Michigan State head coach Rick Comley is one of 11 coaches named finalists for the Spencer Penrose Award, given annually to the top NCAA Division I coach by the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA).
To be a finalist for this award, a coach must either be voted Coach of the Year in his conference or take his team to the NCAA Frozen Four.
Comley is one of five previous winners on this year’s list of finalists, as he captured the award in 1980 and again in 1991 while the head coach at Northern Michigan. This is his first time as a finalist since coming to Michigan State.
Comley is joined by St. Lawrence’s Joe Marsh (1989 and 2000) as the only two-time winners on this year’s list of finalists; other previous winners include Dick Umile of New Hampshire (1999); Tim Whitehead of Maine (2002); and Jerry York of Boston College (1977 winner at Clarkson).
In addition to the previous winners, North Dakota’s third-year mentor Dave Hakstol makes the list, as he has guided his Fighting Sioux club into the Frozen Four for the third straight year. Army’s Brian Riley and Niagara’s Dave Burkholder are repeat finalists from a year ago, while WCHA Co-Coaches of the Year Bob Motzko of St. Cloud and Jamie Russell of Michigan Tech make the list.
CCHA Coach of the Year (and Michigan State graduate), Notre Dame’s Jeff Jackson, is a finalist for the first time in over a decade. He coached at Lake Superior in the early 1990s, guiding the Lakers to two national championships.
The Spencer Penrose Award is named in honor of the former Colorado Springs benefactor who built the Broadmoor Hotel Complex, site of the first 10 NCAA hockey championships. It will be presented at the AHCA Coach of the Year Banquet on Saturday, April 28, in Naples, Fla.
2007 Spencer Penrose Finalists
Dave Burkholder, Niagara*
Rick Comley, Michigan State#@
Dave Hakstol, North Dakota#
Jeff Jackson, Notre Dame*
Joe Marsh, St. Lawrence*@
Bob Motzko, St. Cloud State*
Brian Riley, Army*
Jamie Russell, Michigan Tech*
Dick Umile, New Hampshire*@
Tim Whitehead, Maine#@
Jerry York, Boston College#@
* Conference Coach of the Year
# NCAA "Frozen Four" participant
@ Previous winner of the Spencer Penrose Award