Even as Rich Minnix left his alma mater, it seemed clear he’d be coaching high school hockey again sooner than later.
He’s the new coach at Notre Dame-Fairfield, the school announced Thursday.
“I sat down with my wife, talking, with a newborn child, if it was the right move to make,” Minnix said. “It came down to her telling me, if I pass this up, I might regret it later on.”
On top of this being closer to home and work than was Lyman Hall/HK/Coginchaug, which Minnix coached to its first Division III championship this season, it’s a chance to take over a program that has won three CIAC championships, two in Division I.
Minnix says he wants assistants Bill Garfield and Tim Cooney to return. Garfield was interim coach to end last season. He and Minnix work together in the recreation department for the City of Milford.
The Lancers upset Hamden in the first round of the Division I tournament 1-0 behind all-state senior goalie Kacy Adams’ 37 saves before losing to eventual champion Fairfield Prep in the quarterfinals.
“The program is definitely not in shambles. Bill Garfield and Tim Cooney are great coaches stepping in and taking over the reins,” Minnix said.
“I got to watch a couple of games this year. A good amount of players are returning. Losing a goalie like Kacy Adams, if I could walk in to a senior goalie like that would be great, but the players are there. The goaltending is there.”
John Longo began the year as coach but stepped aside for personal reasons at midseason. It was his second season after taking over from Steve Hetherman, who’d had to succeed the legend, Marty Roos, after the coach with the most wins in state history stepped down in 2012 after winning championships with the Lancers in 1999 and 2006. Roos’ Lancers also reached the 2007 and 2008 finals.
Garfield played for the other Lancers championship team, which won Division II in 1989.