MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. (AP) — Men's and women's hockey will return to Robert Morris University in 2023 thanks to a significant fundraising effort by former alumni after the programs folded last May in a cost-cutting measure.
The school located in the western Pittsburgh suburbs announced Friday that both programs will return to compete at the NCAA Division I level for the 2023-24 season. The university's board of trustees adopted a resolution in support of the administration's decision to restore hockey to the varsity level.
A massive grassroots effort helped the programs regain solid financial footing. Robert Morris partnered with the Pittsburgh College Hockey Foundation — made up largely of former Robert Morris players and supporters — to raise money in hopes of bringing the sport back. The school says the combined efforts raised $2.8 million in “cash, pledges and future revenue projection.”
“Given the passion and enthusiasm of the hockey community, we wanted to give the fans of RMU hockey every opportunity to bring the programs back – and they rose to the occasion,” said Robert Morris president Chris Howard said in a statement.
Derek Schooley, who has guided the men's program since it was founded in 2003 and led the Colonials to their only NCAA tournament berth in 2014, will return as head coach. A national search will begin for a women's coach in the near future.
“I’m looking forward to continuing the positive momentum that we’ve established to raise funds for our programs, and I’m also excited to reestablish RMU hockey and putting us back on the NCAA map,” Schooley said.
The Colonials will officially apply for reinstatement to both Atlantic Hockey for the men and College Hockey America (CHA) for the women.
The Associated Press