As long as he’s still having fun, Air Force hockey coach Frank Serratore is sticking around.
Serratore, who recently wrapped up his 21st season at the academy, signed a five-year contract extension through 2023 on Tuesday.
“My bosses approached me on it, only two years into my other one, and that made me feel good,” Serratore said. “We’ve had a couple good seasons and it’s great to work for people that recognize that things have gone pretty well and were gracious enough to reward me and my staff for that.”
The extension was announced by interim athletics director Col. Jennifer Block, who took over for Jim Knowlton after he left for University of California, Berkeley last month. Serratore said he had discussions with both of them.
“Frank has built Air Force hockey into a nationally recognized program both on and off the ice,” Block said in a school release.
During those 21 years, Serratore became the winningest hockey coach in school history, going 379-335-81. The 2017-18 season saw another step up for the program, which knocked off the NCAA Tournament’s top seed, St. Cloud State, in the West Regional.
The Falcons only made it to a second straight NCAA Tournament berth - and a record-setting third straight 20-win campaign - thanks to the late-season surge that has become an expectation recently. Per the team release, over the past three seasons, Air Force’s 45 wins after Jan. 1 are the second-most of any team in the nation.
“We’ve been pretty good for a long time now,” Serratore, 60, said. “At one point in your life, you’ve got a young family and you’re just trying to earn that next contract to survive. Now, in the blink of an eye, I need to try and outlive this contract.
“People ask me, ‘How many more years for you? Is this going to be your last five?’ I’m not going to put an expiration date on myself. I’m as motivated as I’ve ever been and I’m having as much fun as I ever have. If it ever gets to a point where I don’t look forward to coming to the office, I’d go to the AD and turn my key in.”
The hockey program news comes four days after the announcement that Air Force women’s basketball coach Chris Gobrecht signed a five-year extension.