Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Rochester, with its Upstate New York/Rust Belt location, has the perfect combination of intelligence, hard work, and grit.  This formula is responsible for Rochester's perseverance and (slow) growth despite reasonably long odds.  This formula also happens to be a perfect recipe for making great coaches.  The Rochester region has an impressive list of characters who have achieved remarkable coaching success on some of the country's biggest stages.  Admittedly, a few of the Rochester ties are soft, but that shouldn't stop us from claiming the following as our own:

  • Jay Wright has taken Villanova University's men's basketball team to four Sweet 16 appearances, two Elite Eight appearances, and one Final Four appearance.  The Wildcats are currently ranked #1 in the country.  Wright's first coaching job was at...the University of Rochester.
  • John Beilein led the University of Michigan's men's basketball team to the 2013 national championship game (unfortunately defeating Syracuse in the Final Four.)  Beilein's third coaching job was at...Nazareth College.
  • Stan Van Gundy has coached the NBA's Miami Heat, Orlando Magic (taking them to the 2009 NBA finals), and Detroit Pistons.  He honed his understanding of the game while playing college basketball at...SUNY-Brockport.
  • Jeff Van Gundy, Stan's younger brother, has coached the NBA's New York Knicks (leading them to the 1999 NBA finals) and Houston Rockets.  He is currently one of the most colorful basketball analysts in the country.  He played high school basketball at Brockport Central and college basketball at Nazareth College.  His first coaching job was at...McQuaid Jesuit High School.
  • Jim Boeheim has taken Syracuse University's men's basketball team to 28 NCAA tournaments, including four Final Four appearances, three national title games, and one national championship.  Boeheim was born in...Lyons, NY.
  • Tom Coughlin has been an immensely successful head football coach in both college (Boston College) and the NFL (Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants.)  Under his watch, the Giants won two Super Bowls.  Coughlin was born in Waterloo, NY, and his first head coaching job was at...RIT.


  1. Never knew Coughlin coached at RIT, interesting.

  2. Let's add RIT men's hockey coach Wayne Wilson. After spending time on the coaching staff at the University of New Hampshire and Bowling Green State University, Wayne took the job as the head coach at RIT. In his time there, he led the team as they transitioned from Division III to Division I. He is the first coach in college hockey to win both the Spencer Penrose Award and the Edward Jeremiah Award recognizing him as the coach of the year at both the Division III and Division I levels. He has lead the team to NCAA tournament appearances including a Frozen Four appearance in 2010.

  3. What about Randy Cunneyworth? He has lived in Rochester with his family for 25+ years. He played hockey for the Rochester Americans and several NHL teams before becoming the Amerks coach. After coaching the Amerks for 8 or so years, he held coaching positions in the NHL including time as the head coach of the Montreal Canadiens. He is currently back as the head coach of the Amerks.