Former players pay tribute to the late Jack Riley

The passing of Army hockey coach Jack Riley will surely be discussed as former players gather for his funeral services, as well as this weekend’s ceremony celebrating the careers of past greats Dave Merhar, George Clark and Dave Rost.
When Jack Riley was honored in 2007, a host of players spoke with me about their legendary coach. Here are some of their thoughts:
“When you could understand Jack’s strategy, his game plan and how it worked, it was amazing what you could accomplish. It wasn’t complex, he didn’t have an elaborate game plan, but it was basic hockey and he expected it to be performed flawlessly.’’
Brian Concannon, Class of 1979
Norwell, Mass.

“I was extremely respectful of his coaching and pretty much in awe of what he had accomplished and could accomplish. I was very much in admiration of him and honored to play for him.’’
Parker “Brick” Anderson, Class of 1967
Santa Barbara, Calif. (originally Roseville, Minn.)

“Coach Riley was a true motivator. He continuously challenged each individual, each of us to elevate our game to the next level, in a very passionate way. It was tough when you needed it to be tough but there was a degree of empathy when that was needed as well.’’
Ted Moran, Class of 1986
Nashua, N.H.

“He was absolutely animated. He broke his leg one year – it was at home and he had crutches on the bench. The ref made a bad call and one or two of those crutches was on the ice. That just demonstrated his passion to me.’’
Lt. Col. Chris Rizzo, Class of 1984
Fort Jackson, S.C.

“He was tough on us but he never was unfair. If you had it coming, he gave it to you and you understood that and respected that, but in the end he helped us through a tough situation at the academy. I think we all look back on that and are very thankful.’’
Tyler King, Class of 1984

“I loved to be on a road trip with coach. I would sit on the first step of the bus; he always had the front seat. We would talk about what happened on the weekend. … It was just listening to him talk hockey – the guy had a wealth of experience. He talked about his pilot days back in World War II. I could have played on the road all year and I wouldn’t have minded a bit. … He walked on water for me.’’
Dave Rost, Class of 1977
Grand Rapids, Mich. (formerly Buffalo)

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    Ken McMillan

    Sports editor Ken McMillan has been covering sports since he got his first writing job in 1979. He has covered Section 9 athletics for the past 35 years. He reports on local college and high school. He also writes on TV/radio sports news, having ... Read Full
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