Witt Announces Women's Ice Hockey Staff

DURHAM, N.H. – University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey head coach Hilary Witt announced Thursday that Stephanie Jones will be returning for her ninth year on the Wildcats' staff, and that Bill Bowes has been hired as an assistant coach and will join the program immediately.

"I am incredibly fortunate to have Stephanie and Bill on this staff," first-year head coach Witt said. "Stephanie has been here for many years as an assistant coach and was also an amazing player here. Her hockey knowledge, combined with her experience at UNH, is unmatched.

"Bill has not only coached for over 30 years at every level, he has been incredibly successful at every level," continued Witt. "I couldn't be more excited to have him join my staff. He possesses unbelievable experience and knowledge. Both Stephanie and Bill bring the character and respect for the history of our game that I was looking for to complete this UNH staff."

Jones, a four-year UNH letterwinner who graduated in 2005, joined the UNH coaching staff as an assistant coach in summer 2006 and served as interim co-head coach the final 15 games last season. In eight years with Jones on the bench, the Wildcats have a 151-100-27 overall record with three Hockey East regular-season and tournament titles (2007-08-09) and four NCAA tournament appearances (2007-08-09-10).  In that four-year NCAA tourney span, the 'Cats went 104-23-16 for a .783 winning percentage.

"I was honored when Coach Witt asked me to stay on and be a part of her staff for the UNH women's ice hockey program", said Jones, who was an assistant coach at Colgate University for one season (2006) prior to returning to her alma mater. "UNH holds a special place in my heart and I could not think of a better place to work. I am also looking forward to rebuilding this program and to help get it back to where it once was."

Bowes, whose coaching career began at Worcester Academy in 1979, comes to New Hampshire from Castleton State College (Castleton, Vt.), where as head coach he led the Spartans to a program-best three-year win total of 35, including a single-season high 16 wins last season when Castleton finished as ECAC East runner-up and two student-athletes became the first in program history to receive All-America recognition.

"I am thrilled to accept this position at the University of New Hampshire," Bowes said. "I feel extremely fortunate to have this opportunity of working with the elite women's hockey players of the world and the chance to work with two of the best and brightest women coaches in the game today.

"My name is one of the most famous names in UNH coaching history, and I have had nothing to do with it," Bowes added. "My hope is that I can do my small part to help make the name Hilary Witt as revered and respected as the former UNH football coach."

In his first season at Castleton, Bowes led the team to its first double-digit win campaign with a 10-14-2 overall record in 2011-12; CSC recorded its first ever ECAC East tournament victory and he was honored as the conference's Coach of the Year – it marked the fifth such award in his career. 

The Spartans followed that with its first home conference playoff game in program history in 2012-13 and established team records for most goals scored in a single season as well as fewest goals allowed; and under Bowes' tutelage, three Spartans were selected to the ECAC East All-Rookie Team, including the Rookie of the Year.

Prior to his three-year stint at Castleton, Bowes spent seven seasons (2005-11) as an assistant coach with the College of the Holy Cross women's ice hockey program. He helped the Crusaders to three consecutive ECAC Open Tournament titles (2009-11) that included a 24-2-1 overall record in 2009 and 20-4-2 mark in 2010.

Before Holy Cross, Bowes was head coach of the men's hockey team at Wentworth Institute of Technology from 1995-2004. Bowes took a winless program to new heights with four conference championships and three NCAA tournament appearances. During his tenure with the Leopards, he was honored as both the ECAC North/Central/South Coach of the Year and New England Hockey Writers Coach of the Year in 1998 and 2000.

Bowes began his coaching career as head coach at Worcester Academy from 1979-86 and then went to Assumption College, where he was named New England Hockey Writers Coach of the Year twice (1992, 1994), from 1986-95. His other hockey experience includes the Phillips Exeter Academy Hockey School, where he served as instructor and off ice administrator (1985-98) and director (1998-2003).

Bowes graduated from Worcester State College in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in Psychology and earned a master's degree in Counseling from Fitchburg State in 1985. He was a four-year letterwinner as a goaltender on the WSC hockey team and won the ECAC Division III title on the 1977 team that was inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000. Bowes was also part of the 1973 schoolboy hockey Division I championship team that was inducted into the Auburn High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003.

Jones was a highly-accomplished player before starting her coaching career. She played in 142 games as a UNH Wildcat and averaged 1.00 points per game with 142 points, which ranked 15th on the program's all-time leaderboard in 2005. She also graduated in the Top 10 – at No. 10 – on the career goals list with 78. Those numbers are currently No. 18 in points and 11th in goals. Jones led the 'Cats in goals three of four years and was the team's top point producer as a sophomore in '03. 

The native of Kimberley, British Columbia was a member of the 2004 Canada National Women's Under-22 Team and then captained UNH as the team's only senior in 2005, when she was named Hockey East Player of the Year and a First Team All-Star for the second time.

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