In the movie Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams’s character comes back to teach at his old school after a successful career. Following a similar career path, Cornell women’s hockey coach Doug Derraugh ’91 seized the day and returned to coach at his alma mater. Derraugh rejoined the Red in 2005 as interim head coach after playing for the Cornell men’s hockey team from 1987-91 and playing professionally in Europe for 13 years. For Derraugh, coaching was a natural career progression after his playing days ended.
[img_assist|nid=19359|title=Pucking eh|desc=Freshman forward Laura Dandorth lines up a shot during Cornell’s 3-1 win over Brown in its Ivy League opener at Lynah Rink last Friday. (G. Scott Russ / Sun Contributor)|link=popup|align=right|width=100|height=73]
“I think I knew that immediately after I finished playing professionally, I wanted to be a coach,” Derraugh said. “I always wanted to coach college hockey, so that was something I was looking into, and I was hoping that it would happen at Cornell at some point.”
Derraugh started his freshmen season at Cornell off strong in 1987-88, when he played in all 28 games, scoring 11 goals and tallying 21 assists. In his sophomore year, his stats dipped a bit, scoring 9 goals and notching 17 assists. His numbers were back up as a junior though, as Derraugh scored 16 goals and recorded 13 assists.
As a senior co-captain, Derraugh came into his own during the 1990-91 season. Derraugh’s 30 goals as a senior remains a school record to this day. His 36 assists and 66 total points also led the team that year. Playing alongside future NHL veteran Kent Manderville ‘93, Derraugh led the Red to an 18-11-3 overall record, a second place finish in the ECACHL, and a spot in the NCAA tournament. For his efforts, Derraugh was named second team All-Ivy and honorable mention All-ECACHL. He also won the team MVP award. Derraugh currently stands in 10th place on the Cornell career scoring list with 153 points.
After leaving Ithaca, Derraugh played professionally abroad for 13 seasons, skating for teams in Norway, Germany, Austria, and Finland. His best two years came while playing for the Rosenheim Star Bulls of the German Hockey League. In 1995-96, Derraugh scored 28 goals and recorded 22 assists and in 1996-97 he notched 16 goals and 38 assists. Derraugh values his playing experience
“I picked up something from [all my coaches],” Derraugh said. “You have to be yourself in coaching, but you pick up little things from each coach as you go along. Hopefully you pick out the things that you think will be the most effective from them and learn from their mistakes.”
Derraugh returned to Cornell in 2005 as interim coach when head coach Melody Davidson left to coach Team Canada at the 2006 Winter Olympics. Under Derraugh’s watch, the Big Red improved to 9-18-1 (5-15-0 ECACHL), triple the win total from 2004-2005. He was named head coach in the off-season
“[Derraugh] is definitely respected by everyone on the team because he has so much knowledge,” said junior forward Caeleigh Beerworth. “His experience is unrivaled and that carries over in his coaching ability.”
This year, the Red (1-2-1, 1-1-0) has gotten off to an up-and-down start to the season as it faces a road series at Wayne State. However, Cornell can take solace that it has found a permanent coach.
“I am happy where I am,” Derraugh said. “When I first started thinking about coaching, I will admit that women’s hockey wasn’t the thing that came to mind. I was originally going to be an assistant at Ottawa University and work there, but then this opportunity came up. After coaching the women, I really enjoy it and it is somewhere where I want to stay.”