In a level of hockey that’s developmental by design, for one coach to pilot an organization for seven straight seasons is not the norm.
But Topeka RoadRunners head coach and general manger Scott Langer has been at the helm since the team set up shop in Santa Fe, N.M., in September of 2004.
He closed out the month of October with a career mark of 252-118-35, which equates to a winning percentage of .665 while averaging 37-plus wins per year. He’s also helped over 60 of his former players advance their careers at the college level.
Langer won his 250th game when the RoadRunners defeated the Wichita Falls Wildcats, 5-1, on Oct. 9. The team’s majority owner, Don Stone, was quick to praise his coach for reaching the milestone.
“Scott’s an outstanding coach and to hit this mark so quickly is a testament to his abilities,” said Stone. “The Stone family and the RoadRunners are very proud to call Scott one of our own.”
Added Harry Mahood, an assistant coach with the RoadRunners, “Two-hundred-and-fifty wins is an amazing milestone for such a young coach.
“Many people underestimate the value of coaching leadership in team success, but teams can only be successful with a leader who’s focused on building relationships and encouraging players to make positive choices that support both the team’s and the players’ goals."
Staying true to his passion of developing as a coach, he pursued the highest level of coaching certification available with USA Hockey, that being a Level 5. He was required to attend and participate in a symposium over the summer and submit a thesis for review. He recently received confirmation of his Level 5 status.
A native of East Islip, N.Y., on Long Island, Langer played junior hockey as a defenseman for the Bismarck Bullets and Bismarck Express of the old American Frontier Hockey League (AFHL), which was later renamed the America West Hockey League.
He was named to the AFHL All-Star Team in the 1994-95 season and, after his junior playing career ended, he stayed in Bismarck coaching at the Bantam AA level before being hired as an assistant coach for the AWHL/NAHL Bismarck Bobcats from 1997-02.
He spent one season as an assistant coach for the USHL’s Chicago Steel before accepting an assistant coaching position with the NAHL’s expansion Lone Star Cavalry in 2003-04. After one season in Texas, the team was purchased and moved to Santa Fe where the RoadRunners were born. Langer assumed the head coaching position after the relocation and has held the position ever since.
During the 2009-10 season, Langer’s work was recognized by the NAHL as it awarded him General Manager of the Year honors.
Langer is quick to brag about his players’ successes, but reticent to discuss his own. Mahood, who in his own right holds a lot of respect in the hockey community, is effusive in his praise of Langer.
"Scott’s a very humble person who cares more about the kids and little about personal milestones,” said Mahood. “However, as a coaching peer of Scott's, I just want to let everyone know that Scott Langer is one of the best people and brightest minds working in the game today. His success and future success is of little surprise to me because he has a special gift for coaching and determined passion to succeed.
“He’ll go down as one of the top three or four coaches to have ever coached in the North American Hockey League.”