American International announced Wednesday that alumnus and former graduate assistant coach Eric Lang has been named the team’s new head coach.
Lang has worked as an assistant coach at Army West Point the past three seasons.
“Eric is a true professional, cut from the same cloth morally and ethically as former head coach Gary Wright,” said AIC athletic director Matthew Johnson in a statement. “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 to 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.”
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,” added 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 (6-28-0) to a berth in the Atlantic Hockey championship Weekend this past season after a 15-15-9 finish.
Before his time at West Point, Lang spent four seasons at Manhattanville, 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 No. 8 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 14-9-0 record.
Lang skated in 80 games for AIC over his four years from 1994 to 1998, 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,” said Lang. “I love this place and the memories it created for me. I have always dreamed of being the head coach here. 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 NHL as an off-ice official, assisting with in-game scoring and analysis.
“I deeply appreciate the support of the AIC administration, in particular President Maniaci, Mr. Berman, and Mr. Johnson,” concluded Lang. “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.”