Robert Morris announced Tuesday that Derek Schooley has been named head coach and director of men’s and women’s hockey operations.
“Naming Derek as the head coach and director of operations for both teams adds stability as we continue to work with the Pittsburgh College Hockey Foundation in the goal of reinstating both teams,” RMU vice president and director of athletics Chris King said in a statement. “Derek is synonymous with hockey at Robert Morris and is well-respected in the Pittsburgh hockey community and beyond. Having him in charge of both programs this fall is crucial as we strive for viable solutions and a sustainable financial model to support both programs.”
Schooley was named to lead the RMU men’s program August 21, 2003, and is the only head coach in program history. He guided the Colonials to six conference tournament championship games and helped RMU earn its first NCAA tournament berth in 2014.
If the RMU men’s and women’s hockey programs are reinstated, a national search for a women’s coach will be conducted.
“This is another big step in the process of reinstatement of the RMU hockey teams,” Schooley said. “I look forward to working with hockey alumni, the RMU administration, donors, corporations and the Pittsburgh College Hockey Foundation toward returning Robert Morris hockey to the pinnacle of their respective conferences.”
In addition to announcing the hiring of Schooley as head coach and director of hockey operations at RMU, King announced that Brianne McLaughlin-Bittle will serve as a special assistant for hockey operations. In her role, McLaughlin-Bittle will continue to assist both the Pittsburgh College Hockey Foundation and RMU in their roles of raising funds and help ensure the programs remain financially sustainable for the long term.
“I’m excited to work more closely with the Robert Morris athletic department in an effort to get these teams back,” said McLaughlin-Bittle. “They mean so much to us and the hockey community, and I’m hopeful we can get them back on the ice.”
McLaughlin-Bittle established the NCAA record for career saves with 3,809 during her four years as the starting goaltender for the Colonials from 2005 to 2009. She also won silver medals for Team USA during both the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics and currently serves as the goaltending coach for the U.S. Women’s National Team.
RMU is looking to raise a total of $1.4 million in immediate contributions and another $1.4 million in pledges by Dec. 15, 2021, in order for the university to reinstate both programs in time for the 2022-23 seasons. That goal represents enough money to cover operating expenses for two seasons.
A hockey reinstatement fund page has been created for pledges and gifts and can be used via the following platform. Gifts and pledges can also be made directly by contacting RMU associate athletic director for development TJ Brown at (412) 397-5960 or via email at [email protected]. Stock gifts, corporate matches and gifts in other forms will also be considered and accepted. Those interested in reserving season tickets for the 2022-23 season should a reinstatement of the programs occur are encouraged to use this link.