Cronin is a graduate of Colby College, class of 1986.
Cronin began his career as a graduate assistant at the University of Maine from 1988-90, then as an assistant for Colorado College from 1990-93. He returned to Maine to be an assistant coach from 1993-95 and was named interim head coach following a scandal that banished head coach Shawn Walsh from the bench for one year in 1995-96, leading the Black Bears to the Hockey East championship game in 1996 where they lost to Providence College, 3-2. Cronin spent time working with USA Hockey before joining the New York Islanders in 1998. He served as an assistant coach with the Islanders for 5 seasons before being named head coach of their minor league affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He coached the Sound Tigers for 2 seasons with great success, going 78-61-16-5.
In 2005 Cronin replaced Bruce Crowder as head coach of the Northeastern Huskies men's hockey team. Cronin inherited a team that graduated almost all of their key players from a 15-18-5 team and had little hope of competing in the short term. The team went 3-24-7 in 2005-06 before posting a 13-18-5 record the following year behind the development of many of Cronin's recruits. The team further improved to 16-18-3 in 2007-08, winning their first playoff game in years in the 2-1 series loss to the University of Vermont.
The Huskies opened the 2008-09 season expected to contend for home ice advantage in Hockey East (4th place or better) for the first time since 1997-98. The Huskies went 23-9-4 in the regular season, leading the conference until the final day when they lost at Boston College 4-1, falling to second place in Hockey East in the process. Season highlights included Northeastern's first sweep of Maine in 25 years, a win over Boston College in the Beanpot for the first time since 1994, and winning 2 of 3 games against both of the previous season's Hockey East Finalists, Vermont and Boston College. The Huskies opened the postseason by defeating the University of Massachusetts in the Hockey East Quarterfinals at Matthews Arena, 2 games to 1, with the 3rd game being won in overtime on a goal by freshman Alex Tuckerman.
Cronin lives in Boston, and he has many family connections at Northeastern. His father, Don, and his uncle, Jerry, both played hockey for the Huskies in the 1950s and 1960s, and his cousin Kerry played for the women's teams from 1983-86, winning three Beanpots.
|Team||Year||Overall Record||Hockey East Record||Beanpot Results||Post Season|
|W||L||T||Pts||Win %||W||L||T||Pts||Finish||Win %|
|Northeastern||2008–09||25||12||4||54||.659||18||6||3||39||2nd||.722||2nd||NCAA Tournament First Round|
|Total*||93||101||23||209||--||64||75||21||149||--||--||0 wins||1 playoff appearance|
*Current as of March 8, 2010 at 11:00 EST