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Jack Parker - 2014 Legend of College Hockey

by Brian Kelley, Assistant Athletic Director, Boston University

One of the top coaches in the history of collegiate sports, Jack Parker – a name that became synonymous with Boston University – wrapped up his 40-year tenure as head coach of the Terriers’ men’s hockey team in March of 2013.

Parker spent nearly 50 seasons at BU as either a player or a coach, leaving behind a lasting legacy of success. No hockey coach has recorded more victories at one school, as Parker’s career win total of 897 ranks third all-time amongst NCAA Division I coaches.

A three-time recipient of the Spencer Penrose Award (NCAA Div. I Hockey Coach of the Year), Parker holds the record for NCAA tournament appearances as a coach with 24. He led the Terriers to national championships in three different decades (1978, 1995, 2009) to go along with 11 conference titles and 21 Beanpot crowns.

Parker became associated with the BU hockey program in 1963, when he arrived on campus as a freshman. The Somerville native and Catholic Memorial High School standout was a sparkplug at center for the 1966-68 Terrier varsity teams that combined for a 72-22-4 record and a pair of NCAA tournament appearances.

A team captain as a senior, Parker wore the No. 6 jersey for a reason outside of hockey, as he idolized Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell while growing up. Earlier this year, Parker’s No. 6 became just the second number – joining Travis Roy’s No. 24 – to be retired by BU.

Upon graduation, he began his coaching career Medford High School before coming back to the BU program as an assistant coach. Parker helped guide the team to consecutive NCAA championships in 1971 and 1972 – the first national titles by any sport at BU.

Promoted to the head-coaching role in December of 1973, Parker led BU to a 19-6 finish that season and a win over Harvard in the third-place game of the NCAA tournament. He never looked back, turning BU into college hockey powerhouse that provided hundreds of student-athletes the opportunity to reach their fullest potential both on and off the ice.

Nearly 70 of Parker’s former players at BU have gone on to play in the National Hockey League. That group includes 10 who played more than 800 games in their NHL careers and six who have raised the Stanley Cup. The list of the NHL standouts who were developed by Parker includes names such as Tony Amonte, Chris Drury, Shawn McEachern, Keith Tkachuk and Scott Young.

Earlier this year, Team USA's Kevin Shattenkirk became the 24th BU player who was coached by Parker to play for his country at the Olympic Games. One of Parker's proudest moments came in 1980 when former Terriers Mike Eruzione, Dave Silk, Jack O'Callahan and Jim Craig were key members of the `Miracle on Ice' team that won the gold medal in Lake Placid.

Parker was instrumental in helping BU raise the funds to build Agganis Arena, which became the Terriers’ new state-of-the-art home in 2005 and remains one of the premier facilities in college sports nearly 10 years later. The rink was dedicated to Parker and there are plans to proudly display a statue of him in front of the arena in the near future.

Parker was inducted into the BU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994 and earned a spot in the Beanpot Hall of Fame a year later. In 2010, the NHL presented Parker with its Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the United States.