From flame to fame: A 42-year journey

Coach Joe Augustine has helped the University of Rhode Island club hockey program acquire 574 wins since he spearheaded the program 29 years ago, which more than doubles the 268 recorded losses. Under his leadership, our club hockey team has also obtained an American Collegiate Hockey Association National Championship.

        Augustine has an extensive background in the sport, which showcases his ability to be a successful coach. Three years of collegiate level hockey at Boston College eventually led to him being drafted by the Atlanta Flames in 1976. He went on to play six seasons with the Flames, New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils, and began to entertain the idea of being a coach. In 1983, he made the switch.

Originally starting off at the high school level, Augustine spent three years at Tolman High School in Rhode Island before coaching Brown University. Two years later he switched to coaching at the Community College of Rhode Island, and a year later, in 1989, he came to URI.

        Augustine was originally motivated to stay in Rhode Island because of his wife, but these days, he enjoys coaching at the University for many reasons.

“My wife is a true Rhode Islander, they don’t go anywhere,” Augustine said. “I saw that moving around was not going to work. The potential I saw here, it kept me in the game and fulfilled the need for me to be in the game, and that’s why I ended up being here for so long.”

In addition, Augustine has also seen an increase in the skill level of not only his players, but players around the country. “The level of play has gotten much much higher, it’s much better than it was when I first came in,” he said.

        One of Augustine’s proudest moments is winning the American Collegiate Hockey Association national championship in 2006.

 “When you win a national championship, that’s obviously a highlight here, and that’s basically what we strive to do every year,” Augustine said. “Every year I think that if we play well enough and do what we need to do that we have a chance at a national championship.”

Apart from coaching the Rams to a national championship in 2006, Augustine also received ESCHL Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2015.

        Over his 29 years of coaching at URI, Augustine has seen numerous changes occur in his players, but has kept his coaching style and motto the same.

“We try to instill in our guys that it’s not about winning all the time,”Augustine said. “I’m not a win at all cost guy. We have rules and regulations and I would never throw those to the side to win, but winning is a whole lot more fun than losing.”