When Brian Riley was named Army hockey's 16th head coach in 2004, he was familiar with West Point.
Following 14 years as an assistant to his brother Rob and a lifetime of hockey education from his father Jack, Brian Riley knew all about the U.S. Military Academy.
The knowledge, preparation and hard work have all paid off for Brian as he adds to the Riley legacy and Army hockey.
Just the third Army hockey coach in the past 62 years, Brian Riley has made his mark on a program coached by his father and brother in just under a decade.
The Vice President for Membership of the American Hockey Coaches Association, Brian Riley is a three-time Atlantic Hockey Association Coach of the Year, has guided Army to eight consecutive Atlantic Hockey Association playoff berths, led the team to its the first regular season championship in program history, posted non-conference victories and had four players chosen to participate in the NCAA Frozen Four Skills Competition. Riley was recently appointed to the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Committee, which is responsible for the management of the NCAA Championship.
Brian Riley has posted a 105-166-48 mark during his tenure behind the West Point bench after succeeding his brother, Rob who briefly retired from coaching in 2004. Prior to Rob, Jack Riley, their father, stood behind the Black Knights bench for 36 seasons. In addition to his success at Army, Jack Riley also coached the U.S. Olympic hockey team to a stunning gold medal in the 1960 Games.
Utilizing a defensive system that focuses on physical, intense play and opportunistic scoring, Riley has led his squad to the Atlantic Hockey Association playoffs in all nine of his seasons and has registered non-conference wins each of the past five campaigns.
An upstart Riley club opened the 2012-13 season as one of the hottest teams in the AHA with early wins over Sacred Heart (2), American International and then No. 19th-ranked Robert Morris - all in the friendly confines of Tate Rink. The Black Knights sat in the upper echelon of the AHA standings throughout much of the first half of conference action, which ultimately helped the USCHO name Riley its mid-season Coach of the Year.
Army went on to finish the year with an AHA playoff berth, forward Joe Kozlak earned AHA All-Rookie Team honors and senior Andy Starczewski was among the initial candidates for the Hobey Baker Award. In addition to the on-ice success of his players, Riley had the pleasure of coaching 2013 Men's Hockey Senior CLASS Award winner Cheyne Rocha, who also earned first team Academic All-America honors for the second year in a row.
In 2011-12, Army posted seven ties and four wins, including victories over Canadian rival Royal Military College (9-1), ECAC Hockey's Rensselaer (3-2) in the Toyota/UConn Classic and a dramatic 4-4 overtime tie with Air Force. Riley helped Army resume its rivalry with its military brethren for the first time since 2006 and then watched as 12 players registered points in the eight-goal victory. Army qualified for the Atlantic Hockey Playoffs but dropped a pair of games to Holy Cross in the opening round.
The 2010-11 team won 11 games and earned home ice for the playoffs while a pair of players - Marcel Alvarez and Cody Omilusik earned All-AHA accolades. Among the victories, was a 5-2 triumph at the University of Massachusetts at the Mullins Center, a dramatic 5-4 win at Air Force, a three-point weekend against Robert Morris and a 4-1 victory over AIC outdoors at Rentschler Field in Hartford, Conn.
During the 2009-10 season, Riley helped the Black Knights to an 11-win season and the No. 6 seed in the conference playoffs. Among the victories was a three-point weekend against Air Force at Tate Rink, a 4-4 overtime draw at Colgate and a 2-1 win at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the second consecutive year of a non-conference win.
In the postseason, Riley was selected as an assistant coach of the East squad at the NCAA Frozen Four Skills Competition where he coached Army's Owen Meyer, the fourth Black Knight selected for the honor, joining Brad Roberts (2006), Luke Flicek (2008) and Zach McKelvie (2009).
In 2008-09, with a team of 12 freshmen, Riley guided the Black Knights to the Atlantic Hockey Association playoffs for the sixth straight season. Included in the wins was a shocking upset of No. 2 Miami, 3-2 in the consolation game of the Ohio Hockey Classic.
Six years ago, Riley led Army to its first regular season championship and won 19 games for the second consecutive season.
Army went 19-14-4 in 2007-08, winning the AHA regular season title and the top seed in the conference tournament. For the second straight year, Army advanced to the semifinal round.
During the 2007-08 season, Army put together a league-best nine-game unbeaten streak (8-0-1) to clinch the regular season title. Army won the first two games of the best-of-three series with Sacred Heart to advance to the semifinals where a loss to Mercyhurst ended the season.
In 2006-07, the Black Knights hosted a league playoff game at Tate Rink for the first time and beat Bentley, 6-2. They followed that with a 3-1 win over Connecticut in the semifinals before losing to Air Force in the finals.
Riley was named the league coach of the year for the first time in 2005-06 when the team finished fifth in conference play after overcoming a 0-7-1 start.
In his first campaign behind the Black Knights' bench, Riley engineered one of the biggest upsets in the NCAA when Army stunned Colgate, 3-2, in Hamilton, N.Y., for his first career win.
Riley led his team to 11 wins during that initial season, setting the Academy record for most victories by a rookie head coach. He broke the record established by his brother, Rob, in 1986-87. In addition, the younger Riley also piloted the Black Knights to their first postseason win in more than a quarter century when Army defeated American International College, 5-3, in the first round of the Atlantic Hockey tournament.
Riley's father, Jack, started it all in 1951 when legendary football coach and athletic director at West Point, Earl "Red" Blaik, hired him to head the hockey program. What began as a one-year contract, turned into a 36-year Hall of Fame career that culminated in 542 victories.
Riley's brother, Rob, took the reins from his father in the fall of 1986 and racked up 306 victories of his own over 18 winters.
When Rob officially stepped down in the summer of 2004, he passed the torch (and family tradition) on to his younger brother.
Brian brings an extensive resume to his "dream job" at the Academy. No stranger to West Point or the "West Point Experience," the younger Riley has spent 14 years as an assistant coach to his brother, eventually rising to the position of associate head coach.
Brian played an integral role in recruiting many of the athletes that helped Army put together back-to-back 20-win seasons and tutored Corey and Ian Winer, former Colorado Avalanche forward Dan Hinote.
Riley also recruited Zach McKelvie, a hulking defenseman now part of the Calgary Flames organization. He originally signed two free agent contracts with the Boston Bruins while he was serving his country.
McKelvie is just one of Riley's defensive gems, as his expertise in working with the defense has molded Army's squads into one of the most stingy blue line units in college hockey.
A 1983 graduate of Brown, Riley began his coaching career in 1984 with a three-year stint as an assistant coach at SUNY Plattsburgh. During that period, the Cardinals advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament three times, reaching the championship game twice.
In 1988, Riley moved to the Division I ranks at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. There, he teamed with his cousin, Bill Riley, for one season, directing the River Hawks to the NCAA Tournament, giving him his fourth straight postseason appearance.
The following winter, Riley joined his brother's staff at West Point for the first time where he spent the next seven seasons. In 1996, the West Point native left the comfort and familiarity of the Academy, where he grew up, for the great Midwest and a head coaching position at Shattuck St. Mary's Prep School in Faribault, Minn.
There, Riley carved out a stellar two-year coaching career in which his teams compiled an impressive 94-19-10 record. In his first season, Riley directed the squad to a 40-9-7 record before improving to 54-10-3 in 1997-98.
In 1999, Riley returned to West Point, where he served at his brother's side until assuming the head coaching position in 2004.
During his collegiate playing days, Riley co-captained Brown's hockey squad his senior season, earning honorable mention All-Ivy League. He was presented the Class of '36 Trophy for his outstanding contributions over his four-year career and the Patrick Jones Trophy for most team spirit.
Prior to starring for Brown, Riley attended New Hampton Prep and led the hockey team to a No. 1 national ranking among prep schools. He was chosen as the school's most outstanding athlete while captaining both the soccer and hockey teams.
Riley completed course work on his master's, earning a graduate degree in Education from Boston University, in May 2003.
Riley is married to the former Marybeth Feldman of Highland Falls, N.Y. The couple resides at West Point with their three children: Jack, 21, Danielle, 19, and Brendan, 17. Jack Riley a freshman member of the hockey team at Mercyhurst College. Danielle is beginning her sophomore year at Merrimack as a member of the women's lacrosse team. Brendan is currently playing hockey and golf at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, N.H.
The Brian Riley File
Coaching Experience Head Coach, Army, 2004-present Assistant Coach, Army, 1989-96, 1999-2004 Head Coach, Shattuck St. Mary's Prep School (Minn.), 1996-98 Asst. Coach, UMass-Lowell, 1987-88 Asst. Coach, SUNY Plattsburgh, 1984-87
Athletic Background Four-year hockey letterwinner, Brown University; Team Co-Captain, 1982-83
Awards/Honors Atlantic Hockey "Coach of the Year," 2006, 2007, 2008 Class of '36 Trophy (Brown), 1983 Patrick Jones Trophy (Brown), 1983
Academic Background B.A., Political Science, Brown University, 1983 M.S., Education, Boston University, 2003