Compiled by D3hockey.com Staff
|Williams will sport a different look behind its own bench this fall with Bill Kangas on a sabbatical leave. Photo: Jeff Melnik, D3photography.com|
Williamstown, Mass.- After 25 straight seasons under the same leadership, the view will be temporarily different behind the home bench at Lansing Chapman Rink this winter. The changes will notably be at the top. Williams College has announced that head coach Bill Kangas will embark on an institution-approved one year sabbatical and will not coach the Ephs for the 2017-18 season, with assistant coach Mike Monti set to assume the top spot on an interim basis. The announcements were made on Sunday.
As Williams athletic director Lisa Melendy explained in the school's release, the institution permits members of its faculty, including coaches, to take the sabbatical as a period of extended professional development in their chosen field.
"As faculty members Williams College head coaches are allowed to apply for leaves much like the sabbaticals academic faculty members receive," Melendy said, "These sabbaticals provide our coaches with the opportunity to travel, research, and rejuvenate; to improve both themselves and often their chosen sport by adding to their body of knowledge. Many of our coaches cite these leaves as transformative. Given the time to meet with coaches and observe programs across the country and the world that are at the cutting edge of their sport allows our coaches the space to explore new approaches they can create or apply to their own coaching. I am excited that next year coach Kangas will have the opportunity to do just that. He will visit with national, professional, and collegiate ice hockey coaches and programs in an effort to observe their coaching strategies and practices. Beyond observation, he will have the chance to discuss both their approaches and his and return to Williams prepared to introduce the very latest to his team."
Kangas intends to explore the intended professional development opportunities during the one year period, while also embracing an opportunity to tend to his own parental interests and obligations. His son Ryan will play his final season of college hockey at Brockport this year.
"I am very grateful to Williams for affording me the opportunity to take a sabbatical during the 2017-18 academic year," Kangas said. "I am looking forward to participating in a variety of professional development opportunities; observing college programs, engaging in the development their players and teams, and learning more about the variety of playing styles implemented. I look forward to observing, reflecting and considering new coaching/teaching ideas for the continued development of our program. On a personal note, I am looking forward to watching my son, Ryan, compete with his team during his senior year at SUNY Brockport."
This is not the only use of a planned Sabbatical by a longtime head coach in recent years. The most notable example is that of Bill Beaney, as the eight time national champion coach took a leave from Middlebury during the 2002-03 season at the height of that program's success. Neil Sinclair, who later took the reins from Beaney, coached the team to a third place finish in the NCAA tournament that year.
Monti, a Western New England graduate, inherits a squad that went 14-9-3 last season before losing eight seniors to graduation. The Ephs punched a ticket to the NCAA tournament for the first time ever in 2016.