Former RIT captain Brown returning to alma mater to coach women’s hockey team, ‘feels fantastic to be back in Tiger country’

Celeste Brown played at RIT from 2011 to 2015 before embarking on a pro playing career in the NWHL and NCAA coaching career.

Rochester Institute of Technology has announced former Tigers standout Celeste Brown has been named the next women’s head coach.

Brown was a member of RIT’s 2012 NCAA Division III national championship team before starring the next three seasons during the Tigers’ move to Division I.

The Montana native on to become the first player in program history to sign a professional contract before kicking off a coaching career, which included the last three years as an assistant coach at Penn State.

“I am truly proud to make this announcement to the RIT community,” said RIT executive director of intercollegiate athletics Lou Spiotti in a statement. “To bring one of our own alumna back to take over our proud women’s hockey program is indeed an exciting day. Celeste was one of the fiercest competitors our athletics program has ever known and has since become a stellar coach.”

“I would first like to thank Lou Spiotti, (senior VP for student affairs) Sandy Johnson, (associate director of intercollegiate athletics) Bethany Marren and the entire search committee on their diligent efforts throughout this process and the opportunity to return to RIT,” added Brown. “I would also like to thank my family and the unbelievable mentors I have had to help me get to this point.

“I am truly humbled and ecstatic to lead the next era of RIT women’s hockey. RIT is an unbelievable institution that offers elite opportunities in both academics and athletics. I look forward to joining an athletic department full of successful teams, coaches and student-athletes. These outstanding women at RIT are my No. 1 priority. I am excited to learn about each player’s individual experiences and outlooks. Those virtues will enhance our team identity.”

Brown played for the New York Riveters during the inaugural season of the NWHL in 2015-16 while also kicking off her coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Manhattanville. She played the following season with the NWHL’s Connecticut Whale while also serving as an assistant coach at Connecticut College.

Serving as team captain for both of RIT’s CHA championship runs in 2014 and 2015, Brown finished with 70 points on 42 goals and 28 assists in 139 games. In the classroom, Brown posted a 3.73 GPA while garnering CHA All-Academic Team honors on three occasions. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology while also tacking on a minor in women and gender studies.

“I am counting down the days until the team returns to campus and the fun can begin,” Brown said. “We are going to approach each day with open minds, excitement and full effort. It feels fantastic to be back in the Tiger country.”