The Lincoln Stars found their eighth head coach in franchise history and they did not have to look far to find him.
Rocky Russo will lead the team into the 2021-22 USHL season after spending the past four seasons with the Amarillo Bulls of the North American Hockey League.
Amarillo, now the North Iowa Bulls in Mason City, Iowa, are owned by new Stars owner Alberto Fernandez.
A native of the Philadelphia area, Russo led Amarillo to a 137-62-16-15 record and a .664 winning percentage.
Russo helped Amarillo to an NAHL Robertson Cup title when Russo served as an assistant coach in a prior stint with the Bulls.
The Stars also hired Nick Fabrizio as general manager of hockey operations and promoted Billy Pugliese to assistant general manager. Pugliese will continue to serve as director of scouting.
“I'm very pleased to join the Lincoln Stars," Fabrizio said. “Our goals this year and beyond are to make Lincoln a consistently winning organization and a place for players to develop and move on to the next level.”
Pugliese has been with the Stars since 2018, serving as the director of scouting. The former Nebraska-Omaha hockey player will have an expanded scouting role, recruiting and developing Stars prospects and players.
“The announcement of our unique hockey leadership group signals that the Lincoln Stars are committed to building an elite organization,” said Tyler Shaffer, Lincoln's chief operating officer. "Our mission is to develop elite hockey players and to provide fans and the entire Lincoln community a team that strives for excellence both on and off the ice."
Fabrizio and Russo combine to replace Chris Michael, who stepped down after one season as Lincoln's general manager and coach.
The Stars will host their main camp July 26-29 at the Breslow Ice Hockey Center, where fans are invited to watch the players and meet the staff.