The winningest coach in Ivy League history added another award to his resume on Monday.
In his 23rd season at the helm of the program, head coach Mike Schafer ’86 earned ECAC Hockey’s Tim Taylor Coach of the Year award after guiding his squad to one of the best regular seasons of his tenure.
With 437 career wins, Schafer is the winningest coach in program history, and previously won Coach of the Year honors in 2002, 2003 and 2005. The bench boss earned his first unbeaten slate of Ivy League games since 1996, his first year at the helm, to claim his ninth Ivy championship as coach.
The Red’s 23-4-2 regular season record is its best under Schafer since the 2002-03 season, when the team advanced to the Frozen Four. Cornell is on its way to its 11th NCAA tournament appearance under Schafer.
The former defenseman and captain led the Red to a league title his senior year, and immediately took on an assistant coach role with Cornell. After working as an assistant coach at Western Michigan for five years, Schafer returned to his alma mater for the 1995-96 season.
In typical Cornell and Schafer fashion, the trademark of this year’s team was defense. Led by the emergence of freshman goaltender Matt Galajda, the Red sports college hockey’s best goals per game allowed, at 1.45. Offensively, Cornell scores 3.23 goals per game, 10th-best in the country.
With 10 freshmen on the roster, Schafer’s squad has far surpassed expectations this season, dominating the ECAC after being picked to place third in the conference in media and coaches’ preseason polls.
In the USCHO national poll, the Red opened the season at No. 15, but now sits at No. 2, and has been in the top five for 12 straight weeks.
Schafer will seek his sixth ECAC championship as his team takes the ice at Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid this weekend for the ECAC semifinals.