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Signed through 2019-20 season

Monday, July 21, 2014

Derek Schooley agrees to four-year contract extension with Robert Morris University

Head men’s hockey coach now signed through 2019-20 season

Moon TownshipPa.  As the Robert Morris University men’s hockey team has grown from infancy to its current status as one of the rising programs in NCAA Division I, it has known one head coach: Derek Schooley.

That fact will remain, as Schooley has agreed to a four-year contract extension with RMU that will apply through the 2019-20 season. Schooley was previously under contract through 2015-16; the new deal was approved by RMU Athletic Director Dr. Craig Coleman and President Dr. Gregory Dell’Omo.

This spring, the Colonials qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 10 seasons of existence, all of which have come with the 43-year-old Schooley behind the bench. RMU has finished with a winning percentage of .500 or better in each of its past four seasons – capped by the program’s first Atlantic Hockey Association (AHA) title in March.

"We're delighted to extend Coach Schooley's contract into the next decade," Coleman said Monday. "He's the founder of the program and he has consistently pushed it to higher and higher levels. With him, the NCAA Tournament hasn't seen the last of us!"

Schooley’s overall record of 143-175-45 covers the program’s climb from its inaugural campaign of 2004-05 to its perch as defending conference champion. Last season was emblematic of the Colonials’ decade of progress, as they rebounded from a 2-12-2 start to win 17 of their last 26 games, including a 6-1 run in the AHA postseason tournament.

“I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Coleman and Dr. Dell’Omo for their incredible support of Robert Morris hockey and our student-athletes over the years,” Schooley said. “Their efforts make it possible for our program to achieve the goals we set for ourselves, whether they be on a daily basis or in the form of conference championships and NCAA Tournament appearances.”

Although RMU fell to the top-ranked University of Minnesota in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the very act of competing for the national championship was a large step for the second-youngest program in Division I.

“I feel very fortunate to have started something very special from the ground up,” Schooley said. “Making the NCAA Tournament was very exciting for not only me personally, but for everyone who has been involved in the first decade of RMU hockey.”

In addition to their success on the ice, Schooley’s teams have built a tradition of excellence in the classroom. For the third consecutive year, the Colonials placed the most players on the AHA’s All-Academic Team with 25. In addition, Pittsburgh native Zac Lynch was recently named to the Capital One Academic All-America At-Large Team, a first in program history.

A native of St. Louis, Schooley played defense at Western Michigan University from 1991-94 and competed professionally for three years before started his coaching career in 1997 with the Chicago Freeze of the North American Hockey League. Following stints as an assistant at Cornell University and the Air Force Academy, Schooley was named RMU’s first varsity men’s hockey coach in 2003.

“It’s hard to believe that we have been in existence for 10 years,” said Schooley, who has three children – Kaitlyn, Brendan and Taylor – with his wife Alicia. “It seems like we just started Year 1 yesterday.”

After an eight-win yield in his first year, Schooley oversaw an improvement to 15-15-4 by 2007-08. A pair of sub-.500 campaigns followed, but since the Colonials joined the AHA in 2010-11, they have gone 74-61-19 overall. 43 of Schooley’s players have gone on to sign pro contracts, with four participating inNHL training camps and several others skating at NHL development camps.

Prior to last season, RMU had come within a goal of making the NCAA Tournament on two occasions (2007 and ’09), but lost both times in the College HockeyAmerica conference championship game. The Colonials reversed that trend this March when they downed Canisius 7-4 in the AHA title contest.

Schooley's team seeks to grow from its postseason breakthrough as it enters its second decade. Paced by USCHO.com All-Second Team honoree Cody Wydo and a talented cast of 19 returners, RMU will play 17 home games at the Island Sports Center in 2014-15.

In addition to skating in their largest home schedule ever, the Colonials will host the third-annual Three Rivers Classic at Consol Energy Center from Dec. 29-30. They will also play the first outdoor game in team history Jan. 3, when they battle Bowling Green at Toledo’s Fifth Third Field.

For more information on Pittsburgh’s College Hockey Team, including a full season schedule, visit rmucolonials.com.

#Robert Morris Hockey – Pittsburgh’s College Hockey Team#