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NORTHFIELD, Vt. - After 12 seasons, Norwich University head women's hockey coach Mark Bolding '95 announced on Tuesday night that he has stepped down to take over as the head women's hockey coach at Yale University.
Bolding has been the driving force behind the Cadets' ascension to the top of the Division III women's hockey ranks as the only head coach the program has ever known since it began varsity play in 2007-08.
Bolding guided the Cadets to a 266-68-22 record in 12 seasons, including winning two NCAA Division III National Championships in 2011 and 2018. His .778 winning percentage ranks second amongst active Division III women's coaches and fifth overall at all levels. NU won its first national championship with a 5-2 win over RIT in only its fourth season. The Cadets then won their second national championship in 2018 with a 2-1 victory over Elmira College at home in Kreitzberg Arena.
"I would like to thank President Schneider, Tony Mariano and the entire Norwich and Northfield community for truly giving me a foundation, family setting, and strong set of guiding values to allow me to find success while at Norwich," Bolding said. "Having an opportunity to start our women's varsity program in 2007 and build this group into such a consistent and well respected team has been very satisfying for me. My best times here have been watching these wonderful ladies fight adversity, build trust in each other, and pull together to be champions on and off the ice. I am amazed at how many true leaders and hardworking women's hockey players I have been lucky enough to coach here."
Bolding was named the American Hockey Coaches' Association (AHCA) National "Coach of the Year" three straight seasons in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He won again for a fourth time in 2018 as well after guiding Norwich to its seventh NCAA Division III Frozen Four appearance in 11 years. He won his 200th career game on Nov. 18 in an 8-0 win over Saint Michael's to become just the seventh coach in NCAA Division III women's hockey history to accomplish the feat.
Under Bolding, the Norwich women's hockey program quickly asserted itself as one the premier programs in the country, missing the NCAA Tournament just twice in 12 seasons. He coached 60 New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) All-Conference players, 29 All-New England Hockey Writers All-Stars and 20 AHCA All-Americans in Amanda Wilks (2009, 2012), Sophie Leclerc (2011), Jillayne DeBus (2012, 2013), Sarianne Lynn (2012), Julie Fortier (2012), Kayla Parsons (2013), Tori Charron (2013, 2014), Marie-Philip Guay (2014), Kaycie Anderson (2015), Taylor Cross (2015), Kim Tiberi (2017, 2018) and Sarah Schwenzfeier (2017), Robyn Foley (2018), Amanda Conway (2018, 2019) and Samantha Benoit (2019).
"Mark Bolding has made Norwich women's hockey a nationally recognized program and his success can be attributed to his ability to coach and relate to his student athletes," said Norwich University Director of Athletics Tony Mariano. "He has done an exceptional job as our head coach and has been a terrific member of our athletic staff. I sincerely appreciate all that he has done for Norwich Athletics and I wish him great success as the new head women's hockey coach at Yale."
Bolding guided Norwich to 10 NCAA Tournament appearances, nine NEHC Tournament titles since 2009 and six straight NEHC regular season championships from 2011 to 2016. In 2013-14, NU became the first team in NEHC history to finish with a perfect record of 16-0-0. The Cadets accomplished that feat again in 2017-18 with a 14-0-0 mark.
Over the last nine seasons, Norwich has gone 141-5-5 against NEHC league opponents.
Prior to taking over the women's program, Bolding served two stints as an assistant coach for the Norwich men's hockey team under successful mentor Mike McShane.
Bolding was the men's top assistant coach during 1995-96 season, and helped recruit one of the finest recruiting classes in Norwich hockey history including the likes of Marc Bellemare, Curt Healey, Mike Ludwar, Bryce Herperger and Jason Lumsden. After a few years away from Norwich working in the engineering consulting industry, Bolding returned to Norwich in 1998 to become an assistant coach to the men's team. In addition to his coaching position, Bolding also served as the marketing director and manager for Kreitzberg Arena, and he sold over 650 season tickets during the team's first year in the building. During the 1999-2000 season, Bolding helped the Norwich men win its first national championship, with a dramatic 2-1 win over Wisconsin-Superior.
A native of Red Deer, Alberta, Bolding was a standout defenseman during his collegiate playing days at Norwich, serving as the team captain for three of his four seasons. Bolding finished his NU career with 94 points. His 73 assists put him alongside the all-time career assist leaders at the school. In 2005, Bolding was inducted into the Norwich University Athletic Hall of Fame.
"Norwich and Northfield is, and will always be, our family's true home," Bolding said. "I will miss the many folks I've met in the NU community and here in Vermont, especially at Kreitzberg Arena throughout the many winter days and successful seasons we've shared. It's been an awesome ride, I wish the team and future new coach continued success! Norwich Forever."
Yale is coming off an 8-18-3 season in 2018-19. Bolding replaces Joakim Flygh, who served as the Bulldogs' head coach for the last nine seasons. Bolding is now the third NU women's hockey coach to move to the Division I ranks after Keith Maurice '02 spent time at Ohio State before becoming the head coach at Trinity (Conn.) and Sophie Leclerc '10, who just concluded her fourth season as an assistant coach at Colgate University.
A national coaching search will begin immediately.