DURHAM, N.H. – Dick Umile, head coach of the University of New Hampshire men's hockey team, has announced the hiring of Jim Tortorella as associate head coach of the program. Tortorella comes to New Hampshire after a 16-year stint as head coach at Colby College, where he led the Mules to an impressive 230-138-33 record in that span and leaves his mark as the program's all-time leader in career wins.
A highly respected coach throughout the New England region, Tortorella brings a wealth of experience to Durham and will work primarily with the UNH defense. Tortorella replaces former associate coach David Lassonde, who was recently named the assistant coach at the University of Denver.
"I'm extremely excited to bring Jim Tortorella on staff," Umile said. "Jim brings immense experience and is one of the most well-respected coaches in college hockey. I worked with Jim in 1993-94 and its great to bring him back on staff after his successes at Colby. Jim's experiences make him the perfect fit for this job and will be a big asset to UNH men's hockey."
In his time with the Colby hockey program, Tortorella led the Mules to 11 NESCAC playoff appearances, a trio of ECAC playoff appearances, an ECAC championship and a trip to the NCAA tournament. Tortorella's best campaign came during the 2007-08 season, when he was selected as the NESCAC Coach of the Year and the New England Hockey Writers Coach of the Year after guiding the Mules to a first place finish and host for the league's final four. He was also selected as the NESCAC Coach of the Year following the 2005-06 season.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to come back to UNH," Tortorella said. "Having worked with Dick and Scott (Borek) in the past, this was the only program I would have left Colby to come to. I truly appreciate the family atmosphere that Dick conveys and how he treats his staff and players. I am excited about the opportunity to work with a program that competes for a national championship each year and I hope to help continue to elevate the program. I am grateful to Dick and the entire athletic department for the opportunity to come back to Durham."
In addition to his duties at Colby, Tortorella has long been a mentor to some of the best young players in the United States as he was named the assistant coach for both the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 USA World Junior Teams. Tortorella also serves as the director of player development for the USA Hockey affiliates of New England for six years. As a reflection of his versatility and esteem in the hockey community, Tortorella was elected president of the prestigious American Hockey Coaches Association in 2001, and in 2005 was selected as vice president of the AHCA's Hockey's Coaches Care Charitable foundation.
A former standout goalie at the University of Maine, Tortorella began his coaching career at Brunswick High School in Maine from 1984-87. He went on to coach at Cony High School in Augusta, Maine, where he earned State of Maine Coach of the Year honors two times over a five-year span. Prior to his time at Colby, Tortorella served as an assistant coach at UNH as a member of Umile's staff. Tortorella currently holds the highest level of coaching education achievement within USA Hockey, the master certificate, and was a finalist for the 1995-96, 2005-06, and 2007-08 National Division III Coach of the Year honors.