Colonial Hockey Foundation

Head Coach Derek Schooley

Head coach Derek Schooley is entering his 18th season at the helm of Robert Morris, carrying an overall record of 275-275-68 and a proud record of championship-level success in Division I men’s hockey. He has twice been named the Atlantic Hockey Coach of the Year.

Schooley led the Colonials to back-to-back Atlantic Hockey regular season titles in 2014-15 and 2015-16 and a postseason AHA title/NCAA tournament berth in 2013-14. In the seven-season span from 2012-19, Schooley’s Colonials averaged 20 wins per season and have consistently placed 20-plus student-athletes on the AHA All-Academic team.

Since joining Atlantic Hockey, the Colonials have reached the Atlantic Hockey Final Four six of their past seven tournaments while having .554 overall winning percentage and .556 in Atlantic Hockey. Schooley has the second-best coaches winning percentage of all games in the history of Atlantic Hockey. 

Prior to coming to Robert Morris, Schooley spent five years at the Air Force Academy as an assistant coach. Before arriving at Air Force, Schooley spent a season as an assistant coach with Cornell during the 1997-98 season. Schooley started his coaching career with the Chicago Freeze of the North American Hockey League in 1997 as an assistant coach and director of scouting.  

A 1994 graduate of Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications, Schooley was a four-year letterwinner as a defenseman with the Broncos. A native of St. Louis, Mo., Schooley is married to the former Alicia Batson from Middleville, Mich. They are the proud parents of Kaitlyn, Brendan and Taylor.

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Associate Head Coach Coach Matt Nicholson

Matt Nicholson has returned to RMU as associate head coach after spending the 2021-22 season as assistant coach at Mercyhurst. Nicholson had spent six years as both an assistant coach and associate head coach for the Colonials from 2009 to 2015.

During the 2021-22 season at Mercyhurst, Nicholson helped the Lakers double their win total from the previous year while tutoring the forwards and power play. The Lakers ranked 19th in NCAA Division I in power play percentage (22.2%), while the forwards finished 21st in total goals.

Prior to his stint at Mercyhurst, Nicholson, a native of London, Ontario, served three seasons as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Niagara from 2017-2020. He oversaw a recruiting class in 2018-19 that led the nation in scoring by a rookie class, a total that ranked third in the previous decade in Atlantic Hockey.

In his first stretch with the Colonials, Nicholson helped RMU post a record of 108-88-30 (.544) during his six years behind the bench. The Colonials earned their first automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in 2014 thanks to winning the Atlantic Hockey Tournament with a 7-4 victory over Canisius in the championship game, while RMU finished 24-8-5 (.716) the following year to claim the 2015 Atlantic Hockey regular-season crown.

Earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in education from Colgate in 2004, Nicholson was a four-year letterwinner for the Raiders. In his senior campaign, Colgate finished with an overall record of 22-12-5 (.628). Nicholson also owns a Master of Science in instructional leadership, which he earned at RMU in 2011.

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Assistant Coach Ryan Durocher

Ryan Durocher returns to RMU after spending the 2020-21 season as an assistant coach with the Colonials. He has spent the last two seasons as the director of hockey operations at Colorado College and a year as an assistant at Sacred Heart.

Durocher was an assistant coach with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers for two seasons (2018-20). Previously, he had stints as the video coach for the AHL’s Binghamton Devils (2017-18) and St. Lawrence (2015-17).

Prior to his coaching career, Durocher played at Cortland, where he graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management. He then earned his master’s in Sports Management in 2014 from Southern New Hampshire University, where he began his coaching career before moving on to join the EHL’s New England Wolves staff in 2014.

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