By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff
Boston University and Boston College may be rivals on the ice, but the teams' head coaches are friends off of it. Jack Parker and Jerry York grew up playing hockey against each other both in high school and college, and now they coach against each other for two of the most successful programs in college hockey. Two summers ago, when Parker needed heart surgery, York was one of his biggest cheerleaders throughout his recovery. A few years before that, when York was diagnosed with prostate cancer, it was Parker who was by his side.
Friday night saw both coaches in happier times. While BU beat up on the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, 7-4, York's Eagles topped Merrimack College, 4-2. The win marked York's 900th as a collegiate coach, making him just the second coach in college hockey history to reach 900 wins (the retired Ron Mason has 924 career victories). York leads all active coaches in career wins.
York began his coaching career in 1972 at Clarkson University, where he won 125 games in seven years. He then spent 15 years at Bowling Green, where he collected 342 wins and an NCAA championship (1984). York took over the coaching job for the Eagles in 1994 and has since won 433 games and three national championships (2001, 2008, 2010) in his 18 years at BC.
Parker, who won his 872nd career game (all with BU) Friday night, obviously could not be in attendance for York's 900th win, but the BU bench boss still sent his regards York's way. The following are Parker's remarks on Jerry York's 900th career win.
"You reach milestones like that by being able to coach for 40 years," Parker said. "You get chances like that. I don’t mean to diminish [the 900 wins]. The reason why he’s been able to coach for 40 years is because he’s been a real successful coach. He hasn’t been fired. Sometimes coaches get fired. You don’t get a chance to coach that long.
"I think the more remarkable thing is how many of those wins took place at Boston College where he’s had an unbelievable turnaround. When he got in there, that place wasn’t going too well. And they’ve been fabulous since his second year or third year there. So he might get credit for 900 wins. They ought to talk about how many wins he got at BC and how many big wins they’ve gotten at BC. They’ve had a fabulous run while he’s been the coach there."