[Courtesy of Northern Michigan University] GLOUCESTER, Mass. — Former Northern Michigan head coach Rick Comley will receive the John MacInnes Award, the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) announced Thursday.
Comley launched the Wildcat hockey program in 1976 and compiled a 538-429-68 record during his 26-season tenure as head coach.
In 1991, Comley guided Northern Michigan to its first NCAA National Championship. Still hailed as one of the most dramatic championship games in NCAA history, the Wildcats emerged an 8-7 victor over Boston University in triple overtime behind a Darryl Plandowski goal.
Comley is one of just three head coaches to win regular-season titles in both the CCHA (1979-80, 1980-81) and the WCHA (1990-91). His Wildcats won the 1989, 1991 and 1992 WCHA Tournaments and the 1980 and 1981 CCHA Tournaments. They also qualified for seven NCAA Tournaments.
In 1980 and 1991, Comley received the Spencer Penrose Memorial Award as the national coach of the year. He was honored as the CCHA’s Coach of the Year in 1980 and 1981 and the WCHA’s in 1989 and 1991. He was inducted into Northern Michigan’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.
Comley also spent time at Lake Superior State (1973-76) and Michigan State (2002-11). In 2007, he became the second head coach to win NCAA titles at two different schools.
Comley’s overall record as an NCAA head coach is 783-615-110. He will be recognized, along with the ACHA’s other men’s award winners, on April 26 at the AHCA Convention in Naples, Fla.
Established in 1982, the John MacInnes Award recognizes coaches who have high winning percentages and graduating percentages among their former players. Recipients also have displayed concern for amateur hockey and youth programs.