Co-head coach of Clarkson University’s national championship women’s hockey team stepping down
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 5:49 pm

After celebrating one of the best sports seasons in Clarkson history, Women's Ice Hockey Co-head Coach Shannon Desrosiers is leaving to tend to a growing family. With her husband and hockey co-head coach Matt and their daughter Brynlee Matison, Shannon Desrosiers shows off the team’s NCAA National Championship trophy. Photo by Jim Meagher.

POTSDAM -- One of the two co-head coaches of Clarkson University’s national-champion women’s hockey team is leaving to devote more time to her growing family.

Shannon Desrosiers, a fixture with the Golden Knights for the last 11 years, is expecting her second child this summer. While she heads up the coaching at home, the other co-head hockey coach, her husband Matt, will assume head coaching duties with the team on the ice.

With the Golden Knights’ Women’s Ice Hockey program since its inception in 2003-04 as a fledgling Division I program, Shannon Desrosiers is leaving on a high note as coach of one of the most successful varsity teams in Clarkson University’s sports history.

“It is with both sadness and excitement that I step down from my duties coaching the women's hockey team at Clarkson,” she said.

“It has been an amazing 11 years with the program and I could not be more proud of how far the team has come in my time here. I have been very fortunate to work with extremely talented and hardworking players both past and present, and a staff that has made the job extremely competitive, entertaining, and fun to come to work every day,” said Desrosiers. “Each year has brought a different challenge and has helped me grown personally and professionally. This year I learned from our team the true power of belief. That no matter what adversity we faced, the belief in a goal was far more powerful. It was an unbelievable experience and one that I will always remember.”

First as a Clarkson assistant coach from 2003-08 and then as the Knights’ co-head coach, along with her husband Matt, over the past six seasons, Shannon has mentored over 80 team members. Her players have built Clarkson University Women’s Hockey into one of the most respected programs in the country.

“Shannon exemplifies the values of Clarkson University in everything that she does,” said Clarkson President Tony Collins. “Her contributions to the women’s hockey program at Clarkson are so much more than bringing home our first NCAA championship. She has had a profound influence during the formation of our division I status and early on set the expectations that students succeed in life first and then strive for the same excellence on the ice in team competition.”

“For now, it is time for me to focus more time and energy on our growing family. I will miss coaching tremendously but I also look forward to the new challenges that lie ahead and thank Clarkson University for supporting me in doing so. I also personally want to thank President Tony Collins and Steve Yianoukos and Scott Smalling in the Athletics Department for allowing me the opportunity to help build the Women's Hockey program at Clarkson,” said she said. “I love working at a prestigious institution like Clarkson University and appreciate the support given to both the program and me throughout my career here.”

Co-coaches Shannon and Matt Desrosiers and assistant coach Matt Kelly guided the Golden Knights to the ECAC Hockey regular season title with a 16-2-4 league mark and capped off a 31-5-5 overall record with a 5-4 victory over two-time defending national champion Minnesota in the NCAA Championship game on March 23.

“Shannon’s impact on Clarkson University’s contemporary Women’s Hockey program is without an equal. She has helped to bring to Clarkson some of the finest student-athletes in the country,” said Steve Yianoukos, director of Athletics and Recreation. “We will miss her on the bench.”

With Shannon on the Clarkson coaching staff, the Knights posted a .613 winning percentage through 11 years and won 227 games, including 134 victories while she was a co-head coach. The Green and Gold skated to nine winning seasons, participated in the ECAC Hockey playoffs in every year they were eligible and made three NCAA Tournament appearances.

A top forward for St. Lawrence University from 1999-2003, Shannon finished her collegiate career as the Saints’ fourth all-time leading scorer, amassing 123 points on 44 goals and 79 assists through 138 games. Serving as a captain in her senior campaign, the Fernie, British Columbia native tied for the team lead in points (38) and assists (25) and led the Saints to the inaugural women’s Frozen Four. She was named St. Lawrence’s Best Defensive Player her senior season.

She is also an avid runner who has placed among elite runners in several marathons, including the Boston Marathon. She has also taken up triathlon and Ironman competition. She was the top amateur female competitor and ninth female overall in the 2010 Ironman Canada. Shannon participated in the 2010 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. She also completed her MBA at Clarkson in 2006.

Matt Desrosiers will assume all head coaching duties. Matt Kelly has been promoted to first assistant coach.

A national search is now underway to add another assistant coach to the staff.