April 2, 2002
Roger Grillo, Brown University's men's ice hockey coach, has been signed to a multi-year contract extension after a remarkable turn-around of the Brown hockey program.
Grillo guided 2001-2002 Brown hockey team to the ECAC Playoffs for the first time in three years, while posting a 14-15-2 record and a 10-10-2 mark in the ECAC (6th place). Brown secured wins over nationally-ranked St. Cloud State and UMass-Lowell, and Wisconsin, highlighting one of the best seasons in recent history. In addition, Grillo led his team to back-to-back shutouts, at St. Lawrence and Clarkson, as the Bears' posted consecutive shutouts for the first time since the 1929-1930 season, while going on a seven-game home winning streak, a new Brown record.
A dedicated teacher of the game of hockey, Grillo, formerly the top assistant at Vermont, is recognized as an exceptional recruiter. This year's Brown team featured an extremely young squad with nine freshmen, eight sophomores, and six juniors, including one of the best goaltenders in the country, sophomore Yann Danis. An All-America candidate, Danis posted the fifth-best goals against average in the nation (1.86), while finishing the season with the second-best save percentage in the nation (.943), both of which are Brown records.
The 14th head coach in the history of the program, Grillo came to Brown in June of 1997 and his inaugural campaign produced immediate dividends. Brown, although opening the season with four one-goal decisions and standing 2-11-0 as the 1998 calendar page turned, finished out the season with an 11-5-2 ledger. The Bears, who were a preseason pick to finish last in the 12-team league, finished in fourth place, and Grillo was named a finalist for the Spencer Penrose Memorial Trophy, College Hockey's National Coach of the Year Award. He was also the runner-up for the ECAC Coach of the Year.
Under his watchful eye, Brown has produced three All-ECAC performers, and seven all-Ivy selections. Defensively, his team cut down its 1997-league leading penalty minutes, spending 345 fewer minutes in the box in 1998 and has remained at the bottom of the league in this category since. In addition, the Bears' posted the 13th-best team defense in the country this past season, allowing a low, 2.58 goals per game, third in the ECAC.
A 1983 NHL draft choice of the Vancouver Canucks, Grillo was a member of the University of Maine hockey team for two seasons (1982-84) and was the Black Bears' top scoring defenseman as a freshman with two goals and 11 assists. During his junior and seniors years at Maine, Grillo got his start in coaching, serving as an assistant coach at Old Town High School in Orono.
After graduating from Maine in 1986 with a B.S. in secondary education, Grillo made his mark in coaching at Yarmouth High School, leading the team to three consecutive Maine state championships and being named Maine's High School Coach of the Year all three years (1987-89).
Originally from Apple Valley, Minn., he graduated from Apple Valley High School where he captained his team and helped lead the squad to the Minnesota State High School Tournament.