Filighera returns to Division III, will coach Cortland women

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CORTLAND, NY-Rick Filighera has coached a lot of hockey games since the last time he was behind a Division III bench. Two decades' worth of them, in fact. Since his last Division III game as RIT's head coach in 1996, the Buffalo native spent seven years as the head coach at Division I Maine, and twelve more years at Ohio based prep school Gilmour Academy.

Cortland is banking on that experience to move their program forward. On Friday, Cortland officially announced the hiring of Filighera as the fourth women's head coach in program history. Filighera replaces Earl Utter, who was relieved of his duties after spending the past ten years as Cortland's coach. 

“I feel very fortunate and honored in becoming the new head women’s coach at SUNY Cortland. I would like to thank Mr. Urtz and the athletic department staff for giving me this opportunity,” Filighera said in the school's release, “I look forward to the challenge of building this program, and believe my experiences over the past 20 years in the women’s game will help me lead the Cortland program into the future.”

At Gilmour Academy, Filighera was primarily charged with leading the school's varsity program, and moved a multitude of players on to Division III and Division I colleges in his over 10 year tenure. During his stint in Ohio, he also coached a Tier II 14u team, the Gilmour Gladiators, to a USA Hockey Nationals appearance in 2015. 

Filighera spent the previous seven years as head coach at the University of Maine, and was the team's founding head coach when he took the reins in 1997. At the time of his 2004 departure, he held a record of 86-103-18 with the Black Bears. He moved to Maine after two years at RIT, going 24-9-2 and putting the Tigers in the ECAC semifinals twice. 

The new head coach of the Red Dragons inherits a squad that set a new program record in the 2015-16 campaign with 11 wins, and qualified for the sixth and final ECAC West playoff spot.

A 1991 graduate of Brockport, Filighera holds a Bachelor's degree in Physical Education, along with a master's in Educational Leadership from Maine.


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