Paul Pearl is in his 19th season at the helm of the Holy Cross men’s ice hockey program in 2013-2014, and is just the fifth head coach in the history of ice hockey at Holy Cross. On January 21, 2006, with a 3-2 victory at Dartmouth, Pearl became the school’s all-time winningest coach with the 168th victory of his career.
Pearl has forged a 283-271-66 record at Holy Cross over 18 years and has been the man behind the bench in nine of the 11 most successful seasons in Holy Cross history, while he has had five teams post 20-plus win seasons. Along with 17 post-season appearances in 18 years, Pearl led the Crusaders to their first two NCAA Tournament appearances in 2003-2004 and 2005-2006, while he coached the Crusaders to their first ever NCAA Tournament win with the 4-3 overtime victory over Minnesota in Grand Forks, N.D., on March 24, 2006.
Last season, he lead the team to its first back-to-back 20-win seasons in program history as the Crusaders went 20-14-3. They finished third in Atlantic Hockey with a record of 15-9-3. He led the team to their first national ranking, No. 20, since the 2005-2006 season, following a win over eventual national champion Yale.
In the 2011-2012 season, the Crusaders went 20-15-4 overall for the sixth 20-win season in program history. The Crusaders’ 15-8-4 Atlantic Hockey record was their best since going 19-7-2 in 2005-2006.
Pearl was named the Atlantic Hockey Coach of the Year for the second time in his career in the 2010-2011 seasom, after the Crusaders went 17-16-5 overall (14-8-5 Atlantic Hockey). The Crusaders set a new school record with a 12-game unbeaten streak as Holy Cross went 9-0-3 between Jan. 22-March 11, which also included seven consecutive victories. The previous school record came when the team went 10-0-0 between Dec. 8, 1979-Jan. 16, 1980. The Crusaders made it to the Atlantic Hockey semifinals for the first time since the 2005-2006 season.
In 2005-2006, Pearl led the Crusaders to a school single season record 27 victories, as the team posted an overall record of 27-10-2. Holy Cross also claimed the Atlantic Hockey regular season and tournament titles.
During the 2003-2004 campaign, the Crusaders tallied a 22-10-4 overall record. Holy Cross swept the Atlantic Hockey tournament, and captured two shutout victories en route to the title, including the 5-0 playoff win versus American International (3/13/04) and in the 4-0 championship game win over Sacred Heart (3/20/04).
In 1998-1999, the Crusaders earned a 22-9-4 mark and the MAAC hockey championship. It was the first time in the school’s history that the hockey program won its conference championship.
In Pearl’s first season (1994-1995), he inherited a team that had one winning season in its eight previous years. He guided the squad to a 15-10 record, including an 11-4 mark at the Hart Center and an ECAC Tournament berth.
Over the years, Pearl has coached several talented athletes, including 1999 MAAC Goalie of the Year Scott Simpson, 2002 MAAC Offensive Player of the Year and former New York Ranger Patrick Rissmiller, 2003-2004 Atlantic Hockey Defensive Forward of Year Greg Kealey, 2003-2004 Atlantic Hockey Individual Sportsmanship honoree Tim Coskren, 2005-2006 All-American Tyler McGregor, Holy Cross’ all-time Division I points leader James Sixsmith and the 2006-2007 Atlantic Hockey Defenseman of the Year Jon Landry. Not only have Pearl’s athletes received numerous accolades, but the coach himself has earned several honors, such as the 2003-2004 and 2010-2011 Atlantic Hockey Coach of the Year award, the 2001-2002 MAAC Coach of the Year award, the 1997-1998 ECAC East Coach of the Year award and the 1997-1998 New England Hockey Writers Coach of Year honor.
Pearl also served Holy Cross in the capacity of baseball coach from 1998-2001. He coached the first two teams to ever reach the Patriot League baseball playoffs at Holy Cross and was twice named Patriot League Coach of the Year.
A 1989 graduate of Holy Cross, Pearl served as an assistant coach at the University of Connecticut from 1992-1994. While at Connecticut, Pearl helped lead the Huskies to an impressive mark of 34-15-5 and a pair of ECAC Tournament appearances. Pearl also served as assistant coach at Brown University, gaining valuable recruiting experience in the United States and Canada. Also at Brown he served as the head men’s golf coach.
Prior to serving as an assistant at Connecticut, Pearl directed the ice hockey program at the Portsmouth Abbey School in Portsmouth, R.I., for two seasons. He works extensively with USA Hockey in the Massachusetts Satellite program and has served as assistant coach several times, including the Massachusetts Select 17 squad that captured gold at the St. Cloud Festival in Minnesota.
As a four-year letterwinner for the Crusaders, he played in 125 games as a defenseman, tallying 14 goals and 63 assists. Pearl led Holy Cross with 25 assists as a senior captain on the 1988-1989 squad. During his four-year playing-career, Holy Cross won 63 games and qualified for the ECAC East Tournament twice.
Pearl and his wife Karen have two children, Robert and Katheryn. They reside in Wakefield, Mass.