Rick Seeley announced as new women’s hockey coach

Rick Seeley announced as new women’s hockey coach
by Seth Rothman
April 8, 2008

HAMDEN — Rick Seeley was announced as the new women’s ice hockey coach at Quinnipiac in a conference call on Tuesday afternoon.

This past season, Seeley led the Clarkson University women’s team to the #9 spot in the USCHO.com poll, compiling a 24-9-5 record, including an 11-3-2 mark in ECAC Hockey. His Knights lost in the ECAC Hockey semi-finals to Harvard, the eventual national runner-up in the NCAA Tournament. 

“The feeling I got when I interviewed and toured the campus was really attractive. I believe Quinnipiac is one of the best kept secrets in the northeast, and I’m exited by the progressive vision that [University President] John Lahey, [Athletic Director] Jack [McDonald], and [Vice President for Athletic Marketing and External Relations] Val [Belmonte] share,” Seeley said. “I look forward to bringing the women’s hockey program up to the standards that are expected at Quinnipiac. Hopefully it won’t be the best kept secret for long.”

“We are thrilled — Rick comes to us with great success in the ECAC, great success at Manhattanville, he’s had some time as a men’s hockey coach and player, and knows the game as well as anybody,” McDonald said, “He comes with great references from the rest of collegiate ice hockey.”

Seeley has been a head coach at the collegiate level since 1998-99, when he led the formation of the women’s program at Manhattanville (D-III). After compiling a 54-16-4 record there, he moved to Clarkson for the 2002-03 season, and coached the team during its first season of play in 2003-04.

“With change comes renewed excitement,” Seeley said. “I know nothing about the situation before, I know nothing about the players beyond breaking down video, but I have to assume that they’re going to be excited about new challenges. Whatever’s there, I think we’re all going to work together, and they’ll start experiencing successes.”

In his time at Clarkson, Seeley was 93-57-18. He admits there will be some emotion when he coaches against his former team next season.

“I’m leaving a group that I love and adore. They were strong this year with a great recruiting class,” Seeley said. “They’re going to be exceptional [next year]. I’ll be their biggest fan for all but two games a year. The problem is I know they’re going to be geared up to kick our butts, too. It was a real tough decision to leave [Clarkson], but a really easy one to come to Quinnipiac.”

Seeley has only once struggled through an under .500 season, going 13-17-6 in 2004-05. He says he hopes to bring that success to Quinnipiac when he starts recruiting — last night, as he joked.

“I anticipate a group that’s excited for a new challenge and wanting to be a part of it. Beyond that, I don’t know the kids,” Seeley said. “I look forward to getting to meet them next week, but there’s not one set formula. Any good coach is going to adjust. I have to adjust to the new personnel on this team, and they have to adjust to me. I look forward to meeting them.”  

Seeley admits the TD Banknorth Sports Center was a big reason for him to take the job. However, he realizes there is quite a bit of work to get Quinnipiac to the lofty heights the Knights were at. Quinnipiac finished the 2007-08 season with the 5th worst winning percentage in D-I women’s hockey.

“Facilities can’t do it on their own. I hadn’t been to the campus — we just rushed in for a game this year up on the hill and left, so I had never seen the campus,” Seeley said. “The feeling I got {when he toured campus during his interview), just the genuine positive aura of [campus], whether it was the students there, or people working is what really attracted me. That’s the kind of environment I really wanted to be a part of. I just don’t think there’s many out there like it.”

Now, the work begins. Seeley understands things have not been good for this program, but he said he is clearly determined to change that.

“The cupboard’s pretty bare at this point. It’s a pretty unique year in that most institutions did their recruiting early,” Seeley said. “There are still potential student athletes out there that can help our program next year. I have been talking to a number of those players and coaches. I think we should be able to bring in four or five key players for next year.”

“I don’t think in women’s hockey the facility is going to get it done for you. I think it’s an amazing vehicle to recruiting and marketing, but it’s not the ultimate. That said, now that I’m at Quinnipiac, and I have that to work with, it’s a facility that’s second to none, so there’s no excuse when it comes to that.”

Contract terms were not disclosed.  

The addition of Seeley was necessary when Quinnipiac’s former coach, Michael Barrett, accepted a new position in Alumni Affairs at the University last month. It is unknown whether Barrett’s assistants, Matt Kelly and Lisa Giovanelli, will be retained by Seeley.


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