The Boston College Eagles earned a 5-2 win over Alabama-Huntsville at the Mariucci Classic in Minneapolis on Saturday night. The victory moved the top-ranked Eagles’ record to 12-2-1 on the season, but it also did something historically significant.
The win was the 925th in the illustrious coaching career of Eagles coach Jerry York. That’s one more win than the great Ron Mason earned during the span of his own brilliant career behind NCAA benches.
The 67-year-old York has coached three teams – Clarkson, Bowling Green and Boston College – over a period of 41 years. York, a Boston College alum himself, York has won 458 games in 19 seasons with the Eagles.
Caps general manager George McPhee played for York at Bowling Green. McPhee won the Hobey Baker Award under York in 1982.
“I think Jerry’s helped a lot of young men early in their lives and it’s a good lesson early in life, good experience, to work with him,” said McPhee. “If you’re on the right path, he keeps you on the right path. If you’re going off the path, he gets you back on it. He really demonstrates that nice guys don’t have to finish last; they can finish first. You can have success and do it right, and he did it right.
“There’s never any cheating, no shortcuts. There was structure. There were rules. He had his priorities right: his family first, education two, and hockey three. He’s had so much success in college hockey, obviously because he wins more than anybody else, but also because he does it right, and those are great lessons for young men. He’s been absolutely fabulous for college hockey.”
Asked for a favorite York memory, McPhee responded with a couple.
“There are a couple that come to mind,” said McPhee. “The first was a timeout he called. I think it was the best timeout, ever. We were playing on the road in a tournament. We had started the game real well, and we were leading. Then we started taking penalties, we got sloppy, the other team was scoring, and the place as going crazy, and I remember he called a time out and called us over to the bench and didn’t say a word.
“It was perfect. We sat there, we calmed down, we settled down, collected ourselves, and then they dropped the puck, and we played a whole lot better and won the game. I thought it was the perfect way to call a time out. I had never experienced one like that before.
“The other memory I guess I’d have would be a great lesson. When Coach York took over it was my sophomore year and took us a couple years, and part of my last year, to really get the team turned around. We went from being not a very good team to winning the league championship my senior year. But Coach York never changed. He was the same guy when we weren’t winning, as he was when we were winning and very dignified, good person. Very supportive, but he didn’t change and I think that’s what I admired about him first.
“Congratulations Coach York on the all time wins record, couldn’t happen to a better guy.”
Mason’s 924-win career was achieved in a span of just 36 seasons while coaching for Lake Superior State, Bowling Green and Michigan State.