As Boston College’s search for a new men’s hockey coach moves into another day, we are profiling UMass Lowell’s head coach Norm Bazin.
Why Boston College Would Want Norm Bazin:
Norm Bazin is UMass Lowell’s most successful men’s hockey coach of all time, and it’s not even close. Bazin took what was a fairly middling college hockey program and turned it into a reliable league stalwart that has been in the upper half of the conference throughout his whole tenure.
To paint a picture, Norm Bazin’s first season was in 2011-12. The River Hawks had not made the NCAA tournament since 1996, which means he likely started recruiting in his first-year players who weren’t alive to see a River Hawk NCAA tournament run. Bazin took the River Hawks to the tournament that year, and then took the River Hawks to the Frozen Four the following year.
From there, the River Hawks became a reliable team in the league frequently finding themselves in the latter part of the conference tournament. The River Hawks have amassed three tournament championships in Bazin’s tenure, and two regular season championships (and seventh in HEPI in 2020-21).
BC would be getting a coach that can provide a jolt to the program, bring in a change of ideas and process, and get a coach with a history of success.
Depending on how important immediate contention is to the administration, Bazin would also probably be at the top of the list for that wish, given his track record of getting the absolute most out of even players who may have been overlooked in the recruiting process.
Why Norm Bazin Would Want Boston College:
Every program has a ceiling, and one has to wonder if UMass Lowell has reached its ceiling.
To be clear, nothing about that sentence should disparage the program or its success. After all, UMass Lowell has won three conference tournament championships since BC won its last one. They’ve also been very stout against BC head-to-head, in both regular season and postseason matchups.
But the reality is that UMass Lowell, as a program, can only go so far - which is likely where it is right now, a reliable team that contends rarely and can occasionally have a great team with a chance of success at the national level.
Boston College, inspirationally, strives to be more than that. The program has the resources to succeed at the highest level year over year, and with the right coach could get back to its glory days. If Bazin is looking for more success in his career, BC could be a good move.
Bazin has been linked to bigger jobs in the past, most notably Denver when he was heavily rumored to be in the mix before the Pios ultimately went with David Carle (that worked out pretty well for DU). He also supposedly was contacted as part of Colorado College’s search. If those rumors were true, than Bazin would certainly be open to an approach.
Why Boston College Would Not Want Norm Bazin:
The first reason is an obvious one: Norm Bazin is not a “BC guy.” He doesn’t have the BC pedigree; he is an outsider looking to enter into a historically inward-looking program. For a program that values its history, Bazin is an outsider.
Outside of that, Bazin recruits in a different way than BC fans would expect. Bazin had two players drafted on his 2021-22 team, compared to BC’s ten. Bazin has made his bones finding players other programs have looked over for many factors, frequently age, and making teams out of them. It should be added, he has done that quite well, producing more than a few NHL prospects. A BC coach is going to be expected to recruit more blue-chip prospects, which means Bazin will need to recruit a level that he hasn’t recruited before.
Why Norm Bazin Would Not Want Boston College
Bazin is a UMass Lowell guy through and through. He played at UMass Lowell from 1990-94, then came back to be an assistant coach after a stint with the Birmingham Bulls. Now he is coaching at his alma mater, and he has made it stronger than it has ever been.
I don’t care how attractive Boston College is as a job, if you’re a born and bred UMass Lowell guy, you’re not going to leave for another program lightly, and if he were to join Boston College as head coach, he’d need to do just that.
Bazin would be a solid hire. But there are probably others that are a better fit out there that BC can get, and Bazin and BC would likely have to compromise a bit too much to be a fit.
BC would probably be derelict in their duties at carrying out a nationwide search if Bazin isn’t at least on the call list, and Bazin is probably one of 2-3 names out there who could probably reliably be counted upon to get the team moving in the right direction almost immediately without much of a rebuild. But all in all, it would be moderately surprising if he ended up being the pick.