10, 2015
Souza is one of the Wildcats' top 20 scorers all time and captained the team in 2000 and was a member of Frozen Four teams in 1998 and 1999. After his playing career in Europe ended, he spent two seasons as an assistant at Brown before joining Mike Cavanaugh's staff in Storrs.
Cavanaugh promoted Souza to associate head coach April 23, saying, "He was an integral part of our success competing in our first year in Hockey East and will continue to be a key part of the growth of this program." He also praised Souza repeatedly throughout the season for his special teams work, particularly on the power play,
While there is some surprise the search for an associate head coach at New Hampshire will not go national, Souza is a likely choice for the position. Souza is the nephew of UNH head coach Dick Umile, who has been the Wildcats' coach since 1990. Umile is expected to retire in 2017, and bringing in Souza—a young, energetic coach with personal ties to the program—will lessen the pains of a transition from a longtime coach.
No word yet on how this move will affect the rest of the coaching staff. Joe Pereira, a 2011 graduate of Boston University, will enter his third season as an assistant coach this year. Former NHL Andrew Raycroft served as a volunteer assistant in 2014-15. Cavanaugh also had two former players on his staff as student assistant coaches last season: Tyler Helton and Bobby Segin, who graduated from UConn in May.