UNO Director of Athletics Trev Alberts announced Friday that hockey coach Dean Blais has received a contract extension through the 2017-18 season.
“Dean has done an exceptional job leading our team through a period of great transition during the last four years,” said Alberts. “In that time he led the team into two new leagues, the WCHA and the NCHC, and his experience and knowledge of the leagues and the Division I hockey landscape was critical to our success. Next year, he will guide us through additional transition as we move into the new arena. This extension will allow us to ensure the continuity of our coaching staff and the recent positive momentum we’ve had recruiting quality student-athletes to our program.”
The Mavericks went 17-18-2 this past season, 13-9-2 in the NCHC good for third place. They had been picked to finish last in the league in a preseason coaches poll.
For the second straight year, Blais produced a Top 10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given to Division I’s top player. Josh Archibald earned the honor while setting a new school record for goals in a season and leading the NCHC in scoring.
“When I came to Omaha, Trev and I had a goal of building an on-campus arena and I’m excited that this extension will allow me to see UNO athletics reach that goal,” said Blais. "We consistently rank in the top five in attendance each year and that proves what a great hockey community Omaha is. We’ve got a very good core of returning players and what is perceived to be a great recruiting class coming in. As a coach you want to work with great players with strong community support behind your team and we have that here.”
Blais has compiled a record of 91-86-18 in five years as the Mavs’ head coach. He has guided UNO to two 20-win seasons and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2011, the second in school history. During that season, he was named the WCHA’s Coach of the Year after leading the Mavs to a third-place finish in their first year in the league after being picked to finish eighth in the preseason polls.
Blais, a 1973 graduate of Minnesota, has posted a record of 353-201-51 in his 15-year career as a head coach, a record that includes 10 years at North Dakota. He is a two-time Spencer Penrose Memorial Award winner as the Division I Coach of the Year and a four-time winner of the WCHA’s Coach of the Year Award. He led North Dakota to national championships in 1997 and 2000.