SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Cortland women's ice hockey head coach Rick Filighera has been selected the 2019 Northeast Women's Hockey League's Coach of the Year.
The NEWHL announced the honor on Tuesday, March 5, from its office in Syracuse, N.Y.
The award was voted on by the head coaches of the conference who unanimously tabbed Filighera with the league's pinnacle coaching honor. He received all possible first-place votes.
The third-year head coach led the Red Dragons to a 15-9-3 overall record, and a third-place regular-season finish in the NEWHL with a 5-8-3 mark (13 points).
Once the calendar flipped to December, Filighera's Red Dragons unleashed a scorching 13-4-1 run to close out the season, including a 3-2 victory over Potsdam in the NEWHL Semifinals that placed Cortland in the conference championship game for the first time.
During the streak, Cortland produced a five-game victory string and a stretch of six consecutive wins.
The only losses suffered by the Red Dragons during the stretch were a regular-season matchup vs. Potsdam, and three contests – including the NEWHL Championship – to nationally-ranked Plattsburgh.
Filighera joined the Red Dragons with an extensive coaching background having most recently served as the girls' ice hockey head coach at Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills, Ohio, for 12 years.
Prior to the Gilmour Academy, Filighera was hired as the inaugural women's ice hockey head coach at Division I University of Maine in 1997 where he led the squad through the 2003-04 season.
He was nominated for the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Coach of the Year during his first season behind the bench and finished as the runner-up for Hockey East Coach of the Year in his final campaign.
Previously, Filighera held his first collegiate head coaching position with the Rochester Institute of Technology women's ice hockey team from 1995-97. He helped guide the program to a pair of ECAC playoff semifinal appearances, including a runner-up finish in 1996.
He began his career as an assistant coach at Brockport High School in Brockport, N.Y., and eventually assumed the head coaching position from 1993-95.
Throughout his career, Filighera has attended multiple clinics and mentored at several regional and national ice hockey camps. He also served as the head coach of the Gilmour Gladiators, a girls' U14 Tier 2 team, from 2014-16, guiding the team to a Mid AM District title and quarterfinal appearance at the USA Tier 2 Nationals in Lansing, Mich., in 2015.
A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Filighera received a bachelor's degree in physical education from Brockport in 1991 and earned his master's degree in educational leadership at Maine in 2004.