For hockey fans, the name Robert Morris is synonymous with success. As the head coach of Robert Morris University’s men’s ice hockey team, Coach Derek Schooley has created a legacy that has not only transformed the program but also impacted the sport as a whole. With over a decade of experience at the helm, Coach Schooley has led the Colonials to unprecedented heights and solidified their place as a top-tier team in the competitive Atlantic Hockey Conference.
At the heart of this success is not just raw talent and hard work, but also the influence of Coach Schooley’s leadership and the culture he has fostered within the team. Let’s take a closer look at the impact of this remarkable coach on the Robert Morris hockey program.
The Beginning of a Legacy
Coach Schooley’s journey with Robert Morris began in 2003, when he was hired as the first head coach of the men’s ice hockey team. At the time, the program was still in its infancy, having only been established in 2002. However, Coach Schooley quickly made his mark, leading the team to a respectable 10-14-4 record in their first season.
Under his guidance, the Colonials continued to grow and improve each year. In 2013, they joined the Atlantic Hockey Conference, a move that would prove to be a game changer for the team. That same year, they earned their first ever trip to the NCAA tournament, a major milestone for the still-young program.
Redefining Robert Morris Hockey
Since then, the Robert Morris hockey program has never looked back. Under Coach Schooley’s leadership, they have consistently been a top contender in the Atlantic Hockey Conference, earning conference titles in 2014 and 2018. They have also appeared in the NCAA tournament six times in the past eight years, including a frozen four-time appearance in 2014.
But perhaps most significantly, Coach Schooley has transformed Robert Morris into a top destination for talented players. Thanks to his leadership and the success of the program, the Colonials have been able to recruit top players from across North America, cementing their place as a force to be reckoned with in collegiate hockey.
The Impact of Coach Schooley’s Leadership
So, what makes Coach Schooley’s leadership so impactful? There are a few key factors that have contributed to his success and have shaped the Robert Morris hockey program into what it is today.
First and foremost, Coach Schooley has instilled a winning mentality within the team. He has cultivated a culture of hard work, determination, and resilience, instilling in his players the belief that they can achieve greatness on and off the ice. This mindset, combined with his strategic coaching style, has helped the Colonials overcome challenges and emerge as one of the top teams in their conference.
Moreover, Coach Schooley places a strong emphasis on recruitment and player development. He takes the time to get to know each player and their strengths, utilizing their abilities to craft a cohesive and successful team. This personalized approach has resulted in key players becoming stars in the NCAA and beyond, with several former players now thriving in professional leagues.
Lastly, Coach Schooley understands the importance of community and giving back. He encourages his players to excel not only on the ice but also in the classroom and in their community. Every year, the team participates in various community service projects, giving back to the Pittsburgh area that has supported them throughout their rise to success.
A Lasting Legacy
As Coach Schooley enters his 18th season with the Colonials, his legacy will continue to be felt both within the program and in the sport of hockey. He has established a culture of excellence that will continue to attract top talent and push the program to new heights. His leadership has not only shaped the lives of his players but has also had a lasting impact on the community and the sport as a whole. And for that, we can all be grateful for the Robert Morris Coach Legacy.