WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, are excited to announce that Head Coach Derek Army has signed a three-year contract extension. The deal will keep him as the team's head coach through the 2025-26 campaign.
Army, 32, recently completed his second full season as the team's head coach and third overall, as he joined the coaching staff as an assistant in 2020-21, before being promoted to interim head coach in the middle of that season. Derek has already climbed the ranks to sixth on Wheeling's all-time list with 72 regular season wins, and he is one of eight coaches in team history to win a playoff series. In addition to building a winning team for the Nailers, Army has also achieved great success in developing players for the AHL, as 33 players from the last two seasons have earned promotions to the next level, including 18 who started in Wheeling on ECHL contracts.
"Derek Army has done a terrific job for our organization, and we are looking forward to watching him succeed even more in these next three seasons," said Nailers Team President Brian Komorowski. "With Derek behind the bench, we were able to get a taste of our first playoff success since 2016, which is something that we are eager to see more of in the near future. Derek also understands the importance of family and community, which make him an incredible ambassador for our team."
The North Kingstown, Rhode Island native first arrived in Nail City during the final weeks of the 2013-14 season, after he completed his collegiate playing career at Providence College. Derek then played in parts of each of the next four seasons with the Nailers, as he amassed 59 goals, 71 assists, and 130 points in 159 games. His 59 goals rank tenth all-time, and he is one of five players in team history to play in parts of at least five seasons. Similar to his players, Army also reached the AHL, as he appeared in 97 games with six different teams. Derek's best individual season came in 2014-15, when he led Wheeling with 29 goals and played in all 72 games. His best season with a team was in 2015-16, when the Nailers reached the Kelly Cup Final.
"My family and I couldn't be more excited to be back in Wheeling," Army said. "We absolutely love everything about being here, from the support of our fans, this great community, our close-knit team on the ice, and first class organizations with the Nailers and Penguins. I have loved my time here both as a player and as a coach, and I can't wait to continue building something special."
2023-24 will be Army's ninth season in the organization, which is the most for any player or coach in team history. Derek and his wife Jenn have a two-year old son Boone and a six-month old daughter Adelina. The Army family has lived in Wheeling since 2021.