The Hobey Baker Memorial Award Foundation announced Monday that its 2020 Legend of College Hockey recipient is Rick Comley.
Comley, who retired in 2011, was one of five head coaches in college hockey history to win over 700 games and one of three to have won national titles at two different schools.
One of the longest tenured and most successful coaches in NCAA history, Comley won 783 games over a 38-year period at three different schools. He spent his time behind the benches of Lake Superior State, Northern Michigan and Michigan State, winning NCAA national championships in 1991 with Northern Michigan and in 2007 with Michigan State.
During his 13 seasons in the WCHA, Comley’s teams won one WCHA regular-season title, three playoff titles, made four NCAA tournament appearances and won the national championship in 1991. The 1991 final was one of the tournament’s most dramatic games ever, a come-from-behind 8-7 triple-overtime win over Boston University.
Through 26 seasons at Northern Michigan, Comley won 538 games and posted 18 winning campaigns. Then, for the second time in his career, he followed in the footsteps of the iconic Ron Mason and in 2002, took over the Spartans program.
During his nine-season run as Michigan State head coach, Comley compiled a 186-140-39 record with the Spartans. His best campaign came in the 2006-07 season when MSU finished fourth in the CCHA standings, third in the playoff tournament but then went on a magical run through the NCAA tournament, culminating in a national championship victory over Boston College.
Comley was named CCHA Coach of the Year twice (1980, 1981) and WCHA Coach of the Year twice (1989, 1991). He won the Spencer Penrose Trophy as national coach of the year in 1980 and 1991. His teams won three regular-season titles, seven playoff championships and advanced to the NCAA tournament nine times, making the Frozen Four on four occasions.
A four-year letter-winner under Mason at Lake Superior State (1967-71), Comley was a two-time NAIA All-American. In his senior season in 1971, he was named team captain and became LSSU’s MVP.
He began his coaching career as an assistant coach under Mason for the 1972-73 season before being named his successor when Mason departed for Bowling Green.
Comley will be honored along with this year’s Hobey Baker Award winner at the annual Hobey Baker Award Banquet on Wednesday, June 17, in St. Paul, Minn.