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Now entering his fifth season, Rick Seeley has quickly turned the Bobcats into a perennial contender, enhancing his reputation as one of the best program builders and strongest coaches in all of college hockey. In just four years, Seeley has transformed a team that, in his first season, won just three games, into an ECAC Hockey powerhouse prepared to annually compete for league and national championships. Last season, the Bobcats advanced to the ECAC Hockey Semifinals for the second consecutive season with an upset victory over Clarkson, defeated the highest ranked opponent in program history with a 2-1 overtime win over No. 4 Boston College, and won the Nutmeg Class Championship for the second straight seson. Over the past three seasons, only seven other teams in Division I women’s ice hockey can match Quinnipiac’s 60 wins.
Seeley became the third head coach in the history of the women’s hockey program on April 8, 2008, and since then the Bobcats have compiled more wins than any previous four-year period in the program’s history. Described as a driven, hard-working individual, Seeley has instilled those same qualities in every team he has coached. He established a template for success and built his reputation starting women’s hockey programs at Division III Manhattanville College and Division I Clarkson University. His last year at both schools remain the best individual seasons, in terms of winning percentage, in program history.
In four years, Seeley and the Bobcats have enjoyed numerous highlights. Seeley guided Quinnipiac to its most successful season in program history in 2010-11, finishing the year with a record of 22-12-3. The program has been nationally ranked in both the pairwise ranking and coach's poll at times during each of the past two seasons. Also under his tutelage, Seeley was named the ECAC Hockey Coach of the Year after leading the Bobcats to their first postseason berth in the 2009-10 season.
The Bobcats finished the 2011-12 campaign with a 19-16-2 overall record and 12-8-2 in ECAC Hockey competition. They advanced to the ECAC Hockey Semifinals as the No. 6 seed, upsetting No. 3 Clarkson in a thrilling 2-0 victory in game three of the best-of-three series. Quinnipiac’s season came to an end in the next round however as No. 1 Cornell bested the Bobcats for the second consecutive year in the ECAC Hockey Semifinals.
The 2010-11 team finished 22-12-2 and set a new program record for wins, won their first playoff series with a two game sweep at Princeton, and captured the Nutmeg Classic Championship. Freshman forward Kelly Babstock led all NCAA rookies in goals, assists, and points to earn both ECAC Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year honors. Babstock was the second consecutive Rookie of the Year recruited by Coach Seeley, following goaltender Victoria Vigilanti’s 2010 win. Additionally, the ECAC named Seeley a finalist for its Coach of the Year award.
All of this comes closely on the heels of a fantastic 2009-2010
campaign, in which the ECAC Hockey League and the New England
Hockey Writers’ Association honored Coach Seeley as their
Division I Coach of the Year after leading the Bobcats to their
first-ever ECAC Hockey Playoff appearance. With 16 more wins than
the previous year, the team’s 19-10-8 record signified the
greatest single season turn-around in men’s or women’s
college hockey history. Among many other firsts, the team
hosted a home playoff series after finishing tied for
3rd place in the ECAC regular season, having never
finished higher than 9th in any previous
season. Quinnipiac also received votes in the USCHO.com and
USA Today Division I national polls for six straight
weeks. The team rose to 10th and captured the
program’s first spot in the national Top-10 on March 1,
Attention to detail, hard work, and a willingness to play team defense define Coach Seeley’s teams. The Bobcats have quickly become one of the top defensive teams in the nation. They won the first NCAA Statistical Championship in program history during the 2009-10 season, holding the opposition to 1.38 goals per game to lead the nation in Scoring Defense. The Bobcats held opposing teams to just 51 goals in 2009-10. Limiting scoring chances and goals has keyed the Bobcats revival. The year before Seeley’s arrival, only two seasons before leading the nation, the Bobcats ranked dead last in Scoring Defense among all teams playing a full Division I schedule. They reaffirmed the coach’s commitment to defense last season, finishing 3rd in the nation in Scoring Defense, while Victoria Vigilanti tied for the national lead in Shutouts with nine.
Quinnipiac has also made great strides on special teams under Seeley’s leadership. Being the least penalized team in all of college hockey from 2009-11 has certainly helped the penalty-kill. Before his arrival, the team ranked 32nd of 34 teams in penalty kill and were the 6th most penalized team. During the 2010-11 year, the team’s 89.7% kill rate ranked 4th in the nation, after ranking 3rd the previous season. Things have also gone well on the offensive side. The power play has jumped from 30 of 34 teams up to 8th in his first three seasons.
Prior to his arrival at Quinnipiac, Coach Seeley spent six years leading the women’s team at Clarkson University. Named the program’s first head coach in the fall of 2002, he ushered in the varsity program, and in the Golden Knights first five seasons, compiled a 93-67-18 (.573) overall record. The Green and Gold earned ECAC Playoff berths in their first four seasons in the conference. Kira Hurley was named 2006 ECAC Hockey Goalie of the Year. Lindsay Williams won the prestigious 2008 Sarah Devens Award. In his final season, 2007-08, the team went 24-9-5 and was knocking on the door of the NCAA Tournament finishing the season ranked 8th and 9th in the two national polls.
As the first coach of the Manhattanville College women’s program, he achieved similar early success, assembling four outstanding recruiting classes and guiding the program to national prominence at the Division III level. During his three seasons at Manhattanville (1999-2002) Seeley led the Valiants to a 54-16-4 overall record. In 2001-02, Manhattanville went 23-2-2, including an undefeated run in conference play, and advanced to the NCAA Division III National Championship Game. That year Manhattanville was ranked as high as No. 2 in the national polls following its win over then-No. 1 Middlebury College. In the process, the Valiants ended Middlebury’s 136-game, seven-year winning streak versus Division III opponents. Seeley was named ECAC East Coach of the Year and runner-up for National Coach of the Year.
Seeley holds a 210-147-40 career record and a 63-64-18 record while at Quinnipiac. He collected his 200th victory with a 3-2 victory over Robert Morris in the Nutmeg Classic Tournament Championship game on Nov. 26, 2011. In addition to his team success, Seeley has also coached five All-ECAC Hockey performers and mentored 44 ECAC Hockey All-Academic Team honorees during his tenure.
During his career Seeley has crafted an extensive background in the sport at numerous levels, including as an assistant coach at two NCAA Division III men’s ice hockey programs: Hobart College (1987-93) and Rochester Institute of Techonology (1997-98). He helped Hobart advance to the program’s first-ever two postseason appearances, and recruited two future All-Americans at RIT while advancing to the 1998 NCAA Division III Quarterfinals. He was recently named to the NCAA Division I Women’s Ice Hockey Committee in July of 2011.
Seeley currently resides in Middletown, Conn. with his wife Chapel and his sons, Bodin and Kade.
THE RICK SEELEY FILE
• Coached ECAC Women’s Ice Hockey Player and Rookie of the Year, Kelly Babstock.
• Named ECAC Hockey Women’s Ice Hockey Coach Of The Year in 2009-10.
• Led Quinnipiac to its first ever post-season berth and victory in 2009-10.
• The 2009-10 team finished the season tied for third place in ECAC Hockey and 10th in the USCHO.com Division I Women’s College Hockey Poll after posting an overall record of 19-10-8 and an ECAC Hockey conference record of 11-4-7.
• Third head coach in history of Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey
• Helped the Bobcats to a five minute differential in
penalty minutes per game from 2007-08
• First head coach in history of Clarkson (Div.I) and
Manhattanville (Div. III) women’s ice
• Guided Golden Knights to playoffs in first four seasons as ECAC Hockey member
• Reached 2008 ECAC Tournament Semifinals and finished fourth in conference during 2007-08 regular season
• Ranked No. 8 and No. 9 in final national polls in 2007-08
• Coached Manhattanville to 2002 NCAA Division III National Championship Game
• Named 2002 Runner-up Division III Coach of the Year
and ECAC East Coach of the Year
• As men’s assistant helped guide RIT to 1998 NCAA Division III Quarterfinals
• Served as director of community relations & assistant to general manager with AHL’s Syracuse Crunch (1993-97)
• As men’s associate helped guide Hobart to school’s first winning seasons, along with national rankings in 1992-93
• Played three years at Elmira (1984-87), leading team to 1986 NCAA Division III Quarterfinals
• Scored 79 points (34 goals and 45 assists) in 64 career games
• Earned a bachelor’s degree in business marketing from Elmira in 1987