SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – American International College (AIC) is proud to welcome back alumnus and former Graduate Assistant Coach Eric Lang ('98; '08) as the new head ice hockey coach as announced by Athletic Director Matthew Johnson earlier today.
A press conference will be held to officially introduce Eric Lang as the new head coach on Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at 10 a.m. in AIC's Butova Gymnasium's Hall of Fame room.
"It is with tremendous excitement that we announce the hiring of Eric Lang as the next head ice hockey coach at American International College. Eric is a true professional, cut from the same cloth morally and ethically as former head coach Gary Wright.
"It is not often in this business that you find the perfect fit; however, we feel that Eric is exactly that. He understands the nuances of a school like American International College, embraces the challenges he will face, and yearns for the opportunity to put this program on the map in North America.
"I was afforded the pleasure of working with Eric on a daily basis while he served as a graduate assistant coach from 2006-2008. During that time, I was incredibly impressed with his upbeat attitude, strong work ethic, and ability to communicate with all constituents. Eric is a Yellow Jacket through and through. He loves American International College and views this as an opportunity of a lifetime. It's not every day that you have the chance to hire an alum and former employee whose passion for the sport and the institution are transcendent. I can't wait to start working with Eric and have no doubt the players, alums, and fans will soon understand what I already know, that Eric Lang is a game changer," said Johnson.
Lang, a 10-year coaching veteran, returns to his alma mater after spending the last four seasons on the bench at Army West Point. During his tenure with the Black Knights, Lang worked his way up from a volunteer assistant during the 2012-13 campaign and has served as lead assistant over the last three seasons.
"It is with great pride and humility that I accept the position of head hockey coach at my alma mater," commented Lang. "Together, our staff and players will embrace the overall mission of AIC and recognize the responsibility we share to represent our institution, program and community, on and off the ice, with class, enthusiasm and excellence."
While at Army, Lang was responsible for handling the power-play unit, which ranked fourth in Atlantic Hockey this past season, as well as coordinating video analysis of games and working with student-athletes in on- and off-ice drills.
Lang has also served as a key factor in recruiting efforts during his time with the Cadets which has seen Army West Point move from a last place finish in 2013-14 (6-28) to a berth in the Atlantic Hockey Championship Weekend this past season after a 15-15-9 finish. Led by a strong sophomore class, Lang recruited 2014-15 Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Year and All-Rookie team member Tyler Pham as well as the leading scorer for the Black Knights this past season, Conor Andrle (13-20-33).
Before his time at West Point, Lang spent four seasons at Manhattanville College, a Division III institution, guiding the women's team for three seasons and the men's team for one. At the helm of the Lady Valiants, Lang captured an ECAC East Conference and regular season title as well as the number eight ranking in the final uscho.com Division III national poll while winning a total of 58 games. In his one season behind the bench with the men, Lang led the team to a 14-9 record.
Much of Lang's current success at West Point can be attributed to his time with the Yellow Jackets both as a player and graduate assistant coach. He holds an abundance of experience in Atlantic Hockey and understands what it takes to be competitive. Lang skated in 80 games for AIC over his four years in the mid-90s, serving as a two-year captain while being honored with the ECAC Merit Medal and the College's Henry Butova Leadership Award.
"As a former player and coach here, I don't think I ever stopped thinking about AIC. I love this place and the memories it created for me. I have always dreamed of being the head coach here," said Lang. "One thing I know for certain, it would be tough to find anybody who wants to be the leader of this program more than I do."
Lang graduated from AIC in 1998 with a degree in psychology before going on to earn his master's degree in organizational development in 2008. He has also worked for the National Hockey League as an off-ice official, assisting with in-game scoring and analysis in addition to coaching for four years at Byram Hills High School during his 20 plus years of hockey experience.
"I deeply appreciate the support of the AIC administration, in particular President Maniaci, Mr. Berman, and Mr. Johnson. Together they have made a huge commitment to our hockey program. The process for us starts with our overall mindset. We have to work hard enough to believe that we can and will win here. I can't wait to get started! It's a great day to be a member of the AIC hockey family," concluded Lang.