Mark Lee is the first to admit that the St. Mary's boys hockey team is his baby. For 37 years, the Lynn, Mass., police officer was bench boss until he announced his retirement in March.
Finding a suitable replacement to carry his vision forward was a necessity.
St. Mary's did that, announcing the Spartans' next head coach is Matt Smith, who's been an assistant on Lee's staff since 2015. Before that, Smith was an assistant from 2004-06 and has spent 23 years around hockey, including time playing at Norwich University.
While Lee wasn't a part of the hiring process, he gave his assistant a strong recommendation.
"He is a student of the game," Lee said of Smith. "He has a unique knack of teaching the game to these kids. I've watched him over the years and he studies the game. He's somebody that works really hard to have an edge in knowledge."