After 40 years as Boston University’s men’s ice hockey coach, Jack Parker is ready to retire. Parker has recorded 894 wins, the most wins by any coach at one school. Parker also boasts three national championships and 21 Beanpot Tournament titles, and is a member of the Boston University and Beanpot halls of fame. Take a look at some defining moments in his career.
Before the bench
Parker was born in Somerville, Mass., and attended Catholic Memorial High in West Roxbury. After graduating in 1964, Parker attended Boston University and played center for the ice hockey team. Parker and the team won three Beanpot championships and played in the NCAA tournament twice, placing fourth and then second.
After graduating from BU, Parker spent one year coaching Medford High School before returning to BU as a coaching assistant to his former college coach, Jack Kelley.
The Terriers won consecutive NCAA championships in 1971 and 1972 and after Kelley retired, Parker was promoted to B-team coach. When his predecessor, Leon Abbott, was fired, Parker stepped up as head coach.
Along with seven Hockey East championships, Parker also led the Terriers to 21 Beanpot championships from 1975 to the last in 2009. With three Beanpot championship titles of his own under his belt, Parker said, “I was really happy with the Beanpot when I was a player, and I want my players to have the same feeling.”
Boston University won three national championships during Parker’s 40-year career. The first, in 1978, came when BU defeated Boston College 5-3, to cap a 30-2-0 season. The next came against Maine in 1995, and BU won the title game, 6-2, and finished with 31-6-3 record. In 2009, BU beat Miami (Ohio) 4-3 in overtime and went 35-6-4. His team has made a record 25 appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
Pipeline to the NHL
A number of players Parker coached at BU went on to have stellar careers in the NHL. They include former right wing Tony Amonte, goaltender Rick DiPietro, forward Keith Tkachuk, Hobey Baker award winner Chris Drury, and current players Jay Pandolfo, a left wing for the Boston Bruins, and Ryan Whitney, a defenseman for the Edmonton Oilers.
Other notable players include Dick Lamby who played on the 1976 USA Olympics team, Scott Young and Chris Drury each competed in three Olympiads, center John Cullen and defenseman Peter Ahola were named to the Hockey East All-Decade team in the 1980s, Drury in the 1990s, and defenseman Matt Gilroy in the 2000s.
Miracle on Ice
Four players coached by Parker – Mike Eruzione (pictured), Dave Silk, Jack O’Callahan, and Jim Craig – played key roles on the 1980 USA Olympics Team that won the gold medal. The team that posted the famous “Miracle on Ice’’ victory over the Soviet Union and subsequent gold-medal game victory over Finland was captained by Eruzione. Twenty-three Parker players have competed in the Olympics.
In the fall of 2012, Parker found himself in the middle of an ice hockey scandal that would impact his career. Information about a party that was thrown in the empty Agganis Arena after the team’s 2009 NCAA tournament win surfaced, along with allegations of sexual negligence by some of the team members. Parker, who allegedly found out about the party days after it occured, reprimanded his team but did not take it to administration or campus police. The college kept Parker as head coach but stripped him of his other title, Executive Athletic Director.