Ice Hockey Wiki
Bob Kullen
Biographical details
Born 1949
Milton, Massachusetts
Died November 2 1990 (aged 41)
Durham, New Hampshire
Playing career
1969–1971 Bowdoin
1971–1973 Braintree Hawks
1973–1974 Manchester Monarchs
Position(s) Defenseman
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1977–1986 New Hampshire (assistant)
1986–1987 New Hampshire
1988–1990 New Hampshire

Robert A. Kullen (1949 – November 2, 1990) was an American ice hockey coach and player. He was the head coach of the University of New Hampshire for a short time in the late 1980s before a rare heart condition that necessitated a heart transplant forced him to step away from his position and ultimately cost him his life a month later.[1] In addition to coaching New Hampshire's ice hockey team, he also coached the New Hampshire golf team and soccer team.[2]


Bob Kullen starred as a defenseman for Bowdoin College until graduating in the spring of 1971. He continued playing in a short minor league career, appearing for the Braintree Hawks in two seasons then for the Manchester Monarchs in the only year the Can-Am Hockey League was in operation before calling it quits after 1974.[3] He turned to coaching afterwards, finding his way onto the staff of Charlie Holt at New Hampshire starting in 1977–78 and remaining as an assistant there until Holt's retirement in 1985–86.[4]

Kullen was chosen as Holt's successor and began rebuilding the team that had won only 5 games the year before.[5] After a season of modest gains it was discovered that Kullen suffered from a rare form of heart disease and had to have an immediate heart transplant that caused him to miss the entire 1987–88 season.[6] Another long-time UNH assistant, Dave O'Connor filled in for Kullen, but the team was predictably flat in his absence. Kullen returned behind the bench the following year and continued the work he had started, getting the team to 12 wins in 1988–89 and then followed it up with a 17–17–5 mark, their first .500 season since leaving ECAC Hockey after 1983–84. While he was expecting to continue coaching for the foreseeable future, Kullen began rejecting the transplanted heart in the fall of 1990 and was forced to turn over the team to Dick Umile to recover but he died about a month later on November 2.[7]

In his memory, Hockey East renamed their Coach of the Year Award in his honor and fittingly the first recipient of the 'Bob Kullen Coach of the Year Award' was the man who replaced him at New Hampshire.[8] in 1991 Bob Kullen became the first player to have his uniform number retired by Bowdoin College in the history of the athletic department.[9]

Head coaching record[]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
New Hampshire Wildcats (Hockey East) (1986–1987)
1986–87 New Hampshire 8–27–3 5–24–3 7th
New Hampshire: 8–27–3 5–24–3
New Hampshire Wildcats (Hockey East) (1988–1990)
1988–89 New Hampshire 12–22–0 9–17–0 6th Hockey East Quarterfinals
1989–90 New Hampshire 17–17–5 8–9–4 5th Hockey East Semifinals
New Hampshire: 29–39–5 17–26–4
Total: 37–66–8

      National Champion         Conference Regular Season Champion         Conference Tournament Champion
      Conference Regular Season & Conference Tournament Champion       Conference Division Champion


See also[]


  1. "UNH Won't Forget 'Kully'", Times Union, 1992-03-26. Retrieved on 2014-07-12. 
  2. Robert Sullivan. A TRANSPLANT FOR THE COACH.
  3. "Bob Kullen", Hockey DB. Retrieved on 2014-07-12. 
  4. "All-Time Assistant Coaches", New Hampshire Wildcats. Retrieved on 2014-07-12. Archived from the original on 2014-07-15. 
  5. "New Hampshire Men's Hockey Team History", Retrieved on 2014-07-12. 
  6. "Wildcat Ice Hockey", October 2002. Retrieved on 2014-07-12. 
  7. "True to His School", Seacoast Online, 2002-04-03. Retrieved on 2014-07-12. 
  8. "Hockey East Awards", College Hockey Historical Archive. Retrieved on 2014-07-12. 
  9. "Robert A. Kullen '71", Bowdoid Polar Bears. Retrieved on 2014-07-12. 
  10. "2013–14 Hockey East Media Guide", Hockey East. Retrieved on 2014-05-19. 

External links[]