Dick Umile, head coach of the UNH Wildcats will be retiring following the end of this season. Umile has been a head coach at the University of New Hampshire for 28 seasons. In 22 of those seasons he coached the Wildcats to winning record. Umile has always been a Wildcat; he was a player from 1969 till 1972. During his time on the ice, Umile talied 60 goals and 84 assists. As the captain of the Wildcats, Umile led them to the ECAC Semi-Finals for the first time in school history.
Umile was drafted by the Saint Louis Blues following his senior season, however he was out of professional hockey by 1975. Not to mention, he is 12th all time in UNH history with a 1.66 points per game average. His coaching career at UNH began in 1988 as an assistant coach. He took over for Bob Kullen as head coach in 1990. As head coach he has accumulated 586 wins, good enough for 9th all time among Division 1 head coaches. Not bad.
Watertown High School
Dick Umile is a native of Melrose Massachusetts. At Melrose High School, Umile excelled at hockey and football. Melrose High honored Umile by inducting him into their athletic Hall of Fame. His hockey career at Melrose was quite memorable; three-time all-star, all-scholastic captain, as well as a three-time Middlesex League Champ. As a captain; Umile used his skills as a motivator and a team player to win in high school. Umile transferred his experience as a high school player to a high school coach.
The Watertown High School Red Raiders were enthused to announce Umile as head coach of the hockey team in 1975. Defense and hustle were a part of Umile’s strong suit. With this in mind he took great care in demanding them from his players. When Watertown hired Umile, they were in the basement of the Middlesex league. Umile’s knowledge for the sport and the respect he commanded from his players put them in awe. The Red Raiders’ play increased significantly. By teaching his boys what the word “team” was all about, they got better every year, culminating into a state championship in 1985. Umile proved his worth as a coach by taking a basement dwelling group of individuals into a dominant state championship team. Watch his Watertown High induction ceremony here.
Dick Umile’s success at the high school level attracted the attention of several college coaches. Mike McShane, former teammate of Umile at UNH, was the new head coach for the Providence College Friars. McShane knew the knowledge Umile possessed for the game of hockey and brought him to the college level. Umile went on to return to the University of New Hampshire following the 1987 season. Bob Kullen, who stepped aside due to a rare heart condition brought Umile back home. Umile served as assistant coach for two seasons until Bob Kullen tragically lost his battle with the rare heart condition.
Umile’s first season under the helm, 1990-1991, was the Wildcat’s first winning season in seven long years. That year is dedicated to Bob Kullen. This also lead Umile to his first Hockey East Coach of the Year Award, which is now named in Bob Kullen’s honor. Umile has led the Wildcats to twenty 20+ wins in a single season, four NCAA Tournament appearances, ten Hockey East regular season titles, as well as making it all the way to the championship games in 1999 and 2003, only to lose in heart-breaking fashion. Umile is a six time Bob Kullen Hockey East Coach of the Year Award winner. The college hockey world will miss Umile behind the bench, but are forever grateful for his contributions.
Cover image courtesy of WMUR.com.