2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Colorado College alum Kawano is program’s first director of hockey operations

Published: July 11, 2014, 12:49 pm, by Joe Paisley

Kawano actionIt is another homecoming for the Colorado College staff with former goalie Chris Kawano named as the program’s first director of hockey operations and video coordinator.

New coach Mike Haviland said Kawano’s experience as a student and player at CC along with his relationship with the private school’s faculty and fellow alumni all played a role in making him the best hire. He was one of three finalists, all former CC players.

“All three finalists fit that bill,” Haviland said after the school announced the hire on Friday. “But the more people I talked to around campus about him the more obvious it became that he was such a well-regarded young man in his time here. He is a great choice. He has a tremendous attention to detail.”

During his junior season, Kawano was named to the all-Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s all-academic team and received the program’s annual Dave Peterson team award as most improved player. 

After graduating in 2007 with a sociology degree, Kawano, now 29, spent two years as a graduate assistant with the Bemidji State women’s hockey team, which was coached by former Tiger Steve Sertich. Kawano worked with the goaltenders and handled video analysis.

His main duty will be video analysis while he will also serve as a faculty liason and keep track of the players’ academic progress.

Haviland hope the alum can also help bring former players back to support the program.

The Aurora, Colo. native played for the Tigers from 2003-07, recording a 2-2 record in eight appearances, including six games as a junior (.902 saves percentage). As a sophomore, he served as a backup on the team that reached the 2005 NCAA Frozen Four national semifinals.

Kawano wants to relive that experience and improve on it now as part of the coaching staff.

“CC should be a top-10 team every year and I believe a national championship is not too far away,” Kawano said in a press release.

Kawano spent the past three years with Planet Hockey, which holds youth camps across the nation. His final camp was at Sertich Ice Center this week.

“Working at Colorado College is the perfect job for me at this point in my life,” Kawano said. “It really combines the interests that I have as well as the goals I want to achieve. Coach Haviland is a guy you want to work for and learn from.”

Haviland, who is spending the next three weeks recruiting along with recently hired assistants RJ Enga and Gene Reilly, will begin a search for a volunteer goalie coach once he and his family settle in Colorado Springs this August.