Matthews Named Interim Head Coach
Contact: Ben Badua
Amherst, Mass. - Amherst College Director of Athletics Suzanne Coffey has announced the hiring of Jeff Matthews as interim head coach of the Lord Jeffs’ women’s ice hockey program.
“I am excited to welcome Jeff to the Amherst family,” said Coffey. “We are fortunate to have landed a coach with such depth of experience. His coaching philosophy is closely aligned with our program’s values and we look forward to a seamless transition.”
Matthews spent the last six seasons as the head coach of the Northwood School boys’ junior team in Lake Placid, N.Y. During his tenure, the Huskies amassed a 174-59-17 overall record, recording a .730 winning percentage. From 2006-12, over 50 Northwood boys’ hockey alumni have continued their careers at the collegiate level, joining the ranks of NCAA Division I and III institutions nationwide.
“It has been my career ambition to coach at an institution like Amherst College,” said Matthews. “I was immediately drawn to the type of student-athlete that attends Amherst and their balanced approach towards life, academics and hockey. To be part of such an exceptional athletics staff and community is a thrilling opportunity for my family and me.”
While at Northwood, Matthews helped place numerous players into prestigious Ivy and Patriot league institutions, along with several NESCAC programs including Bowdoin, Middlebury and Wesleyan. In addition to his coaching responsibilities, Matthews taught economics and was recognized as the 2010 Jim Fullerton Award winner (Northwood’s top faculty prize).
“Coach Matthews brings a wealth of hockey knowledge,” said assistant coach Stephanie Clegg ’12. “I believe the program will benefit from his creativity and unique coaching perspective. His passion for success on the ice, as well as in the classroom and community, makes him a perfect fit for the Amherst lifestyle.”
Prior to Northwood, Matthews spent two seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater Division I RPI. Helping to run every facet of the Engineers’ men’s hockey program, he recruited ECAC All-Rookie honoree Mathias Lange, who finished his career ranked sixth all-time in goals-against average. He also served as the head boys’ varsity coach at Northfield Mount Hermon from 2001-04, after getting his coaching start as an assistant at Division I American International College.
“Jeff has a great hockey mind,” said Amherst men’s hockey head coach Jack Arena. “He enjoyed a lot of success as a head coach at Northwood, a very successful and prestigious program. His experience at RPI and AIC also makes him familiar with college hockey, but the most important thing is that he’s a great teacher.”
Matthews inherits a nationally competitive Lord Jeff program that posted a 158-69-19 record over the past nine seasons under former head coach Jim Plumer. Capturing three NESCAC titles since 2007, Amherst won consecutive national championships in 2009 and 2010. Last season, the Jeffs posted a 21-6-1 overall mark en route to an 11th-straight conference tournament appearance and fifth NCAA Championship berth.
“To have the chance to help maintain such an impressive tradition established by Coach Plumer and all of the past coaches and players is an honor,” said Matthews. “My staff and I are eager to get started and will give it everything we have to keep it going.”
No stranger to the Western Massachusetts hockey, Matthews is the son of longtime Westfield High School coach C.B. Matthews. He is married to former Division I Providence College women’s hockey standout Sarah Matthews, who also served as an assistant coach at RPI and Northwood.
Graduating from Deerfield Academy in 1991, he earned a bachelor’s of science degree in business management from RPI in 1995 before receiving a master’s in educational psychology from AIC in 2002.