UConn men’s hockey coach Mike Cavanaugh signed a new six-year contract worth $3.58 million in addition to team-based performance incentives, the school announced on Thursday. The deal makes him one of the highest-paid head coaches in college hockey.
“I want to thank David Benedict, the Board of Trustees and the leadership at the University of Connecticut for their continued commitment to me and our men’s hockey program,” Cavanaugh said in a release. “We have worked hard to build our program into a Hockey East championship contender and are excited to keep building and working until we raise that first championship banner in our new state-of-the-art facility on campus. The future is bright for our hockey team and I am thrilled to be leading this program as we strive to make all of UConn Nation proud.”
The new contract comes as a result of Boston College’s pursuit of Cavanaugh. Following Jerry York’s retirement in April, the Eagles targeted Cavanaugh — who spent 18 years as an assistant at The Heights — as one of their top candidates to replace the legendary head coach. While Cavanaugh met with BC once, he ultimately decided to stay with the program he’s built from the ground up and the school that gave him his first chance at being a head coach.
UConn’s recent commitment to hockey — such as the construction of a new on-campus rink as well as the new contract — also factored into Cavanaugh’s decision.
“I am pleased that Coach Cavanaugh will be leading our men’s hockey program for the foreseeable future,” UConn athletic director David Benedict said in a release. “It is well known that Cav was highly sought after following the 2021-22 season and this contract is more in line with his Hockey East peers whose programs are competing for championships. As our new on-campus hockey facility continues to take shape, this contract reaffirms our investment into the program, and of our intention to compete at the highest level. Cav has put UConn men’s hockey on a great path, and I am excited for what’s to come.”
Cavanaugh had just signed a five-year extension worth $1.9 million in addition to bonuses in May 2021. The coach is now under contract for two extra seasons — through the 2027-28 campaign — and will be paid roughly $240,000 more per year — from $360,000 to $597,000. For comparison, UMass head coach Greg Carvel — who won a national championship in 2021 and has three Hockey East titles under his belt — makes around $500,000 per year, according to the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
UConn is coming off its best season ever under Cavanaugh. At 20-16-0, the Huskies put together their first winning season since 2013-14 and finished in the national polls for the first time ever at No. 19.
They also accomplished plenty of firsts in Hockey East play. UConn’s 14 wins were its most ever in the league, it earned its first victory at Boston College and beat every conference opponent at least once for the first time ever. The Huskies claimed the 4-seed in the Hockey East Playoffs — the fourth time in the last five seasons they’ve been a 4- or 5-seed.
In the postseason, UConn won its first Hockey East playoff game and made a run to the championship, where it fell to defending Hockey East and national champion UMass in overtime.
The future remains bright for the program as well. The team will add its best-ever recruit in Matthew Wood this fall and the new on-campus arena is expected to host its first game in January. Now, UConn has ensured stability at the top by locking Cavanaugh up for another six years.
UConn won 3-1, thanks to an empty-netter in the final minute to seal the deal.— Adam Giardino (@adamgiardino) March 13, 2022
In his 9th season at the helm of @UConnMHOC, Mike Cavanaugh gets to celebrate the program’s first @hockey_east playoff win.
See you Friday at the TD Garden for the semifinals pic.twitter.com/Rk92slMD5d