BU Today

Sports

The 700-Plus Club

Terrier hockey’s Jack Parker joins the elite with 752 victories

Men’s hockey coach Jack Parker is in his 33rd season at BU. Photo by Rob Klein

Despite becoming only the third coach in college hockey to earn 750 victories, BU’s Jack Parker is reluctant to accept praise. “It means I’m getting older by the moment,” he jokes. “In order to do that, you have to be around for a long time.”

BU’s 5-1 victory over Providence on January 5 was a milestone not only for Parker (SMG’68, Hon.’97), but also for the team: it was the 1,300th victory in the history of the program. “The 1,300 wins are pretty special for BU,” he says. “Over the years, this program has had a lot of good coaches.”

Indeed, Jack Kelley, the man who coached Parker when he played for the Terriers, posted a 206-80-8 record at BU, from 1962 to 1972. When Kelley congratulated Parker on being named the program’s 10th hockey coach, in 1973, Parker replied, “I know one thing — I won’t be on this job 10 years like you were.” Parker was somewhat off the mark with that prediction — he is now in his 33rd season and has coached the Terriers to 2 national championships (1978 and 1995), 19 of BU’s 27 Beanpot trophies, and a record 21 NCAA tournament appearances, the most of any active coach. He joins former Michigan State coach Ron Mason (926) and Boston College coach Jerry York (758) in reaching the 750-win plateau.

As they prepare for the home stretch of the season, Parker and his Terriers (10-4-6) have since added two more victories: a road sweep of second-ranked Maine (6-5 and 3-0 on January 12 and 13), which has vaulted BU’s national ranking from number 12 to number 8. The Terriers had been ranked as high as third in the nation, back in early October, but scoring difficulties knocked them down to 13th by January 2. Despite a 0-0 tie with Northeastern on January 6, there are signs that BU is once again finding the back of the net more frequently. The offensive drought was attributable in part to injuries — and to the fact that BU had graduated last year’s entire first line. But Pete MacArthur (SED’08) rose to the top of the BU scoring list by notching a hat trick in the first win over Maine, and Brandon Yip (CAS’09), who led Terrier freshmen in scoring last year, returned to the lineup after missing 16 games with a shoulder injury and assisted on a pair of MacArthur’s goals.

BU now boasts the nation’s number-one defense, as well as goaltender extraordinaire John Curry (CAS’07), whose 1.89 goals-against-average is second in Hockey East. Along with regaining its scoring touch, BU’s defense has resulted in an 8-2-2 record in the last 12 games and 4-0-1 in the last 5 conference games.

In addition, the Terriers have one of the top coaches in the country — a man who declined offers to coach the Boston Bruins in 1991 and 1997. During the March 2005 press conference announcing the naming of the Agganis Arena ice rink after him, Parker was asked what it was like to be a living legend. He made it clear that he was uncomfortable with the term. “Don’t apply it to me,” he said.

Make no mistake, however: Parker has brought “a great deal of honor and respect to Boston University,” says Mike Lynch, BU’s athletic director. “He’s had his chances to leave here, but he’s stayed because he feels comfortable, and he’s dedicated to making this program become the best it can possibly be.”

Brian Fitzgerald can be reached at bfitzger@bu.edu.