Niagara men’s hockey coach Dave Burkholder has agreed to a multi-year contract that continues his leadership of the Purple Eagle program through 2009-10, interim director of athletics Bill Agronin announced today.
Burkholder, who enters his sixth season, agreed to a two-year deal after having two years remaining on his current contract, Agronin said.
“I am very happy that Dave has agreed to remain at Niagara for the additional years,” Agronin said. “He has proven not only to be a very good coach and a mentor to his players, but a fine representative of our athletics program.”
“Dave has done a wonderful job of handling our men’s hockey program both on and off the ice,” said Niagara University president Rev. Joseph L. Levesque. “His team exceeded all expectations this past season, and Dave was rightfully named coach of the year in the CHA. But equally impressive is the academic performance of his players, who are truly student-athletes. Niagara University is proud of Dave, and we are happy to extend his contract so that he can continue to give strong leadership.”
Burkholder was one of 11 finalists for the 2005-06 Spencer Penrose Award, given to the Division I men’s national coach of the year by the American Hockey Coaches Association. He was selected to the list after being honored with the 2005-06 College Hockey America Coach of the Year Award.
“It has been 10 magnificent years here at Niagara University for me and my family,” Burkholder said. “The confidence and support that Father Levesque has provided me means a great deal. I welcome the opportunity and challenges that lie ahead.”
Under Burkholder, the Purple Eagles won the Peters Cup as the CHA’s regular-season champion with records of 20-15-1 and 13-6-1 this past season. Niagara advanced to the conference tournament title game en route to locking up at least 20 victories for the third time in program history.
Meanwhile, Burkholder coached this year’s CHA Co-Player of the Year, both of the CHA’s Rookies of the Year, one CHA first-team honoree and three second-team selections. He also led a squad that had 12 members named to the CHA All-Academic Team, which was the fourth-straight season that Niagara had at least 10 student-athletes make the all-academic list.
Since taking over the program, Burkholder holds a coaching record of 88-83-12, and won his 50th CHA contest when he defeated Air Force Feb. 11, becoming only the third coach in conference history to reach that milestone. He has had a 100 percent graduation rate and the Purple Eagles as a squad has posted a 3.0-or-higher team grade-point average in seven consecutive semesters.
In all, Burkholder has been behind the bench for Niagara’s two trips to the NCAA Tournament, the first as an assistant (1999-00) and the other as the head coach (2003-04).