Coming off the best season in his regime, Brown coach Roger Grillo signed a multi-year contract extension with the school today.
This past season, Grillo led Brown to a 14-15-2 record, including 10-10-2 in the ECAC, good for sixth and the team’s first playoff appearance in three years. Along the way, Brown’s season was highlighted by wins over nationally-ranked St. Cloud State and UMass-Lowell, and Wisconsin. In addition, the back-to-back shutouts at St. Lawrence and Clarkson were the program’s first since 1929-30, and a seven-game home winning was a school record.
Grillo was named the program’s 14th head coach in June, 1997, coming from Vermont, where he was an assistant, and replacing Bob Gaudet, who left to take the head coaching job at Dartmouth. Brown enjoyed tremendous success under Gaudet, but was picked to place last in 1997-98 in Grillo’s first season. Nevertheless, the Bears went 11-5-2 to close out the season, and finished fourth in the ECAC, earning Grillo a nomination for the Spencer Penrose Award a National Coach of the Year.
That success could not be sustained, however, as Brown steadily dropped in the ECAC standings, until rebounding this year.
There is a lot of optimism for next season, however. This year’s team featured nine freshmen, eight sophomores and six juniors, and one of the nation’s top goaltenders, sophomore Yann Danis. An All-America candidate, Danis posted the fifth-best goals against average (1.86) and second-best save percentage (.943) in the nation, both of which are Brown records.
A 1983 NHL draft choice of the Vancouver Canucks, Grillo played at Maine for two seasons (1982-84), where he was the Black Bears’ top scoring defenseman as a freshman with two goals and 11 assists, before an injury ended his career. During his junior and seniors years at Maine, Grillo got his start in coaching, serving as an assistant at Old Town High School in Orono, Maine.
After graduating from Maine, Grillo, a native of Apple Valley, Minn., went on to coach at Yarmouth High School, leading the team to three consecutive Maine state championships. He was Maine’s High School Coach of the Year all three seasons (1987-89).