After Many Close Calls, Colgate’s Coach of 30 Years Finally an ECAC Tournament Champion
by Joshua Seguin/Staff Writer (@JoshSeguin24)
For 30 years, Don Vaughan has been at the helm of Colgate. He’s had good teams in that time, but never before had he raised the Whitelaw Cup as an ECAC champion.
The wait for Vaughan and Colgate ended Saturday night, as the Raiders finished off a surprise run through the ECAC Tournament from the 5 seed, holding off Harvard to win 3-2.
“Wow, just wow,” Vaughan said. “I have been sitting in this position for a long time, but not on this end of it. I am just incredibly proud of this team, who bought into playing our game and they didn’t get away from it at all.
“Somebody along the way once said that good things come to those who wait. Well, I have been doing this for 30 years and I am thrilled that we finally won a championship to bring back to our wonderful fans at Colgate. I have so much going through my head right now.”
Vaughan took over during an emotional time, as well. A young coach who’d been an assistant in the league for a few years, he was thrust into the position after the untimely passing of Terry Slater in the middle of the 1991-92 season. Slater led Colgate to its only other ECAC championship, in 1990, the year it went to the NCAA final.
Vaughan went on to have many good teams, coaching Hobey Baker Award finalists, and going to three previous NCAA Tournaments. The 2000 team, led by Andy McDonald, may have been the best. That team fell behind 3-0 to Michigan in the NCAAs, rallied to tie, and thought it had it won in overtime, but officials didn’t elect to review a close play. That game led to the decision to use video replay in full. It was little consolation; Michigan went on to win.
As time wore down Saturday and the final bell rang, Vaughan knelt down to the bench, put his face into it and let the emotions all come out. Vaughan typically has a very mellow temperament on the bench, but you could tell he was thinking about all the times of trying.
“I was pretty emotional there,” said Vaughan. “It felt like a film, or a DVD, or whatever we use today on fast forward; everything was racing through my mind. There was just a lot of emotion there and I am just very lucky.”
Colgate won a regular-season title in 2003-04, the year Vaughan stepped aside to temporarily be the athletic…
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