Joe Battista, longtime Penn State coach and administrator, has been named the recipient of the American Hockey Coaches Association's Lou Lamoriello Award for 2014. The award — named in honor of the former Providence College player, coach and athletic director (and current New Jersey Devils President and General Manager) — will be presented during this year's NCAA "Frozen Four" in Philadelphia. The award, established in 2004 by a group of retired college hockey coaches, recognizes a former college hockey player or coach for their unique and distinguished professional career.
"Joe Battista represents so much of the best of college hockey," said AHCA Executive Director Joe Bertagna upon announcing the award. "He has been a success at everything he has done since his playing days ended and he has shown incredible loyalty and devotion to his alma mater and to people who have helped him along the way. These are characteristics on display throughout our sport and never more so than in Joe."
Battista is the first Lamoriello Award recipient who played his college hockey at the non-varsity level, as Penn State participated in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) before moving its men's and women's programs to the NCAA Division I level in 2012. In fact, Battista was founder and past-president of the ACHA.
"I am honored and humbled to receive the Lamoriello Award," said Battista. "Coach Lamoriello has always been willing to help others in the game including our Penn State staff. I was excited to see him at our recent Devils-Sabres game and be able to share the news of the award with him. This award is possible only because of the great teammates, players, staff, mentors, and colleagues that I have worked with over the past 35 years and the support of my wife Heidi and our kids."
A 1983 graduate of Penn State's Smeal College of Business, Battista served Penn State in a variety of capacities during his 27-year tenure. He returned to Penn State in 1987, beginning a 19-year journey as head coach of the University's American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I club team. With the Icers, Battista captured six ACHA national titles and won more than 500 games as head coach.
Following the 2005-06 season, the Pittsburgh native left the bench to become the Nittany Lion Club's Executive Director (2006-09). Battista then joined the Smeal College of Business as its Director of Major Gifts from 2009-10. In September 2010, Battista assumed the role as an associate athletic director after helping facilitate the largest gift in University history – an initial $88 million donation that was instrumental in funding Pegula Ice Arena and NCAA Division I hockey – from Penn State alumnus Terry Pegula and his wife, Kim.
This fall, Battista accepted a position with Pegula's East Management Services, LP as Vice President of Hockey Operations. He is responsible for hockey development and strategic initiatives across the entire spectrum of Pegula's hockey organizations.
Previous Winners of the Lou Lamoriello Award*
2004 Lou Lamoriello, Providence; 2005 Tom "Red" Martin, Boston College; 2006 John Mayasich, Minnesota; 2007 Dave Metzen, Minnesota; 2008 Tom Coakley, Brown; 2009 Laing Kennedy, Cornell, Kent State; 2010 Dr. Michael Collins, Notre Dame
*The award has not been presented since 2010 due to changes in the Retired Coaches Association and the recent moving of responsibility for the award within the current AHCA Awards Committee structure.