WHILE you probably know plenty about the Division I football coaches with ties to Manchester — a group that includes Florida’s Dan Mullen, Elon’s Tony Trisciani, UCLA’s Chip Kelly, UNH’s Sean McDonnell and Ohio State’s Ryan Day — you may not know that one of the best Division I hockey coaches in the country is also a local guy.
Quinnipiac’s Rand Pecknold, who collected career victory No. 500 when Quinnipiac beat Colgate 6-0 on Dec. 30, was born in Bedford and played hockey at Manchester West for two seasons before he transferred to Lawrence Academy in Groton, Mass.
Pecknold was hired as Quinnipiac’s head coach in 1994. His salary was so meager that season that he also worked full-time as a teacher at a local high school. In those days Quinnipiac had late night/early morning practices at a town rink.
Pecknold oversaw the program’s transition from Division II to Division I in 1998-99, and became the 17th Division I coach to win 500 games. His career record is 500-301-90 and his current Quinnipiac team is 15-4-1 and entered last weekend as the No. 3 team in the country.
Not bad for a guy who planned to be an attorney, but caught the coaching bug when he became an assistant coach at Connecticut College, his alma mater. Pecknold ranks 26th on the list of men’s college hockey coaches with the most career wins.
One thing Pecknold hasn’t been able to do is steer one of his teams to a national championship, although he came close in 2013 when Yale beat Quinnipiac in the national title game. This year he may get a second chance.
Based on early results, the Goffstown girls’ basketball team hasn’t had any trouble adjusting to Division I. The Grizzlies, who went 13-5 as a Division II program last season, raised their record to 6-0 in Division I by beating Keene 46-25 Friday night. Goffstown also won the Chick-fil-A Classic in Nashua and is 9-0 overall.
Of the six Division I opponents Goffstown has beaten, only one has more than one victory, however, so we may not get an accurate read on the Grizzlies until they play at Pinkerton Academy (5-0) on Jan. 25.
Basketball Hall of Famer and former University of Connecticut men’s coach Jim Calhoun will be in the Granite State on Tuesday when his University of St. Joseph team plays at Colby-Sawyer (7 p.m.). St. Joseph, a first-year Division III program, hired Calhoun as the program’s first head coach in September. Calhoun guided UConn to three national titles: 1999, 2004 and 2011.
St. Joseph will bring a 9-5 record into Tuesday’s contest. Colby-Sawyer is 6-6.
If you think Calhoun has lost any fire, know this: He was hit with a technical foul for throwing a chair to the ground in his first game this season.
There are good road victories and then there’s the 57-54 victory the Exeter boys’ basketball team posted against Portsmouth on Wednesday night. Exeter’s win ended a streak of 54 consecutive home victories for the Clippers, who have won the last two Division I championships. Portsmouth’s winning streak at Stone Gymnasium began following a loss to Souhegan in the 2013 Division II quarterfinals.
Sam Werman, who pitched for the UNH club baseball team from 2015 to 2018, recently landed a job as a video scout with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Two more football coaches with ties to New Hampshire were hired as assistant coaches at high-profile Division I programs last weekend. Alex Grinch, who was an assistant at UNH from 2006-08, was hired as Oklahoma’s defensive coordinator; and David Feeley has joined the University of Miami staff as the director of strength and conditioning. Feeley played college football at Plymouth State.
Derry’s Geo Baker, a junior point guard at Rutgers, entered Sunday’s play ranked third among Big Ten players in assists per game (4.8). Baker, who played at Pinkerton Academy, was also second on the team in scoring (13.0 points per game).
Ken Joyce, who spent last season as a hitting coach with the New York Yankees’ organization, has been added to the list of speakers who will attend the Baseball Coaches of New Hampshire Clinic on Jan. 27 at Pembroke Academy.