MINNEAPOLIS — Boston College’s Jerry York has accomplished just about everything in his 41 years as a hockey coach. On Saturday, he added one more item to his already impressive resume: winningest hockey coach in NCAA history.
With BC’s 5-2 win over Alabama-Huntsville on Saturday in the Mariucci Classic hosted by the University of Minnesota, York passed Ron Mason on the all-time wins list. The win Saturday was York’s 925th of his illustrious career, one that has seen him win five national titles, including four at Boston College.
York said the individual honor is nice, but he’s more focused on the success the top-ranked Eagles are having as a team.
“Coaches coach. We play to win trophies,” York said. “Despite all the hoopla and ‘What are you thinking, Jerry?’ it never really entered my mind. We want to coach and we want to win hockey games. . . . We never talked to the players about it. I think our mindset was to start the second half of the year and chase trophies.”
The 67-year-old York played for Boston College in the 1960s, amassing 134 points in 81 career college games. His first coaching job was at Clarkson in 1972-73. After seven seasons at Clarkson, York took over at Bowling Green during the 1979-80 season. He led Bowling Green to a national championship in 1983-84 and eventually took the job at his alma mater in 1994.
York’s Eagles won the national championship last season, beating Minnesota in the Frozen Four before topping Ferris State 4-1 in the title game. It was the second national title in a span of three seasons and the third since 2008 for York, who has a Division I record 37 career wins in the NCAA Tournament.
Still, York said the all-time wins record hasn’t sunk in quite yet.
“Maybe when I sit down on some porch in 10 years, I’ll think about it,” York said. “I’ve always been about team. As a player I was like that and as a coach I’ve been like that. I haven’t really sought individual goals.”
Many of York’s players have gone on to have success in the NHL. Last year, 22 former Eagles played in the NHL. After Saturday’s milestone victory, York credited his players, past and present, for his success.
So at 67 years old and 41 seasons under his belt, how long can York envision himself manning the Boston College bench?
“I feel good. I feel healthy. I enjoy what I do,” York said. “As long as BC feels I’m doing a good job, I’ll keep on moving.”
York and Boston College will play Minnesota on Sunday night in a rematch of last year’s NCAA semifinal. At least for one night, though, he could enjoy the moment and celebrate with his team.
“We’re going to Campus Pizza,” York said.
Unfortunately for York, there won’t be champagne there for the celebration.