Entering his 14th season at the helm of Miami's hockey program in 2012-13, head coach Enrico Blasi has helped the program achieve what many thought could never be done in a small town in Southwest Ohio. Fortunately, Blasi has never been one to worry about the perceptions of others, and using a 'team-first' mantra and "The Brotherhood" ideals of responsibility has elevated the RedHawks into a nationally-prominent program. The crowning achievements have come in the last four years when Miami made its first-ever Frozen Four and NCAA Championship Game appearance in 2009, followed by its second trip to the NCAA Frozen Four in 2010 and won its first Mason Cup in program history for winning the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Tournament in 2011.
"It is our goal to win a national title," Blasi says. "We have the support of our institution and the community, and we feel like the future of Miami hockey has never been brighter."
A 1994 graduate of Miami, Blasi took over the reins at his alma mater in 1999 as the youngest head coach in Division I hockey and has worked tirelessly ever since to make that family the strongest unit it can be. After earning 2010 College Hockey News and CollegeHockey247.com National Coach of the Year honors, the 2006 Spencer Penrose Award from the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) for National Coach of the Year, and four CCHA Coach of the Year Awards, most recently in 2010, Blasi's credentials speak for themself. Having led the RedHawks to two regular-season CCHA Championships, one Mason Cup (CCHA Tournament championship), eight trips to the NCAA Tournament, including seven straight, and back-to-back NCAA Frozen Four appearances in just 13 seasons with the Red and White, Blasi's "Brotherhood" values of family and togetherness are paying big dividends in Oxford.
"I am committed to this program and the people involved with it," Blasi says. "We are all going to achieve more when we work together and that is evidenced by the team and individual success we have had in the last few years. We are in the business to not only develop quality hockey players but to develop student-athletes with great character."
It is Blasi's devotion to his alma mater, and his ability to motivate his players both athletically and academically that prompted Director of Athletics Brad Bates to ink Blasi to a contract extension in September 2007 through the 2016-17 season. He was also recognized for his work with his players both on and off the ice and in the community in 2011 by Miami's School of Education, Health and Society, which presented him with the Profound Impact Award, giving annually to Miami EHS alumni who are making a difference in both their profession and their community.
Dr. David Hodge, President of Miami University, saluted Blasi's loyalty to his alma mater after he signed the extension by saying, "We are excited that Coach Blasi has made such a long-term commitment to Miami University. He and his ice hockey teams have contributed greatly to our student body and fans for the past eight seasons, and we look forward to the exciting moments that they are certain to generate over the coming years. Coach Blasi takes great pride in being a Miamian, and we are equally proud that he has chosen to remain a part of Miami University's family."
Over the last seven seasons (since 2005-06), Blasi has led his RedHawks to the second-best winning percentage among all Division I hockey teams during that span, compiling a mark of 182-77-29 (.682). The RedHawks have won at least 20 games each season during that stretch, one of just four teams nationally to do so, while making the NCAA Tournament each year. Blasi has compiled 10 20-win seasons overall in his 13 years. Miami also has produced at least one AHCA All-American each of the last nine years, eight Hobey Baker Award finalists during the nine-year stretch, including Miami's first winner in Andy Miele in 2011, and back-to-back CCHA Players of the Year with Cody Reichard in 2009-10 and Miele in 2010-11. Under Blasi's guidance behind the bench, a total of 11 RedHawks have earned All-America status with three being named the CCHA Player of the Year.
This past year in 2011-12, Blasi led Miami to a fourth-place finish in the CCHA, the seventh straight year the RedHawks have finished in the top four - the only CCHA team to do so during that time - while compiling a 24-15-2 overall record, which included a third-place finish in the CCHA Tournament and a seventh straight NCAA Tournament berth. He became just the ninth coach ever to top 200 career CCHA victories, earning his 200th Feb. 17 against Notre Dame, as he now sits 203-122-39 all-time in conference games. Blasi also moved into the top 50 among Division I hockey's all-time winningest coaches, as he sits 48th with a 286-184-48 (.598) career record. He saw Reilly Smith continue Miami's trend of All-Americans and Hobey Baker Award finalists as Smith earned both distinctions while the RedHawks finished in the top 10 nationally for the fifth straight season. Nine of Miami's 10 seniors went on to sign professional contracts, including goaltender Connor Knapp, who broke both the school's single-season and career goals-against average record as well as the career shutouts mark.
During the 2010-11 season, the RedHawks skated to a 23-10-6 overall record and finished third in the CCHA with a 16-7-5 league mark. Miami then went on to win the conference tournament for the first time in program history, dominating the competition a combined 19-6 in four games, including 5-2 in the championship game over Western Michigan. The RedHawks garnered a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the third time ever while Miele capped the year by becoming Miami's first Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner as he led the NCAA with an astounding 71 points. The '10-11 campaign saw Blasi record his 250th career win Dec. 29, 2010 against Maine.
In 2009-10, Miami finished the regular season ranked No. 1 nationally, after being ranked the nation's top team for 17 of the 23 weeks. Blasi's RedHawks ran away with the school's third CCHA regular-season title, winning it by over 20 points, earned the overall top seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history and captured the NCAA Midwest Regional title to earn the school's second straight Frozen Four berth. The senior class surpassed the '09 class to become the winningest in program history with 109 victories over four seasons. For his efforts on the campaign, Blasi was named the National Coach of the Year by College Hockey News and CollegeHockey247.com and the CCHA Coach of the Year for the fourth time in his tenure.
In the record-setting 2008-09 season, the RedHawks earned their fourth straight NCAA Tournament berth and a No. 4 seed en route to upsetting Denver and Minnesota-Duluth to capture the West Regional Championship and send Miami to the Frozen Four for the first time ever. A national semifinal victory over Bemidji State moved the RedHawks into the national championship game against Boston University, where Miami fell just short of a national title in overtime. During the year, the senior class became the first in school history to top the 100-win plateau, registering 106 victories over four seasons.
The 2007-08 squad became the winningest squad in the 32-year history of Miami University ice hockey. It compiled an impressive 33-8-1 record, won 21 CCHA games, and finished just a single point behind Michigan for the regular-season championship. The RedHawks played in the CCHA's playoff title game, earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA's Northeast Regional, and won the school's second-ever NCAA Tournament game. For 10 weeks, Miami was the nation's top-rated college hockey team and Blasi earned recognition as Cincinnati's Sports Executive of the Year.
In 2006-07, the RedHawks compiled an impressive 24-14-4 record, including Miami's first-ever victory in NCAA Tournament play, a 2-1 defeat of New Hampshire. The 2005-06 season was a culmination of seven years of relentless hard work by Blasi and his staff as the RedHawks posted a 26-9-4 overall record and skated to just the second CCHA regular-season title in program history with a 20-6-2 league mark. During the season, Blasi became the winningest hockey coach in school history with a 3-1 win over Ferris State, surpassing Steve Cady with his 122nd career win at his alma mater. Following a sweep of the Bulldogs, Miami earned its first No. 1 national ranking in any sport. In recognition of his dedication and hard work, Blasi was named both National Coach of the Year by the AHCA and the CCHA Coach of the Year for the third time in his career.
By being named 2006 National Coach of the Year, Blasi joined George Gwozdecky as the only Miami hockey coaches to win the Spencer Penrose Award. Gwozdecky mentored the Red and White for seven seasons and guided the 1992-93 team, of which Blasi was a member, to the first CCHA regular-season title in program history.
Blasi's four CCHA Coach of the Year Awards put him in very good company as well. He is one of only two coaches in league history to win four or more such awards, joining Michigan State's Ron Mason, the winningest coach in college hockey history, who won the honor seven times and totaled 924 wins at Michigan State.
The 2003-04 season was Blasi's most successful at Miami prior to 2005-06. Guiding the RedHawks to their second straight 20-win season with an overall mark of 23-14-4, he earned his second career CCHA Coach of the Year award. A second-place finish in the CCHA helped the Red and White make their first trip to the CCHA Super Six (a format no longer used) since the 1997-98 season and secured the program's first NCAA Tournament berth since 1997. Only the 1992-93 team--of which Blasi played on--and the 1996-97 squad had earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament prior to the 2003-04 team's run in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Blasi's ascent up the CCHA ranks began in 2000-01, when he was named CCHA Coach of the Year for the first time after leading Miami to a 17-10-1 conference mark. After finishing ninth a year earlier, the RedHawks completed the biggest single-season turnaround in school history by finishing second in the league. The season marked only the fourth time that Miami had reached the 20-win plateau since joining the CCHA. By garnering his first CCHA Coach of the Year award, Blasi was put in distinguished company as one of only three Miami mentors to earn the honor and the first since Mark Mazzoleni was recognized in 1997.
Blasi made his debut as a collegiate head coach in 1999-2000, guiding the RedHawks to a 13-20-3 overall record and a ninth-place CCHA finish. His 13 wins were the second-highest total among first-year coaches in NCAA Division I hockey that season. Blasi also was able to return Miami to the CCHA playoffs after a one-year hiatus.
The first Miami hockey alumnus to return to his alma mater as the head coach, Blasi came to Miami after working four years--three as an assistant and one as a graduate assistant--under former Miami mentor George Gwozdecky at the University of Denver.
"As the search went on for a candidate, I came to realize that there was a need to turn to someone with Miami ties," said Joel Maturi, former Miami Athletics Director, at the press conference for Blasi's hiring. "It's truly a pleasure to welcome home a member of Miami's Cradle of Coaches. No one in our applicant pool had such a passion for Miami and its ice hockey program."
While in Denver, Blasi helped the Pioneers to two trips to the NCAA Tournament and three Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) upper-division finishes. His main responsibilities during that time included assisting in the Pioneers' recruiting efforts and video analysis, as well as on-ice duties. During the 1998-99 season, Denver posted the NCAA's largest turnaround, improving from an 11-25-2 mark in 1997-98 to 26-13-2 and capturing their league-record 12th postseason playoff championship by defeating then top-ranked North Dakota, 4-3.
Before going to Denver in 1994-95, Blasi spent one season as the assistant coach for the Wexford Raiders junior team.
As a player at Miami from 1990-1994, Blasi was a vital cog in the Red and White's run to their first CCHA title in 1992-93 and first NCAA Tournament appearance that same season. As the captain of the 1993-94 squad, he finished third on the team in scoring with 28 points on 13 goals and 15 assists. His 123 career points are still tied for 23rd on Miami's all-time points list. Over the course of his playing career, Blasi helped the RedHawks to 71 victories. Combined with his coaching career, he has won 357 games at Miami.
A native of Weston, Ontario, Blasi earned his bachelor's degree in physical education from Miami. He resides in Oxford with his family.
Blasi's Coaching Achievements at Miami