2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Tigers add assistant with 25 years pro, college and junior coach experience

Published: July 2, 2014, 4:15 pm, by Joe Paisley

Courtesy Springfield (Mass.) Republican

Courtesy Springfield (Mass.) Republican

Colorado College’s Mike Haviland delved into his past to hire an assistant with 25 years of coaching experience.
Gene Reilly, who graduated from Elmira (N.Y.) College a year before Haviland played there, is the final assistant to join the program under the new hockey coach.
Reilly has won 14 professional, college and junior titles as either an assistant or head coach. He has eight years of college assistant experience including the 1999 NCAA championship with Maine.
“He has won at all levels,” Haviland said. “Gene is a guy with an attention to detail and passion that is second to none.”
Reilly worked the past two seasons as a professional scout for the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes but left for the chance to work with Haviland.
“The most important thing for me is to be with quality people and Mike is a quality person with a winning track record,” Reilly said in a press release. “I really enjoyed my time in Carolina and the wonderful people who I worked with in the pro scouting staff.”
He spent 2008-12 as an assistant coach/director of player development with Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg, where he was involved in four titles.
His college experience includes serving as an assistant with Maine (1998-2001), Harvard (2003-4) and Northeastern (2004-8).
While at Maine, the Springfield, Mass. native, 52, took over as interim coach at the start of the 1999-2000 season when the late Shawn Walsh was battling cancer.
Reilly left to be an assistant with the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins for the 2000-01 season and Binghamton the next.
“There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes with practices, scouting, and watching tapes; Gene stepped in and did a tremendous job,” then-Griffins coach Bruce Cassidy said after being named the 2002 AHL coach of the year.
He returned to the college ranks at Harvard for one season and spent the next four rebuilding the Northeastern program.
His experience prepares him well for CC, Haviland said.
“He has developed guys and understands how academics work at CC,” he said. “He understands the college game’s ins and outs very well.”
Reilly coached from 1988-98 in the Eastern Junior Hockey League, winning three championships. He played two seasons in Sweden, including one as player-coach.
Some of the future professionals who played for him include Bill Guerin, Scott Lachance, Ron Hainsey, and Chris Clark.
“I think he is a great fit for the college and the staff,” Haviland said.
The new director of hockey operations position is filled with a July 15 announcement identifying the recent former CC player scheduled. All three finalists for that job are former Tigers, Haviland said.
Former CC standout RJ Enga, 42, was hired as an assistant two weeks ago. Haviland, 46, was hired in May after longtime coach Scott Owens resigned on April 6 following a 7-24-6 season.