Doug Derraugh ’91 is the winningest coach in the history of Big Red women’s hockey
Lynah Rink was packed for the 2013 championship game between the Cornell women’s hockey team and archrival Harvard. With under two minutes left, the Big Red got the go-ahead goal when forward Jessica Campbell ’14 banged a rebound past the Crimson goalie.
After the victory was secured, the team poured into the locker room. The players then turned to look as Coach Doug Derraugh ’91—who had just won the conference tournament for the third time in four years—followed them inside. His face was expressionless. “He comes in there like nothing happened,” says Alyssa Gagliardi ’14, a former Big Red forward now playing professionally, “and then out of nowhere he lets out a huge scream and a fist bump.”
That moment, Gagliardi says, encapsulates Derraugh’s coaching style—and why he has proven so successful at turning around a Cornell women’s hockey team that was floundering when he arrived. “He’s not a huge ‘rah, rah’ guy; he puts the game in perspective,” says Gagliardi, also a member of Team USA. “He doesn’t get too high or too low—you’re not going to get screamed at when you get to the bench—so the moments where he shows a bit of fire are more special and meaningful.”
Derraugh began coaching the Big Red women’s team in 2005, after a career of his own that included four years playing as a forward for Cornell and thirteen years in various European professional hockey leagues. His initial appointment to his alma mater was supposed to last a year. But nearly a decade later, Derraugh has become the face of the program he transformed. The team is winning more—both in tournaments and in the regular season—and that’s leading to more ticket sales, better attendance, and a whole new energy. “It has grown each and every year,” Derraugh says. “Fans are starting to recognize the skill level we have at Cornell.”
Derraugh is now the winningest coach in the history of Big Red women’s hockey, and his team has captured the ECAC title in four of the last five years. In July, he was named head coach of the Canadian national squad—possibly the most coveted women’s hockey coaching job in the world, says star Cornell forward Brianne Jenner ’15. “He’s always out there late with the girls; sometimes you’ll come into the rink early in the morning, and he’s out there at 7 a.m.,” says Jenner, who also plays under Derraugh for Team Canada. “You can learn a ton from him; he’s a right-handed forward like myself, so outside the general coaching there are lots of little tips he would use as a great goal scorer.”
Derraugh’s personal ease on the ice quickly becomes clear during a practice in late November. Dressed in a black windbreaker emblazoned with the Cornell insignia, the forty-six-year-old keeps up with his players as they skate concentric laps across the Lynah Rink blue lines. “Pick up the pace!” he calls out. “Pick up the pace!”
Originally from southern Ontario, Derraugh has been on the ice much of his life. In his town of about 7,000 people, he says, “There were probably four or five outdoor rinks. I could usually walk to one if I wanted to.” Derraugh got involved in various leagues and drew the attention of several NCAA programs. His parents, both school teachers, steered him toward Cornell, where he majored in biology. He completed all the pre-med requirements—but hockey was always his passion. He started for the Big Red as a freshman, broke the goal scoring record for seniors, and played on teams that advanced in both the ECAC and NCAA tournaments. “[Lynah Rink] was just mayhem—and a great place to play hockey,” he says. “It’s quite an atmosphere to play in front of, and it’s really hard to find that anywhere else.”
Though now behind the bench, Derraugh still gets the occasional chance to be part of the action. The coach, for instance, wears shin pads every practice in case the team needs someone to jump on the forecheck, in which forwards try to steal the puck from the defenders. “You can tell he so loves the game,” Jenner says. “He’s still got that player inside of him.”
SHARP STICKS Led by first-team All-Ivy pick Marisa Siergiej ’16, the field hockey team matched a school record with 11 wins in 2014. The Big Red finished 11-5, its best season since posting the same mark in 2010, including a 3-2 win over then 20th ranked University of Maine, Cornell’s first win over a ranked opponent since 2007. Siergiej led the team in scoring with 13 goals, just one shy of the school record of 14 shared by three players. She was also the cornerstone of a defense that allowed eight shots on goal per game and was the first Cornellian since Molly Kauffman ’97 to be named Ivy Player of the Week multiple times in the same season.
STROKE OF LUCK Kate Roach ’15 was named the Collegiate Athlete of the Year by U.S. Rowing after earning the most votes in its annual Fans Choice Award. A two-time All-American, Roach earned 40 percent of the online votes after rowing in the women’s eight boat that finished first at the under-23 world championships in Verase, Italy. She also set new school ergometer records in the 2K and 5K.
TOUGH MUDDER A strong finish at the Heptagonal Championships vaulted the men’s cross country team into the national rankings for the first time in more than a decade. Cornell placed 37th in the November 4 rankings after taking second place at the Heps, its best showing since 2007. Dominic DeLuca ’18 was fourth overall, covering Princeton’s muddy eight-kilometer course in 24:29.3 to become the first freshman to earn All-Ivy honors since 2008.
MILLER’S TALE Buoyed by the return of Shonn Miller ’15 and backed by a strong defense, the men’s basketball team opened the 2014–15 season with a 68-60 win at George Mason. After missing 2013–14 with an injury, Miller had 21 points and 13 rebounds in his return, along with a pair of blocked shots. Robert Hatter ’17 also had 21 points while Devin Cherry ’15 finished with nine points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists. Cornell out-rebounded the Patriots 46 to 38 and held them to 31 percent shooting from the floor.