Paul Flanagan becomes 7th head coach to win 400 games

first_img Published on January 26, 2020 at 10:33 pm Contact Gaurav: [email protected] Brynn Koocher’s goal five minutes into the third period against Robert Morris made history. Koocher’s game-winner helped head coach Paul Flanagan earn his 400th-career win, launching him into the record books as one of seven women’s collegiate hockey coaches to reach the milestone.It was the latest building block in his career, one that has a short-term quest to repeat as College Hockey America champions. Flanagan started the Syracuse women’s ice hockey program back in March 2008 and has since turned the program from inexperienced newcomers to contenders. In the almost 12 years Flanagan has been at SU (8-16-1, 7-4-1 CHA), he’s amassed 171 wins. On Jan. 18, his career number reached 400. “I don’t know,” Flanagan said, “Somebody brought it up in the locker room after and I think I just kind of downplayed it.”Flanagan began coaching at his alma mater, St. Lawrence, where he played hockey and served as team captain during his senior year. Six years later, he returned to the Saints as an assistant coach for the men’s team. Flanagan stayed for 11 seasons next to Joe Marsh and then became the head coach of the women’s program when its former coach took the head athletic trainer position with the Saints.In that role, Flanagan excelled. He won 230 games, took his team to five NCAA Frozen Fours — including four straight — and never had a losing season. After the 2000-01 season he was named the American Hockey Coaches Association Coach of the Year, a season the Saints finished second in the NCAA tournament. Flanagan’s first win as head coach was a 4-0 shutout against Mercyhurst on Friday, Oct. 22 1999, when some of his current players weren’t even born.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textNine years after his first win, Flanagan came to Syracuse to start a brand-new program, sacrificing wins and delaying individual achievements. But progress didn’t take long. After only two seasons, SU was in the CHA tournament final. From there, the Orange made five finals in seven seasons but lost them all.“I recognize that when I left St. Lawrence we really had it going pretty well you know, the wins were coming in a little bit easier initially and I recognize that coming here and starting from scratch,” Flanagan said. “I certainly wasn’t worried about my win-loss record. You don’t worry about that.”Roshan Fernandez | Asst. Digital EditorThat humility is what has endeared Flanagan to the countless players, coaches and staff that he has worked with over his career. His reputation reached future Orange players before they even came to Syracuse.“Everyone always had good things to say,” Lindsay Eastwood said. “So it was comforting knowing I was gonna be in good hands.”Assistant coach Julie Knerr played almost 150 games in four years as a player at SU and has now been Flanagan’s assistant for two seasons. Associate head coach Brendon Knight has been with the program for eight years. Prior to the 400th win they both said they didn’t think Flanagan even knew about his upcoming milestone.“He was obviously very, very successful in St. Lawrence, they won a lot of games there,” Knight said. “It’s taken us a little longer here, but it just speaks to his longevity and the amount of successful teams he’s had.”I certainly wasn’t worried about my win-loss record. You don’t worry about that.- Head coach Paul Flanagan, downplaying the importance of his 400th winIt all came together last year as SU won their first CHA championship. Flanagan needed 11 years to win and punch his team’s ticket to the NCAA tournament for the first time. After the Orange beat Robert Morris in the conference title game, players began to chant “GOAT” on the team bus. The title stuck and former players now refer to Flanagan as “GOAT.”All six coaches ahead of Flanagan for all-time wins have stayed at the same program over their careers, unlike Flanagan who left St Lawrence. Flanagan credits some of the great players he’s had for many of his wins. But in the week leading up to his eventual victory the record was on his mind, just in a different type of way.“It’s just another sign that I’m old,” Flanagan chuckled. “Yup, that’s just another sign I’m old.”Assistant Sports Editor Mitchell Bannon contributed reporting to this piece. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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