The history of college hockey is replete with lengthy tenures by some of the game's great coaches. But for more than 60 years, one family has led the hockey program at the United States Military Academy at West Point. It's a lineage that has outlasted almost every other in the world of sports.
"We feel we have a great deal to offer a young man both on and off the ice. It's more about the opportunities than the challenges. That's what we try to focus on, the opportunities," Army coach Brian Riley said. "They're set up for success once they make that decision to come to West Point."
After serving 14 years in two stints as an associate and assistant coach, Brian Riley took over the Army program in 2004 from his older brother Rob, who led the Black Knights to 257 victories in 19 seasons at West Point. That's an impressive total for any coach at one program, but for Rob Riley, it's not even the most wins by a member of his own family.
That's because when the eldest Riley sibling took over the Army program in 1986, he succeeded his legendary father, Jack, whose 542 victories at West Point still rank 15th in college hockey history. Jack and Rob Riley are the winningest father/son pair in college hockey.
"Now that I can sit back and reflect, you do kind of say wow," Rob Riley said. "When you're in the middle of it, you don't even have time to realize it. There aren't that many guys who are at one place for 20 years. Then Brian comes in and adds more to that. It's something we're all very proud of."