When Norm Bazin signed on as head men’s ice hockey coach in 2011, after previously serving as assistant coach from 1996-2000, he returned to his roots and to a team that was ready to win.
And win they did.
In the 2011-2012 season, the River Hawks earned a 24-13-1 record, finished in a tie for second-place in Hockey East and went to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 16 years. With 19 more victories than in 2010-11, he set an NCAA Division I record for largest turnaround by a first-year head coach. Bazin was named the Hockey East and New England Hockey Writers Coach of the Year and was named a finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award. And Bazin led the team’s resurgence to the cheers of record crowds at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell.
Success continued in 2012-2013 as Bazin guided UMass Lowell (28-11-2 overall, 16-9-2 in Hockey East) to a magnificent season, which included several firsts: the Hockey East regular season and tournament championships, the NCAA Tournament Northeast Region Championship and the program's first-ever appearance in the NCAA Frozen Four.
Along the way, Bazin was named the Hockey East Coach of the Year once again as well as the recipient of the Spencer Penrose Award for Division I Men's Coach of the Year.
Bazin, a Notre Dame de Lourdes, Manitoba native, earned recognition as a player for Lowell as well. He scored 68 points in 134 games as a Chief and then as a River Hawk from 1990 to 1994. Most Improved Player, Unsung Hero and Most Spirited awards foreshadowed his dedication to the team. He excelled off the ice as well, always placing on the Dean’s List and receiving the Distinguished Public Service Award from the University for his work with the Special Olympics. Bazin earned his bachelor's degree in criminal justice in just 3 ½ years and earned his master's degree in education administration in 1999.
Recognizing the importance of balancing roles of student-athletes, Bazin encourages his team to take advantage of their time at UMass Lowell.
“Our expectation for not just our own staff and players, but for everyone else involved in the team is excellence. Nothing more, nothing less,” says Bazin. “I don't ask anything of my players that I don't ask of myself, and that’s excellence on and off the ice. Graduating with a world-class degree from the University will serve them well for the rest of their lives.”
Bazin says that there is a new energy on campus since he left and he feels fortunate to be part of the growth happening throughout the University.
“The bar has been set very high and having that unique vision for growth and development is very important for the hockey team,” says Bazin. “We plan to be a microcosm of that same growth and development here on campus.”