by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor
ST. LOUIS Two coaches with over 700 career wins apiece will meet in the NCAA championship game for the first time — BC's Jerry York and Michigan State's Rick Comley. And their careers are more intertwined than by simply their respective longevity in the position.
York started his head coaching career in 1972-73 with Clarkson, five years after graduating Boston College.
Comley played for Ron Mason at Lake Superior State, graduating in 1972. One year later, Mason left for Bowling Green and Comley was made a very young head coach.
After a 37-win season in 1978-79, Mason left for Michigan State, and who took over for him at Bowling Green? None other than Jerry York.
Comley stayed just three seasons at LSSU, before heading to start the program at Northern Michigan, where he would stay for 26 years. He went to Frozen Fours in 1980 and 1981, and won a national championship in 1991.
York stayed for 15 seasons at Bowling Green, winning a national championship in 1984 in the longest title game in NCAA history. And after Mike Milbury's aborted takeover of BC's program, the Eagles turned to an alum and never looked back, with winning another title in 2001.
And when Ron Mason finally retired, after an NCAA record 924 career wins, Comley was the choice to take over for him once again.
So these two coaches are two of the top four in wins all time, and between them, have taken over for Mason three times.
"He's a terrific coach and more importantly, he's just a rock solid individual," York said of Comley. "I really respect him. We've gone through real wars over the years. But we've keep a good friendship, whether it's recruiting or tough losses back and forth. That's a good matchup. Michigan State is a Big Ten school from the Midwest, and of course Boston College — that's a great hockey matchup, both schools have a lot of tradition."
After five years, the WCHA's national championship reign is officially over. North Dakota's loss means a team from another conference will win for the first time since 2001.
That was the year, in fact, that Boston College defeated North Dakota for its second national championship.
Nothing against the WCHA, but a quick survey of dignitaries around the Scottrade Center on Thursday evening showed clear pleasure from this fact. No one can deny the superiority of the conference, but everyone else was tiring of hearing about it. Plus, it's just better, probably, for the health of college hockey if things get spread around a bit.
The CCHA last won a championship in 1998 with Michigan, which also won in 1996.
For what it's worth, the ECAC's last title was Harvard in 1989.