The University of Nebraska at Omaha’s hockey coach Dean Blais announced in a press conference yesterday that he will be stepping down as head coach and will not return to coach for next year.
“I have been extremely fortunate in my career to work in so many good places with so many people who care about the game of hockey,” Blais said. “Omaha is one of those places. Our administration, led by Trev Alberts and Mike Kemp, have been very supportive during my time as UNO head coach, and our fans are some of the best in college hockey.”
Vice Chancellor of Athletics Trev Alberts stated that Blais was a great leader and candidate to coach the hockey program in Omaha, and that he will be missed.
“Dean has been a remarkable leader for our hockey program during the last eight seasons, and he leaves it in a more prominent position nationally than when he began here in 2009,” Alberts said. “Milestones were a regular occurrence on his watch.”
UNO has yet to announce Blais’ replacement for the next season, but the search is already underway. Associate Athletic Director Mike Kemp said that the former coach will aid the program in finding the best suitable candidate.
“As we move forward, Dean will be working with us in the search of his successor,” Kemp said. “We recognize that we have a strong internal candidate, but also will be speaking with external candidates in an expedited process to fill the position. Given all that UNO has to offer and its place in the college hockey landscape, we expect considerable interest in our head coaching position.”
Blais was with the hockey program in eight of his 18 years of his head coaching career. In his eight seasons in Omaha, Blais finished with a record of 146-133-30 and led UNO to its first Frozen Four appearance in 2015.
After losing the third game in a best-of-three series with Western Michigan on Sunday, UNO finished the season with an overall record of 17-17-5.