Hockey coaching great Rick Comley agrees to 2-year term as Northern Michigan University athletic director

Northern Michigan University’s hockey coach Rick Comley watches during a Wildcats’ game when he won for the 500th time. (Journal file photo)

MARQUETTE — “Interim” will be removed from Rick Comley’s title as athletic director after he agreed to serve in the position at Northern Michigan University for two years, university President Kerri Schuiling announced in an NMU news release late Tuesday afternoon.

Comley, 75, was named interim AD on Aug. 22 following the departure of Forrest Karr to the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

“With Northern anticipating hiring a new president this fall, having an experienced AD such as Rick to guide the department takes the pressure off the new president to make an immediate hire,” Schuiling said in the release. “The new president can work with Rick to put in place the national search they desire at the right time for everyone.”

Comley, a longtime Wildcat hockey coach, is on his second stint as Northern’s AD, having served the university in that position for 13 years from 1987-2000.

That was during the latter stages of his 26-year stint as the Wildcat hockey program’s initial coach from 1976-2002. NMU won its only NCAA Division I hockey national championship in 1991, during his time in the dual roles.

Then-Mining Journal publisher Jim Reevs, right, presents departing Northern Michigan University head hockey coach Rick Comley with a commemoritve plaque on behalf of the Blue Line Club during the team's year-end banquet at the conclusion of the 2001-02 season. (Journal file photo)

Comley said he is happy to help the university and athletic department where he spent so much of his career, and he’s excited about several projects and initiatives he feels he can assist with during the extended time in the position.

Comley, who also coached hockey at Lake Superior State from 1973-76 and at Michigan State from 2002-11, compiled a 783-615-110 record in 38 seasons. He also won a national championship at MSU in 2007.

While Comley was AD, the NMU volleyball team won back-to-back national D-2 titles in 1993 and ’94, the university made extensive efforts to comply with Title IX to insure gender equity in athletics, and NMU began construction on the Superior Dome, Berry Events Center and Izzo-Mariucci Academic Center.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


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