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June 17, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; - On behalf of both the men's and women's ice hockey programs, Associate Athletic Director Joe Battista is pleased to announce the hiring of Bill Downey as the Director of Hockey Operations. An All-American as an Icer, Downey most recently served as the Director of Hockey Operations for the men's and women's programs at Harvard University.
"As all alumni can attest, returning to campus is already an indescribable feeling in and of itself," says Downey. "But to come back to work for a Division I hockey program at Penn State is truly a special opportunity, and one that I accept with great responsibility, humility and enthusiasm. I'm thrilled to help shape the program that ultimately shaped me -- as both a player and person."
A former professional hockey player and coach, Downey joined the Harvard staff in September of 2010 after two years as an assistant coach with the Icers. While with the Icers, Downey was active in recruiting players from junior hockey leagues and New England prep schools. He also served as the assistant director of the Penn State Ice Hockey Camps.Downey was part of the advisory board that helped with the preparation for Penn State's launch of NCAA Division I men's and women's hockey programs.
"Bill Downey is the perfect link to the past, present, and future of Penn State Hockey," said Battista. "As an alum and former player he brings a passion for all things Penn State. I was blessed to have recruited and coach him and am thrilled to have him back on our staff."
While coaching the Icers, Downey was also a head coach, scout and instructor for Selects Hockey. Selects Hockey develops high-level youth players from the United States, Canada and Europe. Among his coaching stints at both domestic and international tournaments, he organized a six-week clinic in Pittsburgh featuring guest coach Mario Lemieux.
"I have known Bill Downey for over a decade. I had the pleasure of coaching him as an assistant coach during the 2003 World University Games and have worked many summer camps with him," said head women's ice hockey coach Josh Brandwene. "He is an outstanding choice for this role and it's great to welcome him back to the Penn State community."
Downey was an assistant coach for the Reading Royals of the East Coast Hockey League during the 2007-08 season. While with the Royals, he assisted with practice and player development and also took an active role in video analysis and opponent scouting. During that same time, he served as the hockey director for Team Comcast and Flyers Skate Zone in Pennsauken, N.J., where he oversaw all hockey programs, clinics and camps.
Downey's professional experience also includes time as an Atlantic scout for the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League in 2007. Since 2007, he has been involved in the USA Hockey Coaching Education Program organizing and instructing at clinics for individuals seeking USA Hockey coaching certification.
As a professional player, Downey spent parts of four seasons in the ECHL playing for the Johnstown Chiefs, Wheeling Nailers and Reading Royals. He was invited to the 2004-05 Pittsburgh Penguins training camp and also attended the training camp of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the Penguins' American Hockey League affiliate.
As a Penn State Icer, he earned ACHA All-America status and helped the Nittany Lions win three consecutive ACHA national championships. He was also a member of Team USA for the 2003 World University Games in Tarvisio, Italy.
"Billy Downey is a great hire for Penn State Hockey," said men's hockey head coach Guy Gadowsky. "I have received several emails from alumni who recommended Billy highly as both hockey mind and as a person. He represents himself extremely well, and immediately establishes intelligence and a genuine honesty with whomever he communicates with. I have great respect for Coach Donato and he could not have been more complimentary with what he said about the job Billy did as Director of Hockey Operations for two very successful men's and women's hockey programs at Harvard. I know Billy will be a huge asset to Penn State Hockey."
A 2004 graduate of Penn State, Downey earned a bachelor's degree in economics. He is a member of the American Hockey Coaches Association and is a USA Hockey Level 4 certified coach. Downey will return to the State College area with his wife Amy, also a 2004 Penn State graduate.