Don Vaughan enters his 25th year as head coach at Colgate and has the most wins in program history. He begins the 2017-18 campaign with a career record of 390-403-92.
Under Vaughan’s tutelage, Colgate has enjoyed six 20-win seasons, three NCAA tournament berths, and 23 appearances in the ECAC Hockey tournament.
Additionally, he has guided the Raiders to nine ECAC semifinal clashes, including back-to-back appearances in the ECAC Championship that marked the program’s first trip to the finals since the 1989-90 season. The two-time (2000 & 2014) ECAC Coach of the Year has mentored four Hobey Baker Award finalists, five All-Americans, two ECAC Players of the Year, an ECAC Goaltender of the Year, two ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District I honorees, three ECAC Merit Medal recipients, a Hockey Humanitarian Award winner, a Senior CLASS Award selection and 47 All-ECAC Hockey selections.
Vaughan’s disciples have also enjoyed success at the professional level, with 13 former Raiders from Vaughan’s time behind the Colgate bench having gone on to appear in at least one NHL contest. That total includes former standouts Chris Wagner and Kyle Baun, who both made their NHL debuts during the 2014-15 regular season.
His commitment to success is not limited to the ice, however, as Vaughan has continually demonstrated the importance of education to his student-athletes. During his tenure, Vaughan has graduated 99 percent of his players. Since the creation of the award in 2000, Vaughan’s athletes have been named to the ECAC Hockey All-Academic Team more than 50 times.
The 2016-17 season was highlighted by Vaughan guiding the Raiders to the 1,000th win in program history, becoming the eighth ECAC Hockey program to reach the mark and 23rd in all of college hockey. Jake Kulevich was named to the ECAC Hockey Third Team while fellow senior Brett Corkey was a finalist for the league’s defensive defenseman award. Freshman Ben Sharf represented the program internationally in the Maccabiah Games held in Israel during the month of July, one of two ECAC Hockey players competing in the tournament. In addition to the on-ice accolades, a program record 20 players were named to league’s All-Academic team.
In 2015-16, Vaughan added another All-ECAC Hockey player as Tyson Spink was named to the third team after a stellar 14-goal and 37-point season. In addition, 15 players were named to the All-Academic team and incoming freshman Colton Point became the 33rd player in program history to be selected in the NHL Draft. The Raiders were also ranked in the top 20 of the USCHO.com Preseason poll for the second straight season.
The Raiders enjoyed another stellar campaign during the 2014-15 season, compiling a 22-12-4 overall mark and an 11-7-4 record in league play, advancing to the title game of the ECAC Hockey Championship for a second straight season. Colgate was ranked for a majority of the campaign, reaching as high as No. 4 in both polls during a three-week span in late October-early November.
Vaughan reached a personal milestone during the campaign as he posted the 350th victory of his career with a 3-0 shutout of Northeastern on Oct. 17, becoming just one of 11 active coaches at the Division I level to have the plateau during his career.
The Raiders enjoyed plenty of individual success during the year. Senior defenseman Spiro Goulakos was the recipient of the prestigious Senior CLASS Award, given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in Division I men’s hockey. Sophomore goaltender Charlie Finn was named the Hockey Commissioner’s Association National Player-of-the-Month for October. Junior forwards Kyle Baun and Tyson Spink were both named Third-Team ECAC All-League.
Vaughan led Colgate to a highly successful 2013-14 campaign that saw the Raiders post a 20-14-5 overall record and earn an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nine seasons. Piloting a youthful lineup that featured 17 underclassmen, Colgate recorded eight victories against ranked competition and spent the final two months of the season listed in the national polls, fittingly ending the season tabbed 13th in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings.
The Raiders excelled in ECAC play during the 2013-14 season as it posted a 13-6-3 ledger against league competition on its way to a second-place finish. For his efforts, Vaughn was recognized as the Tim Taylor ECAC Hockey Coach of the Year award for the second time in his career.
Colgate enjoyed one of the finest moments in program history in January 2014 when it recorded a shootout victory against No. 1 Minnesota and a shutout of No. 2 Ferris State to capture the Mariucci Classic. Freshman goaltender Charlie Finn was named MVP of the event while forward Darcy Murphy and defensemen Spiro Goulakos joined Finn on the All-Tournament Team. Finn and Goulakos would be recognized again at the end of the season as both players were named Third-Team All-ECAC Hockey while Finn also landed on the league’s all-rookie squad.
The 2012-13 season saw Vaughan coach his team into the national rankings once again after a six-game winning streak in December and into January of 2013. He tutored a pair of ECAC Hockey All-Rookie Team honorees and an ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year Finalist.
In 2011-12, the Raiders were ranked for most of the season and achieved its highest ranking since 1999-2000 after being ranked seventh in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine National Poll in December. Under Vaughan’s tutelage, Austin Smith led the nation in goals with 36 and was named an All-American and the first Colgate player to be named a Hobey Hat Trick Finalist. He was the second ECAC Hockey Player of the Year under Vaughan and was a first team all-league selection.
In 2010-11, Vaughan guided the Raiders to their fifth appearance in the ECAC Hockey semifinals. In the process, Colgate won back-to-back series against nationally-ranked Rensselaer and Union. The previous season (2009-10), the Raiders finished in the top-4 in the league with a 12-8-2 mark and a 15-15-6 record overall.
During his career in hockey, Vaughan probably never witnessed anything like how the 2008-09 season went down. Despite finishing 12-18-7, Vaughan’s Raiders posted a national record 19 overtime periods, shattering the former record of 16 set the previous season by Minnesota. Vaughan also watched junior David McIntyre post a break out season en route to garnering first team AHCA/Reebok All-American honors, as well as all-College Hockey News accolades. McIntyre, who went on to gain first team all-league mention, was one of 10 finalists for the prestigious Hobey Baker Memorial Award.
In his 15th season, Vaughan guided the Raiders to an 18-18-6 record and a spot in the ECAC semifinals. On February 16, 2008, he became the school’s all-time winningest coach as Colgate blanked Union 8-0. The Raiders enjoyed success during the campaign, among which included upsetting nationally-ranked Clarkson, which was ranked seventh in the country, in a three-game series in Potsdam, N.Y. to advance to the semifinals of the ECAC Championships. On November 11, 2007, the President of Colgate, Rebecca S. Chopp, announced the creation of the Donald F. Vaughan Endowed Coaching Chair for Men’s Ice Hockey.
During the 2005-06 campaign, Vaughan continued to lead Colgate to new heights. His Raiders captured their second ECAC Hockey regular-season title in three years, and won 20 games for the third straight season for the first time in program history. Four of Vaughan’s Raiders earned all-league recognition, including Mark Dekanich, who became the first player in school history to receive the Ken Dryden Award as the league’s goaltender of the year.
Vaughan returned from a one-year hiatus to guide Colgate to 25 victories, the most in his tenure, during the 2004-05 campaign. Vaughan’s skaters advanced to the ECAC semifinals for the third time in his Colgate career. The Raiders earned a berth in the 2005 NCAA tournament, where they lost to Colorado College in a one-goal game in the Midwest Regional semifinals. Colgate finished the season ranked 14th in the national polls. That year, Vaughan earned his 200th career coaching victory with a 3-1 win against Union on Feb. 18, 2005.
After a one-year absence from post-season competition, Colgate returned to the ECAC playoffs in 2002. That season, Vaughan reached two milestones: he registered his 150th career victory in a 4-1 win against Iona on Nov. 3, and posted his 100th career ECAC win versus Dartmouth on Jan. 11. For his accomplishments, Vaughan was recognized by the American Hockey Coaches Association as a finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award, which is given annually to the University Division Coach of the Year.
Vaughan first led Colgate to national prominence during the 1999-00 season. That year, he coached the Raiders to the NCAA East Regional and a final ranking of No. 9 in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine national poll. Vaughan, who led his team to 24 victories, was honored as the ECAC Coach of the Year and received the Howard Hartman Award as Colgate’s Coach of the Year.
He recorded his first 20-win season as Colgate’s head coach during the 1994-95 campaign. With 20 victories, he became the first coach in school history to win 20 or more games in a season within his first three years behind the bench. For this accomplishment, Vaughan was honored by his Colgate peers with the Howard Hartman Award.
Vaughan began his coaching career as a player/coach with the Enschede Lions of the Dutch Professional Hockey League during the 1984-85 season.
He returned to the United States the following year to serve as a graduate assistant coach at St. Lawrence University during the 1985-86 campaign.
He worked as an assistant coach at St. Lawrence under Joe Marsh for the next two seasons, specializing in the areas of penalty-kill and power-play strategy. He also served as the recruiting coordinator and head coach of the junior varsity team.
During his first season as a full-time assistant, the Saints participated in the NCAA tournament for the first time since Vaughan was a player.
In 1988, Vaughan helped coach St. Lawrence to the ECAC regular-season and tournament titles. The Saints advanced to the NCAA championship game, where they lost to Lake Superior State in overtime.
Vaughan left St. Lawrence in 1988 to become an assistant coach at Cornell University under Brian McCutcheon. Vaughan coached Cornell’s special teams and coordinated recruiting and team travel. The Big Red reached the ECAC final four during both of Vaughan’s two seasons with the program.
Following the 1989-90 season, Vaughan returned to St. Lawrence for his second assistant coaching stint under Marsh. Vaughan extended his personal string of ECAC final four appearances to six by helping the Saints to back-to-back trips to the Boston Garden. In 1992, Vaughan was part of his second ECAC tournament championship and made his third trip to the NCAA tournament. In all, Vaughan has appeared in 10 ECAC Hockey final fours and five NCAA tournaments during his 21-year college coaching career.
Vaughan played three seasons of varsity hockey for St. Lawrence from 1981 to 1984 after earning All-America status during his only season at Canton College. While with the Saints, Vaughan played in 96 games at the center position. In 1983, he helped his team to an NCAA tournament appearance and a first-place finish in the ECAC’s West Region. Vaughan finished his career at St. Lawrence with 41 goals and 49 assists for 90 points. He graduated from St. Lawrence in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. and later earned a master’s degree in general studies from St. Lawrence in 1987.
He is a member of the American Hockey Coaches Association and is a former chair of that group’s Division I Committee. He was also a member of the NCAA Rules Committee from 1998 through 2002. He currently serves on the NCAA Division I Men’s Hockey Committee.
In 2004, Vaughan was presented with a Silver Puck Award by Colgate’s Silver Puck Club for his work with the Raider hockey program. In 2005, he was one of two non-alumni to receive a Maroon Citation for his record of service to the university.
Vaughan stepped away from the ice during the 2003-04 academic year to serve as the university’s interim athletics director. Under his leadership, Colgate achieved remarkable success. Five teams won conference championships, six coaches were honored as league coaches of the year, and the Raider football team advanced to the NCAA Division I-AA national championship game. Vaughan continues to serve Colgate in an administrative capacity as an assistant athletics director.
A native of Almonte, Ontario, Vaughan resides in Hamilton with his wife, Mariel. They are the proud parents of two children, Mark and Maria.