By Michael Mangiafico
On February 9th, The Bryant Bulldogs Men’s hockey team had their annual senior night at the Rhode Island Sports Center. This is always a bittersweet day when the team celebrates its accomplishments and also honors the seniors for their four year participation and dedication to the team. There are always tears, laughs, hugs, and smiles. But this year’s senior night was a little different than past years, because there was an announcement regarding the head coach Mark Luther. Luther announced that he was going to be retiring from his job as head coach of the team.
Prior to Luther taking the role of Head Coach of the Bryant University Bulldogs he was the Varsity Head coach at Scituate high school In Rhode Island. He coached for five years where he had a record of 82 Wins, 37 Losses, 4 Ties, with 3 visits to State Playoffs, and 2 conference championships. He was extremely involved with the community in Scituate where he has been a long time resident with his wife Susan and three sons Derek, Sam, and Bryan. In the town of Scituate, he ran development and conditioning camps as well as coaching various AAA and select programs. Luther attended NEIT and majored in Computer Science/Electrical Engineering. He then furthered his education at Roger Williams focusing on computer science. He was able to take what he learned in school and pay it forward towards our country, as he served in the U.S. Navy as an electronic weapons systems and fire control technician.
In 2006, Luther took on the role of Head Coach where he knew he would be devoting a big part of his life to the organization. The position requires odd hours and weekends away from home that would be dedicated to the hockey program. But this did not stop Luther from giving one hundred percent for his players, and in return his players gave that same one hundred percent effort back to him as coach. Every player looked up to him on and off the ice, he was everything a college hockey player would have wanted just the right amount of leeway, but always pushing for you to get better. His love for the game of hockey not only helped improve his players skills on the ice, also instilled the values of hard work, determination, and the importance of being a team player. For fourteen years he was the man in charge and was able to use his hockey knowledge which helped lead the Bulldogs to three NECHA conference championships, five visits to regionals championships, and in 2017 champions of the Quogue Cup.
Another Huge shoutout that needs to be mentioned when speaking about Mark’s career is his wife Susan, she was also committed and involved in the hockey program. Once a year when the players come back early from winter break, Mrs. Luther would cook up some amazing food and invite all the players over for a wonderful team dinner. Without her dedication to the organization none of Mark’s career would have been possible.
On February 9th in honor of head Coach Mark Luther, Bryant University Athletics Director Bill Smith, Deputy AD John Ruppert, and Assistant AD Nick Schleicher presented Coach with a framed bulldog jersey. After the announcement the Bulldogs played one of their best games of the year beating SNHU 6-2 wishing their coach rest and relaxation into retirement.