Gold medalist Looney named head coach at Lindenwood University
“I felt it was a great opportunity to grow Lindenwood’s hockey program and make an impact,” Shelley Looney said of her new position.
Women’s hockey legend and Brownstown native Shelley Looney has been named head coach of the Women’s hockey program at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO.
“I’ve coached many different teams in the past at all levels,” Looney told Red Line Editorial. “Many people asked when I was getting into the college world on a regular basis, and when this came up, I felt it was a great opportunity to grow Lindenwood’s hockey program and make an impact.”
Lindenwood is a private liberal arts university that offers undergraduate and graduate degrees through nine colleges and schools. Its annual enrollment is more than 8,600 students. Its main campus at St. Charles is located 24 miles northwest of St. Louis.
Looney, who played 13 seasons on the U.S. Women’s National Team, gave the U.S. the first-ever Women’s Olympic gold medal in 1998 in Nagano, Japan, by scoring the winning goal in the gold medal game against Canada.
She also captured a gold medal at the 2005 IIHF Women’s World Championship and a silver medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
“Standing with your teammates, singing the national anthem and getting a gold medal around your neck … nothing really will top it, I don’t think, not to mention actually touching the puck and putting it in the net,” Looney said of the ’98 Olympics. “Seeing the growth of the game, the talent level rising from when I was a player to now and being part of USA Hockey afterwards has been exciting.”
Now 47, Looney talked about her place in the history of Women’s hockey.
“When I first started, I had other females I looked up to, so when someone calls me a pioneer, it’s an honor, but I always think about the girls that I looked up to,” she said. “Little kids can now look up to the current players and say, ‘That’s my idol.’ I think you carry that torch and pass it on, and then the girls behind you pass it onto the next generation.”
After retiring as a player, she twice served as the head coach of the U.S. Women’s National University Team, and once as an assistant.
Looney also was an assistant on the Under-18 and Under-22 Women’s Select Teams and a co-head coach with the Buffalo Beauts of the National Women’s Hockey League. She also was a head coach of the Girls varsity program at the Nichols School in Buffalo and an assistant with the University of Vermont.
“I spend a lot of my daily time with youth,” Looney said. “Somehow, I connect really well with them and I understand how to get the most out of them. I think it comes from giving them encouragement and self-confidence and that goes across the board at any level.”
She has also worked as a chief evaluator at USA Hockey District Development Camps while serving as a head coach and coaching director of several development festivals.
Looney was the director of hockey for the Buffalo Bison Youth Hockey Organization and girls’ coaching director with the New Jersey Colonials over the past five years.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity,” Looney said of becoming the head coach at Lindenwood. “The athletic director has been wonderful to work with and the support I’ve received is great. I’m excited to get on the ice.”