Rick Seeley was the head coach of Quinnipiac University’s women’s hockey team from 2008 until 2015. He has the 15th-most wins in NCAA women’s hockey history, and in his final season the Bobcats had their best year ever, going 26-9-3. However, Seeley was fired in April 2015 after allegations surfaced that he had berated a player and grabbed her by the chin strap. Seeley vigorously denied the allegations and sued the school for wrongful termination. He also sued a parent of a former player for libel after he provided local outlet Q30 with evidence that Seeley had also abused players at his previous job. That case is scheduled for trial in July.
University administrators say that they chose to fire Seeley after investigating a March 2015 incident, and AD Jack McDonald said, “Obviously if we knew what is being alleged, then (the hiring) just wouldn’t have happened.” However, as Q30 reported this week, a stack of player surveys shows that athletes had been alleging Seeley was abusive toward them since 2009. Despite the allegations, the school extended Seeley’s contract three times. McDonald claims he knew nothing about Seeley’s alleged abusive behavior at his previous job.
In her exit survey, a player on the 2009-10 team noted the “emotional drain” of being on the team and called for a “less intimidating atmosphere.” Someone else called Seeley “a crazy man.”
Seeley himself seemed to catch on that players were probably telling McDonald about his alleged pattern of abusive behavior, and at one point he told them that he wasn’t worried since McDonald would tell him what everyone said in the supposedly confidential surveys.
A player on the 2012-13 team said that Seeley blamed the team for his anger problems at home.
There are repeated instances of Seeley yelling at players to “Fuck off!” and constantly goading them about his power to kick them off the team. Players say that his constant workouts and unsupervised practices caused at least one serious injury. Several members of the 2013-14 team alleged that Seeley aimed a slap shot at a player’s head and barely missed. One player says he chewed her out for smiling after a fan event, and several others allege that he once screamed the n-word in the locker room when trying to get them to turn some music off.
Star forward Kelly Babstock stands out in the surveys as a frequent target of Seeley’s. She says he constantly called her “fucking stupid” and that he physically abused her at a game in 2014, dragging her up a pair of stairs before sending her to the locker room.
The incident that incited Seeley’s firing came in March 2015, after Quinnipiac was eliminated from the NCAA tournament by Harvard. This is what prompted Quinnipiac to fire Seeley, and it stands out among the allegations. Cassandra Turner, Seeley’s lead assistant reported him to the school because she was afraid QU would get sued. Seeley apparently got into an argument with a player and was pulling at her face mask when an assistant coach had to pull him off of the player.
It all started after Seeley got mad at the player for a play she made, and he allegedly grabbed her by the upper body and repeatedly yelled “Fuck you!” at her in front of parents and everyone.
Players requested meetings with administrators after the Harvard incident, where they detailed what happened and opened up about a few other incidents, including Babstock’s allegedly violent benching. As Q30 notes, the allegations outlined by Quinnipiac players line up with similar allegations made by players at Clarkson, where Seeley coached before Quinnipiac. Players from both schools say Seeley verbally abused them, telling a few players to slit their wrists, and physically abused them as well.
Both McDonald and QU officials declined comment to Q30.