Hometown: Apple Valley, Minnesota Birthdate: February 1, 1964 Education: University of Maine, 1986, B.S., Secondary Education, History Coaching Experience: Head Coach, Brown University, 1997-present Associate Head Coach, University of Vermont, 1990-1997 Assistant Coach, Norwich University, 1989-90 Head Coach, Yarmouth High School (Maine), 1987-89 Assistant Coach, Old Town High School (Maine), 1985-86
Roger Grillo enters his 12th season behind the Brown bench and his 12th year as a collegiate head coach. He came to the Brown on June 2, 1997 with a plan for success, and has made great strides in rebuilding the Brown program after several years of hard work.
He became the 14th head coach in Brown Hockey history prior to the 1997-98 season, and the inaugural campaign of Grillo and Brown 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 theECAC Hockey Coach of the Year.
The Bears posted three straight winning seasons (2003-2005), while advancing to the 2003 ECAC Hockey Championship weekend for the first time since 1994. Since January of 2002, Grillo has guided Brown to a 48-31-16 home record, including a 17-3-5 record from January 11, 2002-March 9, 2003. The 2001-2002 season featured wins over nationally-ranked St. Cloud State and UMass-Lowell, and back-to-back shutouts, at St. Lawrence and Clarkson, accomplishing this feat for the first time since 1929-30, while going on a seven-game home winning streak, a new Brown record.
Under his watchful eye, Brown has produced one Hobey Baker Award Finalist (top-3), two All-Americans, 11 All-ECAC Hockey performers, and 24 All-Ivy selections. In addition, in 2003-2004, Grillo coached the ECAC Hockey & Ivy League Player of the Year, the ECAC Hockey Goalie of the Year, the ECAC Hockey Best Defensive Defenseman, and the ECAC Hockey & Ivy League Rookie of the Year. The ECAC Hockey League picked an All-Academic squad for the first time, following the 1999-2000 season, consisting of 70 players from within the League, ten of which were from Grillo's team, the second highest total out of the 12 schools. In all, the Bears have had 57 different student-athletes selected to the ECAC Hockey All-Academic Squad, including 12 three-time honorees. In addition, Yann Danis '04 was named First Team Co-SIDA District Academic All-America in 2002 and 2004, earning Second Team All-District honors in 2003. He was named a Second Team National Academic All-American in 2004. In 1998, Damian Prescott '98 scored 25 goals, the most offensive production by an individual Bear in more than 20 years. In 2004, Brian Ihnacak '07 became the first freshman to notch at least 30 points in nearly 30 years.
A dedicated teacher of the game of hockey, Grillo, formerly the top assistant at Vermont, is recognized as an exceptional recruiter. In seven years at Vermont, he recruited and coached three Hobey Baker finalists, four first team All-Americans, two ECAC Hockey Rookies of the Year and two ECAC Hockey Players of the Year. He helped coach the Catamounts to the 1997 ECAC Hockey regular season title and NCAA Tournament appearances in 1996 and 1997, including to the Final Four in 1996. Prior to his seven-year stint in Burlington, Grillo was the top assistant at Norwich University for one year (1989-90), working under head coach Tony Mariano. At Norwich, he also was an assistant coach for the Cadets' soccer team.
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).
He has been involved in several summer hockey camps/clinics, including the Bowdoin Hockey Clinic in 1987 and 1989 and AHAUS Select 15 Regional Camp at Bowdoin as an on-ice instructor. He also directed the New England Bantam Camp and coached at the National USA Hockey Select 16's and 17's camps. During the summer of 2004, Grillo was selected to coach the U.S. Under-18 Select Team at the 2004 Junior World Cup in the Czech Republic, coaching the team again during the summer of 2007.
Originally from Apple Valley, Minnesota, he graduated from Apple Valley High School where he captained his team and helped lead the squad to the Minnesota State High School Tournament.
Roger and his wife, Wanda, live with their 13-year-old son, Dominic, in North Kingstown, RI.