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This just in: Four more years for MacDonald

February 1, 2008

The Lowell Sun is reporting that UMass Lowell head coach Blaise MacDonald has been extended through the 2011-2012 season.

This, for a myriad of reasons, is great for the program. First, MacDonald successfully steered the River Hawks away from the jagged and perilous shores of non-being and for that alone deserves an extra two years at least. But the fact that a team so young is doing so well under his guidance, better than a team with several seniors last year is not only remarkable, but an encouraging sign of things to come.

No coincidence, either, that when the University finally starts supporting the team in earnest that things start breaking its way. The former laisez-faire attitude toward the team is the only welcome casualty of last summer’s long regional nightmare. With the support of the school’s administration and under MacDonald’s hyper-energetic guidance, this team has flourished.

The third reason is that the River Hawks have been academically excellent since MacDonald took over. Lowell has led Hockey East in the number of student-athletes placed on the All-Academic team for the past three seasons. The River Hawks saw 13 players make the grade (get it?) last season, 11 the year before that, and 17(!) in 2004-05.

MacDonald has been UMass Lowell’s coach since 2000, taking over from Maine’s current bench boss, Tim Whitehead. Though MacDonald has compiled a 96-117-32 record through seven seasons at the helm, Lowell has been both up (as high as No. 3 in the country) and down (missing the Hockey East playoffs).

And allow us to editorialize for a moment on the superb coverage from the Lowell Sun. We’ll give them all the credit in the world for bringing up the team’s success this year, but before they even did that, they first had to mention MacDonald’s OUI. We’re all for full disclosure, of course, but that’s hardly the point of what should be an otherwise positive article for the program.

For whatever reason, the Sun feels as though it has to include “OUI OUI OUI OUI” like the article was being dictated by a loud, agreeable Parisian every time it mentions MacDonald. No wonder we wouldn’t line birdcage with their broadsheet.

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