ROCHESTER, NY – Scott McDonald, RIT’s Bruce B. Bates Women’s Hockey Coach, is stepping down after leading the Tigers for 12 years and becoming the program’s all-time victory leader. The decision was announced today by Lou Spiotti, executive director of athletics. A national search for a new head coach will commence immediately.
McDonald, who recently completed his 15th year at the university in 2017-18, departs as RIT’s all-time leader in women’s hockey coaching victories, compiling a 205-154-29 record in 12 seasons behind the bench. During his tenure, McDonald transformed the Tigers into one of the most successful and respected teams in all of women’s college hockey.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to be a part of both the RIT men’s and women’s hockey programs over the last 15 years,” said McDonald. “My 12-year tenure as head coach with the women has been nothing short of amazing. I feel it’s the right time to step away and focus on life outside of hockey. I am forever grateful for the relationships I’ve built during my time, which solidifies the fact that we were able to build a great program with special people. I wish the team nothing but the best during the upcoming season and into the future.”
McDonald arrived at RIT as an assistant coach for the men’s program in 2003 and helped the Tigers make the move to Division I for the 2005-06 season. The following year, McDonald was named women’s hockey coach and in his first season, 2006-07, led the Tigers to a then program record 22 wins and their first appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
“Scott McDonald has achieved amazing heights during his 12-year tenure as our head coach,” said Spiotti. “He led us to our first and only national title, two CHA championships and more than 200 wins, along with numerous All-American selections. Most importantly he has recruited and molded scores of outstanding people and students. We thank him for all he has accomplished and wish him well in all his future endeavors.”
In six seasons at the Division III level, McDonald led the Tigers to an incredible 135-22-10 record (.835 winning percentage), including back-to-back trips to the NCAA National Championship game. In 2012, McDonald and the Tigers won their first NCAA Division III Championship, RIT’s first national title by a women’s program. McDonald led RIT to a 54-3-3 record from 2010-12 and has the second-best winning percentage among all coaches in Division III history.
Just three days after winning the 2012 Division III National Championship, RIT announced its intention to move to the Division I level. McDonald and the Tigers made a successful transition to the Division I ranks in 2012-13, as the team won 16 games and advanced to the College Hockey America Semifinals.
The Tigers made history in just their second season as a Division I program in the 2013-14 season, winning the CHA Championship, while finishing with 20 victories. RIT moved into the 4,300-seat Gene Polisseni Center in 2014-15 and won its second consecutive CHA Championship, emerging as the No. 6 seed to knock off the top three teams and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time as a Division I program. Last season, RIT advanced to the first round of the CHA Tournament.
In 2015, McDonald became the Bruce B. Bates Women’s Hockey Coach, the university’s first endowed coaching position for Tiger athletic programs.
Under McDonald’s tutelage, the Tigers have not only excelled on the ice and in the classroom but have become active members in the community. The women’s hockey program has participated in several fundraising initiatives for organizations such as CURE Childhood Cancer, Autism Up and “Do It For Daron.” RIT was honored by the NCAA for its excellent Academic Progress Rate (APR), as it received a Public Recognition Award in both 2015 and 2016. Last season, 14 student-athletes were named to the CHA All-Academic Team.
McDonald is the only person in NCAA hockey history to play at the Division III and Division I level and coach on both the men’s side and women’s sides at both levels.
The Scott McDonald Legacy
RIT’s all-time leader with 205 wins
Led RIT to a 135-22-10 record (.835 winning percentage) from 2006-12
2009 and 2011 ECAC West Coach of the Year
Led RIT to a berth in the 2015 NCAA Division I Tournament
Coached Sarah Dagg, the 2011 Laura Hurd National Player of the Year
2012 NCAA Division III National Champions
2011 and 2012 ECAC West Champions
2014 and 2015 CHA Champions
Led RIT to three NCAA Division III Tournament appearances (2007, 2011, 2012)
Guided nine different AHCA All-Americans and 36 All-ECAC West selections
Coached seven All-CHA picks