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End of an Era: Vaughan Announces Retirement

HAMILTON – After 30 years as the heart and soul of Colgate Men's Hockey, head coach Don Vaughan has announced he is retiring from behind the bench.

HAMILTON – After 30 years as the heart and soul of Colgate Men's Hockey, head coach Don Vaughan has announced he is retiring from behind the bench. 

Vaughan, the nation's third-longest tenured Division I head men's hockey coach, has been at the helm of the Raiders since 1992. He leaves with 470 victories, making him the winningest coach in program history. His feats include six 20-win seasons, four NCAA tournament berths, and two ECAC Coach of the Year awards. 

"It has been a privilege for me to have served as head coach of the Colgate men's hockey program for 30 years," said Vaughan. "It is hard to believe that so many years have passed since Colgate Athletic Director Mark Murphy '77 gave a young assistant coach this opportunity in 1992.

"In all of these years I never once looked at Colgate Hockey as my program. I was simply the mantle holder and I have had so much help along the way. I am so very fortunate to have worked alongside so many wonderful and talented administrators, assistant coaches, staff, and colleagues. Thank you to our alumni and Silver Puck Members as well as Silver Puck President Jerry Quill '60. Your support over many years has always amazed me."

Vaughan's announcement comes on the heels of an unforgettable postseason run after guiding Colgate to its first ECAC Hockey championship since 1990. Vaughan's Raiders knocked off No. 2 Quinnipiac 2-1 in double-overtime in the semifinals before beating No. 6 Harvard in the championship, marking the first tournament title during Vaughan's tenure. 

"Don has been a wonderful coach and leader at Colgate for over 30 years," said Colgate President Brian W. Casey.  "He has pursued and achieved both athletics success and academic excellence for his teams and student-athletes. He has been a model of what Colgate seeks in our head coaches."

Leadership Goes Far Beyond the Ice
Under Vaughan's leadership, men's hockey has continued to focus on graduating individuals committed to good citizenship and sportsmanship. The program seeks not only the championship trophy, but the best and brightest undergraduates to hoist it.

Vaughan has developed and mentored more than 200 Academic All-ECAC members, 56 All-ECAC Hockey honors, seven All-Americans, five Hobey Baker Award finalists, three Colgate 1819 award winners, two ECAC Hockey Players of the Year, one NHL Stanley Cup winner, an ECAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and one Hockey Humanitarian Award winner.

"Don has exemplified Colgate and Colgate Hockey over the past 30 years," said Interim Vice President and Athletics Director Yariv Amir '01. "He, and his staff, have recruited and mentored exceptional student-athletes that have excelled both on the ice and in the classroom. He has led a program that is active within the Hamilton community and turned first Starr Rink, and later the Class of 1965 Arena, into a gathering place for both the Colgate and Hamilton communities."

Vaughan has coached 36 Raiders who went on to be drafted in the NHL — or were drafted prior to coming to Colgate. The 2022-23 team includes two NHL draftees in forward Alex Young and goalie Carter Gylander

Another 34 Colgate players who were coached by Vaughan signed with NHL teams after graduating. They include Andy McDonald, who won a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks. 

The most recent Colgate alumnus to sign with an NHL team was Bobby McMann, who made his debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier this season.

Career Coaching Milestones
Vaughan is stepping down from a post he's held since the 1992-93 season, when the Raiders played in the Starr Rink and Colgate was under the leadership of President Neil R. Grabois. 

One of Vaughan's most impressive achievements was leading the program to the ECAC Hockey tournament on a near-annual basis. In his three decades at the helm, Colgate made 27 appearances in the playoffs and reached the ECAC championship weekend on 14 occasions.

In his final season, Colgate hosted the first round of the playoffs, a one-game knock-out contest against Dartmouth. The Raiders prevailed in a 5-3 victory. 

It would be Vaughan's final game at the Class of 1965 Arena. 

The win over the Big Green set up a best-of-three quarterfinals on the road against St. Lawrence. The Raiders swept the series, setting the stage for the team's championship run in Lake Placid. 

"I am proud of the work we have done here with so many people past and present," added Vaughan. "The time is right. It has always been my intention that when the time comes for retirement that I leave the program in a good place. The program is poised to continue to challenge for more championships in the future." 

In the 2017-18 season, the Raiders made their 24th ECAC Hockey tournament appearance, which was Vaughan's 25th season as coach. In that same season, the team defeated Brown 2-1, giving Vaughan his 400th career win at Colgate. At the time, he became only the 24th coach in Division I NCAA ice hockey history to reach the milestone. 

In 2016-17, he guided Colgate to its 1,000th win in program history, becoming the eighth ECAC Hockey program and 23rd team in college hockey history to pull off the feat. 

In 2013-14 and 2014-15, the Raiders had back-to-back 20 win seasons, earning a national ranking that was as high as No. 4 in both polls in 2014-15. The team reached to the ECAC Championship game in both seasons and advanced to the NCAA tournament in 2013-14.

Vaughan's Colgate career includes a stint as interim athletics director, a role he filled during the 2003-04 season, which required him to step away from the team. 

Coaching Honors
Vaughan, a two-time ECAC Hockey Coach of the Year, first led Colgate to national prominence during the 1999-00 season when he coached the Raiders to the NCAA East Regional and a final ranking of No. 9 in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine national poll. Vaughan's effort in leading his team to 24 victories earned him his first ECAC Coach of the Year accolade.

In 2004, Vaughan was presented with a Silver Puck Award by Colgate's Silver Puck Club for his work with the Raider hockey program, before adding to his accolades in 2005 by being honored with the Maroon Citation for his record of service to the University.

On Nov. 11, 2007, Colgate University announced the creation of the Donald F. Vaughan Endowed Coaching Chair for Men's Ice Hockey. Vaughan at the time was the only active coach in Division I Men's Hockey to have an endowment in his name.

Playing Career
A 1984 graduate of St. Lawrence, Vaughan played three seasons of varsity hockey for the Saints after earning All-America status in his only season at Canton College. While with the Saints, Vaughan tallied 41 goals and 49 assists for 90 points in 96 games as a center. 

In 1983, Vaughan and St. Lawrence earned an NCAA tournament appearance and first-place finish in the ECAC's West Region. He graduated from St. Lawrence in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in economics, later earning a master's degree in general studies in 1987.

Vaughan, a native of Almonte, Ontario, and his wife Mariel have two children, Mark of Dublin, Ireland, and Maria of Albany, New York.

"As my father often said you can grow old, just don't ever grow up," added Vaughan. "Mariel and I are looking forward to the next chapter and enjoying a quieter life here in the Hamilton and Colgate Communities."

A national search for the next Donald F. Vaughan Head Men's Ice Hockey Coach will begin immediately.