CASTLETON, VT. - Spartan Arena will see a new coach leading the Castleton men’s hockey team and it’s a familiar face for the program. Former player Kyle Richards was named head coach earlier this month. With that, the head coaching search is over for the Spartans, and their tabbing one of their own as the next bench boss.
Castleton men’s hockey announced in July that 2014 grad and last season’s graduate assistant Kyle Richards will fill the role.
Castleton’s Associate Dean for Athletics and Recreation Deanna Tyson on Friday said, “We’re excited to have Kyle fill this role,” said Tyson. “He has been a part of this program for many years both as a player and a coach, and he has a true passion for Castleton, for the student-athletes and for the community.”
Richards most recently spent the 2020-21 season as Castleton’s graduate assistant, returning to his alma mater on the coaching side of the program. He was a four-year member of the Spartan hockey program from 2010 through 2014, winning more than 70 percent of his face-offs and earning the team’s Most Improved Player award during the 2011-12 season.
Before returning to Castleton, Richards spent several years in the ACHA circuit, as head coach at West Virginia University and associate head coach at the University of Alabama.
In his four-year career as a member of the Spartans’ men’s hockey team, Richards won over 70-percent of his faceoffs, and tallied 30 career points behind ten goals and 20 assists.
He was also named to the ECAC All-Academic Team multiple times and was named the Fan Favorite during his senior year. Richards finished his playing days with Castleton 30 points on 10 goals and 20 assists.
Following a successful playing career with the Spartans, Richards quickly moved behind the bench as the head coach of West Virginia University’s ACHA men’s ice hockey program where he coached his way to a 21-16-1 record over two seasons, including a win over a nationally-ranked program.
Following his time at WVU, Richards spent the 2016-17 season as the associate head coach for the University of Alabama’s AHCA program before stepping into the head coach role at Alabama during the 2017-18 season. During his three years as head coach at Alabama, Richards guided the Crimson Tide to their most AHCA Division I wins and the highest national ranking in program history, and had a team GPA above 3.1 each year.
“I am incredibly honored and grateful to be named the newest head coach of the Castleton men’s hockey program,” said Richards. “I want to thank Deanna Tyson, Tim Barrett, the entire hiring committee and the Blue Line Club for putting their trust in me to lead this program. Since I stepped foot on campus, I knew that Castleton was home. I had an unbelievable experience as a player, student, and member of the community, and I want to help current and future student-athletes have that same experience.”
“I look forward to building a new tradition and standard of Castleton hockey that the University, community and, most importantly, the alumni will be proud to call their own,” he continued. “I am excited to help our current and future student-athletes achieve their goals academically and athletically during the time at Castleton and beyond.”