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From Friends to Foes

Serratore no stranger to Robert Morris coach.

Minnesota forward Tom Serratore will put family friendships aside in his effort to help the Gophers advance in the NCAA Tournament. (MHM Photo / Jeff Wegge)


Serratore no stranger to Robert Morris coach.

Minnesota senior forward Tom Serratore and Robert Morris coach Derek Schooley go way back – to the beginning.

“I played for his dad, Frank, in Omaha in the USHL and Tom was just a baby,” Schooley said.  “I saw Tom when he was still in diapers, and then I had a chance to work with Frank for five years and really got to know their family really well, working for Frank.  And Frank’s wife Carol and Tom’s mom, is the godmother of my oldest daughter.”

Schooley served as an assistant coach at the Air Force Academy under longtime Falcons coach Frank Serratore.  It helped launch Schooley into building up a young RMU Colonials program that will take on the top-seeded Golden Gophers today along with the son of his former boss.  The 6-0, 129-pound Gophers senior looks forward to it as well.

“It’s crazy,” Serratore said.  “It would be just as crazy if I played my dad again, which was a cool experience, and my uncle.  And now I get to play Derek.”

History favors the Gophers of late when Serratore laces up against a family member or family friend.  They beat the Falcons 4-0 last season at home.  The Gophers also went 4-0 overall against Bemidji State, where Serratore’s uncle, Tom Serratore, coaches.

Hockey ties run deep in Minnesota for the Serratore family as Tim, the twin brother of the Gopher senior forward, played at Augsburg College.  Their father, Frank, originally came from Coleraine, Minn. and played for Greenway High School in 1973-1975.  He went on to play collegiately at Bemidji State and Western Michigan.

“I’ve known Tom for a long time and have a tremendous amount of respect for the Serratore family from what they’ve accomplished from Tom at Bemidji to Frank at Air Force and what Tom has done at Minnesota,” Schooley said.

When the younger Tom Serratore went to Youngstown, Ohio to play junior hockey, Schooley met him since RMU sits only an hour away in Pittsburgh, Pa.  Serratore played for the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL for 2009-2010 and led the team in goals with 17.

“I met him there, and he showed me around,” Serratore said.

Serratore moved on to play for the Gophers after that season.  He has appeared in 136 career games with the team.

This season, Serratore has seven points along with winning 58.5-percent of his face-offs, 31 of 53.  Serratore has 22 career points.

Schooley’s Colonials face off bi-annually with the elder Serratore’s Falcons since they both compete in the Atlantic Hockey Association.  The Colonials went 2-1 against the Falcons in the regular season.

“It’s always tough to play Air Force because I know so many people there and have such good relationship with their family,” Schooley said.

Schooley left the Falcons in 2003 to help build a new hockey program with the Colonials.  The Pittsburgh-based Division I school went 8-21-4 during their inaugural season 2004-2005.  Ten years later, Schooley has the team’s first conference tournament title and NCAA appearance.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for previous coaches in the past that I’ve had, but especially to Frank Serratore for giving me the opportunity and mentoring,” Schooley said.

Matthew Davis is an experienced Sports Reporter and has covered Olympic, professional, collegiate and high school athletes for various newspapers and websites. He won a North Dakota Newspaper Association sports reporting award in 2008. He has a degree in Mass Communication from North Dakota State University.

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