Northeastern’s new athletic director is Jim Madigan, a Huskies hockey legend

Madigan addressing hockey players
As head coach of the men’s hockey team for the past decade, Jim Madigan (174-139-39) has led the Huskies to the last three Beanpot titles, as well as three NCAA tournament appearances and two Hockey East titles. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Northeastern has named Jim Madigan, a hockey legend for the Huskies as a coach and player, to serve as its new athletic director. 

Portrait of Jim Madigan

Jim Madigan, the new athletic director at Northeastern University. Photo by Northeastern Athletics

“I’m humbled and honored to be our next athletic director,” said Madigan. “I look at this role as a culmination of all my experiences here on the Northeastern campus.”

Madigan takes over a Northeastern athletic department that has ranked in the top 15 nationally for all-around excellence among Division 1 schools that don’t compete in football. 

“Within the athletics department there’s a strong administrative team and a lot of quality coaches that I’ll be working with to see where we can continue growing and developing our programs,” Madigan said. “And most importantly there are quality student-athletes who are motivated academically, athletically, and socially to be part of the Northeastern community.”

As head coach of the men’s hockey team for the past decade, Madigan (174-139-39) has led the Huskies to the last three Beanpot titles, as well as three NCAA tournament appearances and two Hockey East titles. 

Madigan played for the Huskies from 1981 to 1985, helping drive Northeastern to a NCAA Frozen Four appearance in 1982. After serving as a Northeastern assistant coach from 1986 to 1993, he moved to the NHL for 19 years as a scout for the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins while contributing to the Penguins’ Stanley Cup title in 2009.

He has contributed to all but one of Northeastern’s seven Beanpot titles as a player (two), assistant coach (one), and head coach (three). The Huskies ended their Huskies’ three-decade drought at the Beanpot in 2018, and Madgian departs the program on a streak of eight winning seasons.

“As we began initiating the process to search for a new athletics director, it became apparent to many of us that the best candidate was already here at Northeastern—demonstrating his deep commitment to our student-athletes over an impressive 30-year career,” wrote Ken Henderson, chancellor and senior vice president for learning, in a letter announcing Madigan’s appointment. 

Madigan acknowledged that he faces a bittersweet transition in leaving hockey, the sport that has dominated his life since he was a 5-year-old growing up in Canada.

“But it’s made easier by the fact that coach Keefe and coach McLaughlin have been part of this program,” Madigan said. “They bring continuity and consistency.”

Madigan said he appreciates the balance of the Northeastern athletic experience, which embraces academics and career development in addition to the focus on sports.

Six Northeastern teams qualified for national postseason tournaments over the past year, led by the women’s hockey team that earned its first-ever No. 1 ranking on its way to the final of the NCAA championship game. These competitive successes were complemented by a cumulative 3.405 grade point average among Northeastern student-athletes during the recent spring semester. The GPAs of the past two semesters rate among the three highest ever for Northeastern’s athletic department, which has produced 27 straight semesters of 3.0 GPA or higher.

Additionally, many Northeastern student-athletes pursue co-ops alongside their academic and athletic pursuits.

“Northeastern does athletics the right way,” said Madigan. “We’re competitive, we want to excel in everything we do. But it’s not at the expense of making sure our student-athletes challenge themselves and are motivated academically and socially to be part of the community on campus and in the Greater Boston area.”

Madigan’s Northeastern experiences complement his hockey career as he takes on his new role. He has served as the university’s assistant director of physical plant services, director of athletic development, and associate dean and director of development in the D’Amore-McKim School of Business).

His daughters, Kelly and Kate, ran track at Northeastern and graduated in 2013 and 2015, respectively. Kate Madigan is currently working in the NHL as the New Jersey Devils director of pro scouting.

“I started on this campus 40 years ago,” said Madigan. “I look at my daughters, who had great experiences as track athletes. And I love now being able to play a role in all of our athletic programs and making sure that all of our student-athletes have a first-class experience.”

Madigan said a “plan of succession” for leadership of the men’s hockey program revolves around Jerry Keefe, the associate head coach who was Madigan’s first staff hire, and Mike McLaughlin, an assistant coach who has worked alongside Madigan for the past seven years.

Madigan replaces Jeff Konya, who leaves to become athletics director at San Jose State.

Konya’s three years at Northeastern culminated with him receiving the Athletics Director of the Year award by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. He helped create new partnerships with Under Armour, NESN, and TD Garden.

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