Ron Rolston enters his second season at the helm of the Rochester Americans in 2012-13 after being named the 29th Head Coach in the history of the Amerks franchise on July 27, 2011.
Rolston guided the Amerks to a record of 36-26-10-4 (86 points) and a berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs after finishing seventh in the Western Conference and second in the North Division in his first season in the professional ranks. Rolston became just the eighth coach in Amerks history to win at least 35 games in his first full season behind the Rochester bench. He recorded his first professional victory in a 3-1 Amerks win at Lake Erie on Oct. 14.
In addition to leading the Amerks to the postseason, Rolston and his staff were instrumental in the development of numerous players, as eleven different Amerks were recalled to the Buffalo Sabres over the course of the season, combining for 65 points in 157 total games with Buffalo. Of those 11 players, eight made their NHL debut this season and five scored their first NHL goals, including left wing Marcus Foligno, the Amerks’ Rookie of the Year who was named the NHL Rookie of the Month for March.
Rolston joined the Amerks in 2011 after spending the previous seven seasons as a head coach with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (NTDP), where he led the U.S. Under-18 team to three gold medals and a silver medal in four stints as head coach at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Under-18 Championship, including the 2011 tournament in Germany. During the 2010-11 season, he also led Team USA to titles in the 2011 Five Nations Tournament and in the 2010 Four Nations Cup. In addition, Rolston's U.S. National Under-18 Team posted a 12-9-1-2 (W-L-OTL-SOL) record in United States Hockey League play in 2010-11, helping the NTDP reach the USHL postseason for the first time. In June, he received the 2011 Bob Johnson Award from USA Hockey, which recognizes excellence in international competition during a season.
The longest-tenured and most decorated head coach in NTDP history, Rolston guided his teams to five medals and multiple tournament championships in international competition. He is the only coach in U.S. history to win three gold medals in the Under-18 World Championship (2005, 2009, 2011). His team also captured a silver medal in the 2007 Under-18 World Championship. Rolston’s teams never missed a championship game in either of the two major NTDP tournaments – the IIHF World Under-18 Championship and the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The 45-year-old Rolston joined USA Hockey after serving as an assistant coach at four different NCAA Division I hockey programs between 1990 and 2004, winning National Championships in 1992 and 1994 with Lake Superior State University. Rolston was an assistant coach at Boston College from 2002-04 and also served as the top assistant at Harvard University from 1999-2002 and as an assistant coach at Clarkson University (1996-99) and Lake Superior State University (1990-95).
In addition to winning two national titles at Lake Superior State, Rolston also helped guide the team to three straight appearances in the NCAA National Championship game and four CCHA tournament titles in his five-year stint. He was elevated to associate head coach for the Lakers in 1994. Rolston’s younger brother, 17-year NHL veteran Brian Rolston, was a member of the 1992 and ’93 squads that Ron helped coach.
Rolston achieved success with the U.S. National Under-17 team during the 2009-10 campaign, by leading the squad to its first World Under-17 Hockey Challenge title since 2002. He had previously led the Under-17 Team to two second-place finishes (2006, 2008) at the tournament.
In 2008-09, Rolston led the U.S. National Under-18 Team to first-place finishes at both the 2008 Men’s Under-18 Four Nations Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y., and 2009 Under-18 Five Nations Tournament in Sweden. Team USA finished with a 15-1-0-1 record against international opponents and a 13-13-1 mark against NCAA opponents. The 13 wins against college foes marked an all-time high for an Under-18 team in a single season.
In addition to coaching at the Under-18 and Under-17 levels, Rolston also served as head coach for the U.S. National Junior Team on two occasions. In 2007, he led Team USA to the bronze medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship in Sweden. He was also behind the bench during the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ottawa.
A native of Fenton, Mich., Rolston attended Michigan Tech University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in business management and was a three-year hockey letterman with the Huskies (1986-89), serving as an alternate captain during his senior season. Rolston was the co-recipient of the Norbert Matovich Memorial Award as Michigan Tech’s most outstanding freshman in 1986-87.
Rolston and his wife, Shannon, have two children, Maeve and Ronan.
• Guided the Amerks to a 36-26-10-4 record and a berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs in 2011-12, his first season behind the Rochester bench
• A 2011 Bob Johnson Award recipient, which recognizes excellence in international competition during a season
• A three-time gold-medal winner at the International Ice Hockey Federation U-18 World Championships in 2005, 2009 and most recently in 2011
• During the 2010-11 season, he led Team USA to titles in the 2011 Five Nations Tournament and in the 2010 Four Nations Cup
• Led the U.S. National Under-17 team to the 2009-10 campaign World Hockey Challenge title, its first since 2002
• In 2008-09, led the U.S. National Under-18 Team to first-place finishes at both the 2008 Men’s Under-18 Four Nations Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y., and 2009 Under-18 Five Nations Tournament in Sweden
• Also served as head coach for the U.S. National Junior Team on two occasions, helping Team USA to a bronze medal at the 2007 IIHF World Junior Championship in Sweden
• Led Team USA to a silver medal at the 2007 IIHF U-18 tournament
• Won NCAA National Championships in 1992 and 1994 with Lake Superior State University, a team he also guided to three straight appearances in the NCAA National Championship game and four CCHA tournament titles in his five-year stint