Men's hockey coach Bob Gaudet becomes winningest coach
On November 30, men’s hockey head coach Bob Gaudet ’81 became the all-time winningest coach in program history with a 3-2 victory over Cornell University. Gaudet, in his 22nd season coaching his alma mater, surpassed former coach Eddie Jeremiah with the 309th win of his career.
“It’s hard for me to put into perspective because I’m coaching a team sport,” Gaudet said. “I really hadn’t thought much about that until it happened. For me to be mentioned in the same breath as Eddie Jeremiah, who was just a legendary and iconic coach at Dartmouth, is really an honor.”
Gaudet did not realize he broke the record until the coach of Cornell congratulated him after the game.
“That was really gracious, and that was my knowledge of it,” Gaudet said. “That was pretty neat.”
While Gaudet did not consider the record, his players knew what was at stake.
“It was definitely in the back of our mind,” captain Kevan Kilistoff ’19 said. “When it came to playing Cornell, they’re a really good team. They’re one of our rivals and they are one of the top teams in our league too, so we figured we needed to win that game and win it for him.”
Gaudet’s 309th win was a product of a life devoted to hockey and his alma mater. Gaudet says his coaching career is owed to George Howe, who coached Gaudet during his playing career at Dartmouth. Howe, who passed away last week, gave Gaudet his first big break as a coach.
“He was a guy who I owe an incredible amount to,” Gaudet said. “I loved him. He was a mentor and a dear friend.”
Gaudet was living in Boston after college when Crowe asked him to join his staff in Hanover. Gaudet’s wife, Lynne (also a member of the Class of 1981), quit her job and the two moved to Hanover.
“We were newly married and I had just started out in coaching,” Gaudet said. “You always think you’re a student of the game, but I hadn’t necessarily prepared myself to be a coach. I had a lot to learn, and George Crowe was my mentor and somebody who I thought the world of. He guided me in the right direction, and here I am 36 years later. I owe George a huge debt of gratitude for getting me into this profession, which has been such a huge part of my life.”
Howe assisted Gaudet throughout his coaching career.
“Over all the years, George was someone who I could lean on and he could offer some sage wisdom or advice or a laugh when I needed it,” Howe said. “He helped me with being a better player, but also being a better person, husband and father just by emulating the way he did things.”
After five years working as an assistant coach for the Big Green, Gaudet became head coach of Brown University. After nine years at Brown, he was offered the position of head coach at Dartmouth.
“Brown was really good to me. I was in my 20s when I became head coach there,” Gaudet said. “It wasn’t like I was looking to leave, but when the opportunity at Dartmouth came about, it was really intriguing to me. It was a place that I could go try to do my job, and I knew my family would be really happy in Hanover.
When Gaudet took the job at Dartmouth, he never imagined that he would be the winningest head coach in program history.
“I started at Dartmouth as an assistant coach and then I went to Brown,” he said. “When I came back to Dartmouth, I had a young family. Never in my wildest imagination did I think that it would happen. You’re so focused on the day-by-day stuff that it kind of just sneaks up on you. Before you know it, it’s 22 years coaching at a program and a school that I love so much and owe so much to.”
Gaudet’s special relationship with Dartmouth is a dream come true for him. All three of his children attended Dartmouth.
“Joey and Jimmy both played hockey here,” Gaudet said. “Who would’ve thought when I graduated that I would be back at Dartmouth, and Lynne and I would have three kids go to Dartmouth? It’s a real blessing. I’m just ecstatic. I love the school and really relish every opportunity I get to represent the place and in maybe in some small way, give something back, because I owe Dartmouth a lot.”
Gaudet makes sure his love for Dartmouth carries over to his players.
“At a place like Dartmouth, these kids have got a really good opportunity to get a great education that’s going to really help them throughout their life,” he says. “I think being part of a team and family where hard work, sacrifice, parking your ego, loyalty and representing something that’s bigger than you are really important things that hopefully I’m able to pass along in some way as a coach.”
Kilistoff appreciates Gaudet’s dedication to the Dartmouth hockey program.
“He pretty much bleeds green,” Kilistoff. “He’s a Dartmouth alum. He’s been coaching for 30 years, and he’s been a coach here for 20-plus years. He just cares so much about this program and this school and about us. His care level and love for the game make him such a great coach.”
Gaudet’s passion for hockey is another aspect that his players appreciate.
“He’s a really passionate coach,” Kilistoff says. “He’s probably the most passionate guy on the team.”
Gaudet embraces his passion for the game, but he also makes sure he develops his players for life beyond hockey.
“I’m passionate about the game, so I’m a little bit more energetic sometimes than some others,” Gaudet said. “I would like to think that I’m a players’ coach, meaning that they’re my main focus and I always try to support them. I have a decent understanding about the bigger picture also. This is something that is part of life. It’s a really good learning process. The game is really important, but I’m trying to make sure the guys on our team know I sincerely care about them beyond hockey.”
Gaudet has many accomplishments during his tenure with the Big Green, but he still has goals he would like to achieve.
“I was fortunate to be able to play in the Frozen Four to compete for a national championship, and that’s what I know our guys aspire to do,” Gaudet said. “We’re a Division I team, we play an outstanding schedule and we want to try to compete at the highest level we possibly can.”
No matter what the results are on the ice, Gaudet is always proud of the program he has helped build.
“It’s a family-like atmosphere,” Gaudet said. “What I’m trying to do is comprehensive excellence, trying to be good across the board and trying to be a model program that we can be proud of.”
Gaudet has savored the experience of coaching at an institution dear to his heart.
“I’ve been blessed,” he said. “I’ve been able to be here and raise my family here and work at a school that I love and a program that I feel really strongly about, so it’s been a great opportunity. Dartmouth’s been good to me.”