BOSTON — Jack Parker had been at Boston University about three years when, unable to convince his bosses to give him a raise, he decided to drive down to Yale to interview for the opening there.
Before he could get to New Haven, he pulled off the road and canceled.
“I knew very early on that this was the job for me,” Parker said yesterday, announcing his retirement after four decades on the Terriers bench in which he won almost 900 games and three NCAA titles.
“Forty-eight of the last 49 years I’ve been reporting for duty for BU hockey, and that’s enough,” said Parker, who also played for the Terriers and was an assistant coach for four years. “It’s been a great run, and I had a great time doing it.”
In a wood-paneled club room in a sparkling new arena he helped build, Parker finally said a sort of good bye to a hockey program that has been synonymous with his name. The third winningest coach in NCAA history — his 894 wins, so far, are the most at a single school — Parker will step down after the postseason and move into a fundraising job.
“I always thought of BU as a family,” Parker said to a crowd that included his actual family along with dozens of current and former players, including NHL and Olympic stars. “I’ve got two daughters and 226 sons.”
Michigan has a great hockey program, with nine NCAA titles, but no one in Ann Arbor doubts that the football team runs the show there. Down the Green Line in Chestnut Hill, Boston College is the reigning national champion in hockey but there, too, it skates in the shadow of the revenue sports.
BU has no football team and a mid-major basketball program that hasn’t won an NCAA tournament game since 1959. It is here that Parker set up shop, establishing at this end of Commonwealth Avenue a powerhouse that has sent 66 players to the NHL in his tenure.