March 28, 2017
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After leading the University of Notre Dame hockey team to its first Frozen Four appearance since 2011, head coach Jeff Jackson was named one of 10 finalists for the Spencer Penrose Award, recognizing the NCAA Division I Men’s Hockey Coach of the Year, on Tuesday.
Voting on the award will be conducted prior to the Frozen Four, which will be hosted by Notre Dame in Chicago, and the winner will be announced on April 5.
Jackson, now in his 12th season behind the Irish bench, has led Notre Dame to the third Frozen Four in his tenure, having also reached the semifinals in 2008 and 2011, including a national title game appearance in 2008. The Irish will face No. 1 Denver at 9:30 p.m. ET Thursday in the second semifinal game at the United Center.
This year marks the eighth NCAA tournament appearance for the Irish under Jackson. Notre Dame is 8-8-0 in NCAA Championship games since Jackson took the helm. The Irish advanced to the Frozen Four after defeating No. 1 seed Minnesota 3-2 Friday in the first round in Manchester, New Hampshire, and going on to oust second-seeded and fourth-ranked UMass Lowell in a 3-2 overtime thriller on Sunday. The win over the River Hawks was Jackson’s 450th career victory.
Jackson is also a past recipient of the Spencer Penrose Award, previously earning the honor in 2007. He also coached at Lake Superior State from 1990-96, leading the Lakers to six NCAA appearances and NCAA titles in 1992 and 1994, while also leading the Lakers to a championship game appearance in 1993.
The Spencer Penrose Award is named in memory of the Colorado Springs benefactor who built the Broadmoor Hotel Complex, site of the first 10 NCAA championship hockey tournaments. The actual award will be presented at the AHCA Coach of the Year Banquet in Naples, Florida, on Wednesday evening, April 26. The AHCA Coach of the Year Awards are chosen by members of the American Hockey Coaches Association and sponsored by CCM.
2016-2017 AHCA Men’s Ice Hockey
Spencer Penrose Award Finalists
(CCM/AHCA Division I Coach of the Year)
Norm Bazin, UMass Lowell, Hockey East Coach of the Year*
Rick Bennett, Union, ECAC Hockey Coach of the Year*
Ted Donato, Harvard, NCAA Semi-Finalist
Tony Granato, Wisconsin, Big Ten Coach of the Year
Jeff Jackson, Notre Dame, NCAA Semi-Finalist*
Jim Montgomery, Denver, NCAA Semi-Finalist
Andy Murray, Western Michigan, NCHC Coach of the Year
Scott Sandelin, Minnesota Duluth, NCAA Semi-Finalist*
Tom Serratore, Bemidji State, WCHA Coach of the Year
Dave Smith, Canisius, Atlantic Hockey Coach of the Year
* Past Spencer Penrose Award Winner
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, and earned her master’s degree in sports industry management from Georgetown University in 2013.