After five years as head coach and more than 15 years with the program, Dan DeConti has decided to step down as head coach of Xavier to spend more time with his young family.
“There was one day I can remember I got home from practice and jumped on Live Barn, and I’m watching two teams that we’re going to be playing, and my son is asking me to play with him, my daughter is crying and my wife is cooking. … I stepped back and had to think.
“It was a very difficult decision, my wife (Nicole DeConti) was supportive and appreciative of the fact I was looking at our family.”
DeConti’s two children are young, Jack just turned 4 and his daughter Grace just turned 1.
“I can’t give the program what I think it needs to be a successful program and I need to spend time with my family,” he said.
In just five seasons as head coach, DeConti led the Falcons to a 67-34-6 record and the program’s only two Division I state tournament semifinal appearances, in 2015 and this past season, when they lost to Greenwich in overtime. Xavier finished this season 15-8.
“The credit goes to him, he put Xavier – as Sean Marinan did in football – on the map in hockey,” Xavier Athletic Director Tony Jaskot said. “He brought the program to new heights, where it is today. We competed against the best.”
Jaskot said he understands why DeConti is stepping away and his respect for him only grew when he told him why he was resigning.
“He’s a great young man, he does an awful lot for me, he’s going to be sorely missed as a coach,” Jaskot said. “He knows what coaching is all about, he is passionate about the sport, but as passionate as he is about the sport, he is caring about his players.”
Despite all the success on the ice, DeConti is not one who will take any of the credit.
“We’ve gone further than we have before, is that me? (No) that’s the players, the players have had the success,” DeConti said. “We’ve been fortunate to have great players in the program. At the end of the day it’s those guys. Those guys bought in to the program.”
DeConti was a leader on Xavier’s first team and holds the single-season scoring record, which he set in 2001 with 30 goals and 23 assists. Then two years after graduating from college he was back with the Falcons as the JV coach before working his way up to assistant coach and then head coach.
“Xavier is so important to me, my wife kind of jokes that I will be buried here,” DeConti said.
Despite stepping down as coach, DeConti will remain at Xavier as a math teacher and assistant athletic director to Jaskot.
“It’s weird because I am not leaving Xavier, I am not getting out of teaching. It’s really the after school time I need back with my family,” he said, adding that he’ll miss the bus rides and practice with the team. “I spent a lot of time with these guys. I’m definitely going to miss that family atmosphere that is the hockey program.”
— Xavier Athletics (@athleticsXHS) March 23, 2018