York Reaches 900 Wins
BC Coach Adds Another Milestone to His Legendary Status
by Michael King/CHN Reporter
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. Adding to his list of already impressive career accomplishments, Boston College coach Jerry York became the second coach in men's Division I college hockey history to reach 900 wins. He joins former Michigan State coach Ron Mason in the exclusive club.
In his 40th season as a head coach, York's Eagles defeated Merrimack, 4-2, Friday night at the Conte Forum to reach the historic milestone. Number 900 comes four days after the Eagles won their third-consecutive Beanpot, besting rivals Boston University, 3-2.
With his four national titles, York acknowledged after the game that though the milestone was nice to achieve, it’s the championships which retain the most significance.
"In a team sport, it's never about individual wins or individual accomplishment," York said, ever humble. "The number of victories doesn't necessarily motivate me. We try to win trophies — when you're a team in a team setting, the goal should be to win championships."
"But I am impressed by the fact that I lasted this long in the profession, because that is hard to do," the coach added.
The 7,390 in attendance chanted the coach's name as the final seconds ticked away in the victory, cognizant of the impending milestone. The program celebrated the achievement with a brief acknowledgement at center ice immediately following the victory.
York began his career under the mentorship of two legendary BC coaches, though he may have passed both with his litany of accomplishments. York played for Snooks Kelly (501 wins, one national title in over 40 years at BC) in the late 1960s. Once his playing career finished, York took his first full-time assistant coaching position with Len Ceglarski at Clarkson. When Ceglarski left for Boston College in 1972 (where he coached for 20 years), York became the head man at Clarkson. He was the youngest coach in the country at 26 when he stepped into the role.
He amassed 125 wins at Clarkson before moving to Bowling Green. At the CCHA member school, York's teams qualified for the NCAA tournament six times in 15 years — creating one of the most dominant programs of the 1980s. The coach's crowning achievement at Bowling Green was winning the 1983-84 NCAA tournament.
Two years after Ceglarski retired (673 wins, No. 7 all-time), York again took his mentor's position; this time as head coach at Boston College.
His achievements with the Eagles are numerous. They include nine Frozen Four berths, eight Hockey East tournament titles, 20 teams with 25 or more wins — and most significantly — three National Championships.
Beyond accomplishment in the world of college hockey, York has consistently prepared his players for the sport's next level. Some notable NHLers who played for York include Brian Gionta, Brooks Orpik, and Rob Blake.
The programs he's led have also produced three Hobey Baker award winners: George McPhee and Brian Holzinger at Bowling Green, and Mike Mottau at BC. Many players have been finalists for the accolade under his watch.
Reaching 900 wins so close to winning BC's third-consecutive Beanpot for the first time in program history since York was a player is significant. Though BU still far-and-away boasts the most Beanpot titles (29), the recent victories mark a shift in the Eagle's success in the tournament. With BC's domination of the conference and the NCAA tournament (six Frozen Fours in last 10 years), the Beanpot was the only competition that York's teams had not thoroughly and consistently mastered. That officially changed last Monday night.
Much of BC's lack of Beanpot excellence has to do with the superb teams field by BU coach Jack Parker over the years. Not only was the Beanpot hat trick an achievement for BC, it marked the first time since the 1980s that BU had not won a Beanpot in a three-year period.
York passed Parker (871 wins, No. 3 all-time), his friend and rival, on the all-time wins list several seasons ago.
Among other notable accomplishments, York is one of three coaches in history to win national titles win two schools and he was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the United States during 2010 from USA Hockey.
To reach 900 wins in 40 years, York averaged over 22 wins per season. Taking a few seconds to reflect on the achievement after the game, the coach acknowledged that his victories in rivalry games are the most notable, specifically in the Beanpot against BU, against St. Lawrence at Clarkson, and against Michigan State at Bowling Green.
Next season, York could pass Mason and become the winningest coach in NCAA history, needing only 25 after Friday's win. Given the Eagles' recent run of success, such an achievement is certainly within possibility.
And the coach isn't showing signs of slowing down or trending toward retirement.
"We get the chance to interact with impressive young men, so that helps to keep you enthusiastic," York said, when asked how he's remained at the top of the sport for so long. "I really enjoy what I'm doing."