Long Island University officially announced on Wednesday that Brett Riley will be the first head coach in the school’s history.
Riley, just 29 years of age, will become the youngest active in men’s Division I hockey, but brings a resume that makes him uniquely qualified for the job. He is the grandson of Jack Riley, who served as head coach for Army for 36 years before handing the job off to his son, Brett’s father, Rob Riley, who led the Black Knights for 19 years.
In 2017, Riley was hired out of the New England prep school ranks to help begin a new program at Division III Wilkes University. After two seasons at Wilkes, he spent this past season as an assistant coach at the Division I level with Colgate.
Given some of the reported budgetary constraints Long Island is said to be working with, Riley seems like an almost best-case scenario to lead their program. Despite his age, he has deep ties to coaching at the Division I level—and Army is a program with their recruiting limitations similar to what LIU is likely to experience, albeit for different reasons—and also has hands-on experience in starting a program from scratch.
This is the first hurdle of many, many hurdles LIU will need to clear before they are ready for next season. Next will come the task of recruiting an entire team in just over 100 days before the beginning of the fall semester. But with a head coach now in place, LIU can begin to move a little more quickly in checking those boxes off their list.