Hall of Famer, NCAA all-time wins leader Jerry York retires

Jerry York, who won more games than any coach in the history of NCAA men’s hockey and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2019, announced his retirement after 50 years as a college head coach with the last 28 coming at Boston College.

York, 76, cited a “desire to travel more with his wife Bobbie, play golf for the first time during a weekend in the fall and spend more time with his family,” according to BC’s release. He ends his 50-year career as a head coach with 1,123 wins. The next closest coach on that list is York’s longtime rival – and friend — at Boston University, Jack Parker, who retired in 2013 after collecting 897 wins. York’s teams also won a record 41 times in the NCAA Tournament, which included five NCAA championships.

A graduate of BC in 1967, he returned to his alma mater in 1994 after leading Bowling Green State’s hockey team for 15 seasons. He began his career as a head coach at 27 years old, when he took over the bench for Clarkson University in 1972.

A winner of five total national championships including one at Bowling Green and four at Boston College, he is one of just three coaches in college hockey history to win a title at two different schools.  

“It’s difficult to put into words all that Jerry York means to Boston College,” said BC Athletics director Patrick Kraft in a statement. “His record as the winningest coach in NCAA men’s ice hockey and BC hockey speak for themselves, but it is his humility, decency, unwavering commitment to his players, fellow coaches, and all of us in the BC family, and the quiet ways in which he contributes to this community that make him so beloved. He is a legend and one of the classiest individuals to ever coach in college sports. It has been a joy to work with him, and on behalf of all of us in the BC community I wish him, Bobbie, and his entire family the very best in his retirement years.”

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While at BC, York helped turn the program into an even bigger NHL factory. Among the current NHLers who played for York are Johnny Gaudreau, Thatcher Demko, Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes and Alex Tuch, just to name a few. A number of York’s former players also ascended to significant roles on NHL benches and front offices. Los Angeles Kings GM Rob Blake and Vegas Golden Knights team president George McPhee were among York’s players at Bowling Green, while another Bowling Green alumnus – Dan Bylsma – coached the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup in 2009.

One of the kindest people you could ever want to meet, York has been long considered the gold standard in collegiate coaching. Last season, however, was among the toughest for the Eagles, which finished 15-18-5. That was just the fourth losing season of York’s career at Boston College.

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“The highlight of my career was on June 15, 1994, when BC President J. Donald Monan, S.J., and Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk invited me to meet with them at BC,” said York in a statement.  “We toured the campus, and later that evening Fr. Monan invited me to his office in Botolph House to talk. ‘I want you to be the next hockey coach at BC,’ he said. ‘I know you will make us proud.’ It has been an honor to serve my alma mater, to work for Fr. Monan and Fr. Leahy, and to coach with so many terrific assistants and fellow BC coaches. I leave knowing that it is the right time to go. The book hasn’t closed, but it is time for me to start a new chapter.”  

York’s final record as an NCAA coach will stand at 1,123-682-128.

Though following a legend is never easy, the Boston College head coaching job will be one of the most sought after in the country, and there will be no shortage of interested parties. Speculation has already begun about who could replace the Hall of Famer. Among candidates expected to be in the mix for the job: UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh, Dubuque Fighting Saints head coach and former New York Rangers assistant Greg Brown, Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Ty Hennes, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach J.D. Forrest and a number of others.

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