Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Mercyhurst University hockey coaches Rick Gotkin and Mike Sisti have signed four-year contract extensions through the 2019-2020 season, the school announced today.
In making the announcement, Mercyhurst President Michael Victor said, “Clearly, Rick and Mike have built a championship culture at Mercyhurst and we are thrilled to have them continue their leadership of our Division I hockey program for the next five years. This is a big day for Lakers hockey and we look forward to continuing this winning tradition with Mike and Rick at the helm.”
Gotkin enters his 28th season as head coach of the men’s hockey team. He is the only coach in NCAA history to take a team to the NCAA Tournament at all three levels. He has guided the Lakers to nearly 500 wins, six NCAA tournament appearances and five league championships. Overall, he has accumulated a 493-352-76 record, which includes a Division I mark of 306-242-61. His teams have averaged 18 wins a season and have made the postseason in 25 of the 27 years he has been at Mercyhurst.
In June of 2015, Gotkin was inducted into the Erie Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
Last season, the Lakers won 19 games and defeated out-of-conference opponents Merrimack and Colgate in the process. Mercyhurst also played to a 2-2 overtime tie against Ohio State in early January at the Erie Insurance Arena. The Lakers reached the championship game of the Atlantic Hockey Conference playoffs before bowing to RIT. After the season, eight of Gotkin's players signed professional contracts while 18 were named to the Atlantic Hockey conference All-Academic Team.
“I am very pleased to continue this exciting journey at Mercyhurst, where every day I have the unbelievable opportunity of working with fabulous people, from student-athletes and fellow coaches, both past and present, to the supportive administrators who have made it all possible,” Gotkin said.
Both Gotkin and Sisti wanted to publicly thank President Michael Victor, Athletic Director Joe Kimball and Vice President for Student Life Laura Zirkle.
In 16 years, Sisti has turned the Mercyhurst’s women’s hockey program into one of Division I's premier powers. His teams have won 410 games, second only to Harvard’s Coach Katey Stone among active D-1 coaches. They’ve captured 15 straight conference titles, and made 10 consecutive trips to the national tournament - an NCAA record - before the streak was halted last season.
Among other notables, Sisti recruited and coached Meghan Agosta, who became a four-time All-American while at Mercyhurst, the leading scorer in Division I women's hockey history, a three-time Olympic gold medalist for Team Canada, and hockey MVP of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.
“Obviously, it is a great honor to sign on for another five years,” Sisti said. “I started this program from scratch, and have passed on a lot opportunities because I believe so much in it. I am happy and honored to know that I am going to be in a position to continue to grow this program and to work with the great people at Mercyhurst, especially all my players and coaches, past and present.”
Off the ice, Sisti has developed his players into outstanding student-athletes. For 16 consecutive years, the team’s cumulative grade point average has been above a 3.0. His players have also been very active in the community. The team annually donates over 200 hours on various community service projects, and spends time at several local schools instructing students on life skills.
Likewise, under Gotkin’s direction, players volunteer their time in support of numerous local organizations. The Lakers also perform at the annual show of the Gliding Stars of Erie, an organization that helps disabled kids learn how to skate. In addition, the team raised approximately $2,000 for the Mental Health Association of NW PA as a result of last year’s inaugural Snowtown Throwdown vs. Ohio State at the Erie Insurance Arena, and an estimated $20,000 during the last three years in support of Movember, a movement to create awareness and raise funds for men’s cancers.