The Union College women's hockey team looked two hours west in Hamilton to find its new head coach.
Colgate women's hockey assistant coach Josh Sciba has been named the head coach of the Dutchwomen, Union athletic director Jim McLaughlin announced Friday. Sciba signed a five-year contract. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Sciba replaces Claudia Asano Barcomb, who stepped down as head coach April 15 after eight seasons that saw her amass a record of 36-236-32 overall (.171 winning percentage). Her teams were 9-169-20 in ECAC Hockey, and never finished higher than 11th place. They had never won more than nine games in a season. Asano Barcomb had a year remaining on her contract.
"First off, I want to thank Jim McLaughlin and the entire Union College staff for giving me this opportunity, said Sciba. "Being a head coach has always been a goal throughout my entire career and I couldn't be more excited to be the new leader of this hockey program. This is going to be a fun process that we're going to take a day at a time. Our staff is going to inject some new life, a new attitude, and create an environment that is full of passion and energy. We're going to get to work right away."
The Dutchwomen finished 2015-16 with a record of 0-28-6, becoming the first Division I women’s hockey team ever to have a winless season. (The last time a men’s team went winless was Alaska-Fairbanks in 1980-81). Union also holds the Division I hockey record for most consecutive games without a win: 51 and counting, dating back to December 2014.
Before going to Colgate, Sciba spent four seasons with the Niagara women's hockey team. After three years as an assistant coach, Sciba took over as head coach in 2011-12. The Purple Eagles went 10-16-8. The program was dropped after the season.
Sciba, who played college hockey at Notre Dame from 2003-07, spent the past four seasons at Colgate under head coach Greg Fargo. The Raiders posted their best season ever, finishing fourth in the ECACH with a 12-5-5 record and hosting a league tournament quarterfinal series for the first time. They ousted Harvard in three games before losing to Clarkson in the semifinals. Colgate's overall record was 22-9-7, and it was ranked eighth in the final USCHO.com/NCAA hockey top-10 poll.
"Josh Sciba's experience as a student-athlete at Notre Dame and a coach at Colgate provide an excellent blend of academic, athletic and coaching attributes that will benefit us from our next head women's ice hockey coach," said McLaughlin. "He impressed the committee with his interest and due diligence in what he will do for our program. We have excellent student-athletes in our women's ice hockey program and we believe Josh is a perfect fit and the right person to build Union Women's Ice Hockey into prominence in ECAC Hockey and nationally."