UConn hockey coach Mike Cavanaugh commits to program amid reports he is candidate for BC job

UConn’s head hockey coach Mike Cavanaugh speaks at a press conference at Webster Bank Arena, in Bridgeport, Conn. March 25, 2019. The Connecticut Ice hockey tournament and festival, involving the teams from Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart, UConn and Yale will be held the arena in January 2020.

UConn’s head hockey coach Mike Cavanaugh speaks at a press conference at Webster Bank Arena, in Bridgeport, Conn. March 25, 2019. The Connecticut Ice hockey tournament and festival, involving the teams from Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart, UConn and Yale will be held the arena in January 2020.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

UConn hockey coach Mike Cavanaugh was identified as a leading candidate to replace Jerry York when the legendary Boston College coach announced his retirement last week.

But on Thursday, Cavanaugh expressed his commitment to UConn.

Cavanaugh issued a statement on social media saying he is “committed to continuing to lead this program into a bright future!”

The Boston College job was not mentioned in the statement, but Cavanaugh is clearly addressing reports that he is a candidate. An early report on Twitter identified Cavanaugh as York’s likely replacement and other reports placed him on the Chestnut Hill campus last week.

Cavanaugh, a Massachusetts native, was an assistant at BC from 1995 to 2013 before taking over at UConn as the program was set to join Hockey East.

“I have never been more excited and optimistic about the future of our hockey program,” Cavanaugh said in the statement. “Our student-athletes and coaches have worked so hard to build UConn hockey into a contender for championships in one of the most competitive conferences in in the country, but my aspirations for this program are yet to be realized.”

UConn (20-16) reached the Hockey East finals this season, losing to UMass in overtime. UConn is also constructing an on-campus arena after playing home games at the XL Center in Hartford during its transition to Hockey East over the past decade.

“Our team has a tremendous amount of momentum behind it, a state-of-the-art facility coming online in less than a year, and outstanding support from university leadership and all of UConn Nation,” Cavanaugh said.

Cavanaugh has been with UConn athletic director David Benedict in Florida for meetings this week. Benedict said Wednesday that UConn was doing whatever it could to retain Cavanaugh.

“We’re having great dialogue and we obviously hope that he’s at UConn for a long time,” Benedict said Wednesday.

paul.doyle@hearstmediact.com