After five seasons with the UMass women’s team, Cobb is leaving the ACHA to take a position with Williams College (NCAA DIII). As odd as it may seem, Cobb has a back injury to thank for his new position.
Cobb was forced out of playing after suffering a back injury that forced him away from the full contact style of college hockey. However, his love for the game remained and he began to referee which led him into a coaching position.
As a senior at UMass, Cobb joined the women’s team as an assistant coach. His first serious foray into coaching went far deeper than he could have imagined as he found himself at the helm by the end of that season. He closed out his senior year of college as the head coach and held the position for the next five seasons.
At the time of his takeover, Cobb described the team as one in which those who showed up would get to play. Now, at the time of his departure, UMass has become a national contender.
“When I first started the team was pretty much just who showed up and we wanted to be better,” Cobb said. “My first year we had six skaters and two goalies coming back. This past year we had 3 goalies and 21 skaters.”
The 2012 season was the most successful for UMass under Cobb. They fought through a very difficult schedule for a berth in the National Semi-Final before losing out to *Northeastern 2-0*. While disappointing, the result was an indication of a massive improvement for Cobb and the program.
Cobb is confident that UMass will not only contend, but be in the conversation for a National Championship in the next few seasons. In five years, UMass has gone from returning eight players to eighteen, with a strong freshmen class entering in 2012.
With a strong core returning and the potential to remain as a national power for the foreseeable future made Cobb’s decision quite difficult. At the end of the day he knew that taking the next step forward was necessary, but the bittersweet departure from a strong program stuck with him.
“To have the team make the semi-finals this year and have a chance at winning a national championship in the next few years made this a really difficult decision,” Cobb said. “I have put a lot into this team for the past 5 years and something came up that would give me a great opportunity. That was the hardest part, leaving behind a team that was going to be better than the one we had last year.”
The foundation that the incoming UMass team was built on was from a strong recruiting effort from Cobb at various high school and travel hockey tournaments over the course of his tenure at UMass. One thing he noted was the growth of the talent and reputation throughout the ACHA.
“One of my biggest challenges, when I started, was explaining what the ACHA was to people,” Cobb said. “Now it has become something that people know about before I even mention it.
“The ACHA presents a unique opportunity for a player who would be a DIII talent but wants that DI experience. Even though I’ll be recruiting for Williams from now on, if I come across that type of player I will know to point them at the ACHA or UMass.”
Cobb will be stepping in as an assistant with Williams this season and will be back in a similar position that he was when he began his time with UMass. Cobb also did some volunteer coaching with Amherst College over the past few seasons.
For a player who thought chiropractic school was the path he would follow when his playing career ended, Cobb has carved out an impressive. Expect nothing but more news from him as he becomes yet another member of the ACHA family to expand his footprint in the college hockey community.
“I never expected to make college coaching my life when I started at UMass, but now I could not see myself doing anything else.”