One for the record books
Win over No. 4 North Dakota is 700th for York
Published: Monday, November 1, 2004
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
In the midst of the NHL lockout, college hockey has taken center stage. Friday night, top five teams Boston College and North Dakota proved that college hockey can fill in admirably for the NHL as the nation's hockey fix. But, above all the teams, players, and fans, one man stood alone in the spotlight on Friday. That man is head coach Jerry York.
Friday night's game marked York's 700th win, making him only the third coach to reach that plateau. This is just another milestone in his storied coaching career.
After an amazing collegiate career at BC that ended in All-American first team honors, York received his first coaching position at BC as a graduate assistant to legendary coach John "Snooks" Kelley. After two years at BC, York became an assistant at Clarkson under another coaching legend, Len Ceglarski.
"Both John Kelley and Len Ceglarski made quite an impression on me," said York. "I learned a lot from them."
When Ceglarski left Clarkson for BC, York was the obvious choice as his replacement behind the Clarkson bench, becoming the youngest coach in Division I at age 26. In his fifth season at Clarkson, York led the Golden Knights to the ECAC Championship, earning the Spencer Penrose Trophy for the nation's Division I Coach of the Year. Seven years and 125 wins later, York left Clarkson for the Falcons of Indiana's Bowling Green University. During his tenure at Bowling Green, he led the Falcons to four CCHA regular season titles, six NCAA tournament berths, and a national championship in 1984. In his 15 years at Bowling Green, he accumulated 342 wins.
After Ceglarski retired from coaching in 1994, BC didn't hesitate to offer the coaching position to York, a job he was a candidate for when Ceglarski became the BC coach in 1973. The rest is history. In his 10 years in Chestnut Hill, York has directed the Eagles to 233 wins, three Hockey East Championships, five NCAA tournament appearances including three NCAA championship appearances, and a national championship in 2001. York is one of only two coaches to lead two different teams to national titles.
In typical York fashion, he is the first one to say that the success during his coaching career is due more to the players that he has had the pleasure to coach than himself. Among the players he has coached, there have been 26 First Team All-Americans and seven NHL First Round Picks, including Brian Boyle, Patrick Eaves, and Cory Schneider on this year's team. When asked if he remembered his first win, he admitted that the years are starting to blend, and it's his players, not wins, that he remembers.
"I have had a lot of excellent players. I can't remember my first win but I always remember my players," said York. "I remember Dave Taylor at Clarkson, Rob Blake at Bowling Green, and Reasoner at Boston College. These are the guys that just jump out at me. I have had a great group of players throughout my career."
None of this success, however, has gone to York's head. As he simply puts it, he's learned to "check his ego at the door." York remains, as he always has, a down to earth, likeable, and modest man, who would rather talk about other's achievements than his own. It is with this personality and demeanor that he has earned the respect of his players, coaches, sportswriters, and BC fans.
Entering his 33rd season behind the bench, one has to wonder how long York will remain the figurehead of the BC program.
"I love coaching, and I'm going to stay as long as I feel comfortable and BC wants me," said York.
"Jerry York has done a fabulous job with our hockey program, said Athletic Director. "Not only has he led our program to a national championship and multiple Frozen Four appearances, he has represented Boston College with class and dignity while teaching his values of hard work, discipline, dedication, and fairness to the young men he has coached," said Athletics Director Gene DeFilippo.
How does 30 more years sound?