March 10, 2012

Mass. native Marsh retires after 26 years at St. Lawrence

By Jesse Connolly

After spending the entirety of the past season on medical leave, St. Lawrence coach Joe Marsh announced his retirement following 26 years behind the bench. 

Under coach Joe Marsh (Lynn, Mass.), St. Lawrence won five ECAC championships. (Photo: Beverley Schaefer)

The Lynn, Mass., native has undergone a number of surgeries for an esophageal disease and cited the time he’d have to dedicate toward continued treatments as a big reason for his decision.

“The time feels right,” Marsh said. “We have the right people in place to take the reins of the program (with) two of our former players, one of whom played in the NHL, and the other who has years of coaching experience in the NHL.”

Greg Carvel has been named as the permanent replacement, while Mike Hurlbut – who acted as interim head coach this past season – will resume his role as associate head coach.

“It is a tremendous honor as well as extremely humbling to be chosen as Joe Marsh’s successor,” Carvel said. “Joe has been the most influential person in my hockey career and has served as a friend and a mentor for almost 30 years. He is one of the last true icons of college hockey because he has embodied all that is right and honorable about college sports and, more importantly, St. Lawrence University.”

During his prolific tenure, Marsh coached St. Lawrence to 12 seasons of 20 wins or more. He guided his squad to ECAC championships in 1988, 1989, 1992, 2000 and 2001.

But Marsh, 60, had an impact that went far beyond the ice.

“At St. Lawrence, we do not measure a coach’s work solely by the length of a career, the number of victories, or the championship banners draped from the rafters, though Joe Marsh has earned the luster of many positive statistics,” St. Lawrence President William Fox said in a statement.

“Rather, we appreciate and admire Joe’s success because it was all about being a teacher first, who had lessons, values and examples to impart. Our men’s hockey program, so distinctive from all others, is nationally renowned – and an important part of Joe’s legacy is the number of alumni who have gone into professional coaching. St. Lawrence is immensely grateful.”

Carvel knows he has big shoes to fill.

“It is my intention to carry on Joe's legacy, to continue to strengthen the St. Lawrence hockey tradition while at the same time making my own personal imprint,” he said. “Having played for Joe and being a proud alumnus, I thoroughly understand how special the experience of playing hockey at St. Lawrence can be.”