Gilligan's graceful exit - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Gilligan's graceful exit

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He's had numerous hockey victories, beat cancer and won over a community with his personality and dedication. Now, Mike Gilligan is saying goodbye as the place he's called home for half his life is saying thanks.  Gilligan's send off party at the Sheraton in Burlington Sunday night featured former players and colleagues. Each sharing plenty of stories and memories.

"Being a dad now, you want your kids to do well in sports and everything, but you want them to be good people," Former Catamount forward, Martin St. Louis said.  "I think I couldn't have found a better coach to help me do that I guess."

"To see the old players, I stay in touch with most of them, but there were some guys that showed up to this that I never would've imagined would get here, so that was fun," Gilligan said.

Not just a men's hockey coach, Gilligan worked with the golf team and later coached the women's hockey team while serving as an ambassador for the athletic department.

"What he's taught all of us, that he's touched over the years, it's more than just the student athletes,"  former Catamount and LPGA Tour member Libby Smith said.  "It's more than just being apart of the university. It's about being in the community, getting out, treating people with respect."

"First thing that comes to my mind is just the way he handles himself," former catamount forward John LeClair said.  "The way he treated people.  Me personally, the way he made me feel in his presence.  The way he would talk to me. I just have a tremendous amount of respect for him."

"I don't think anyone has ever had a lot more fun than me as a coach," Gilligan said.  "It's a wonderful career and you guys have helped make my life the best."

A perfect night for a man who is as humble as he was committed to the campus community.

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