, Newburyport, MA


March 12, 2013

BU coach Parker retires; 40 years, 3 NCAA titles


“It’s a privilege to play at a place like this,” said former Terrier Mike Grier, who played 14 seasons in the NHL. “I think Coach let everyone know that. That’s why he made sure everyone conducted themselves the right way.”

Despite a graduation rate and winning percentage any major football or basketball program would envy, BU hockey was tainted last season when two players were accused of sexual assault just two months apart. The ensuing university investigation pointed to a “culture of sexual entitlement” on the team; the players, both NHL draft picks, were suspended.

Parker said on Monday that he might have retired last season if not for desire to see the program through the scandal. “We had a lot of adversity to face, and I’m glad I had that experience as well,” he said, adding that he didn’t feel like it tarnished his legacy.

“The people I’m most concerned about know what BU hockey’s all about,” he said.

To Parker, it is about Travis Roy, who in 1995 was paralyzed 11 seconds into his first shift but remains friends with the coach and an active supporter of the program. Parker said the injury was the worst part of his career — but the way the BU community responded was the highlight.

“That was a huge part of my life. I’m really close to him — he’s like family, and he always be,” said Parker, who spoke with Roy by phone on Monday morning; the former player was in Florida on vacation and couldn’t attend. “I’m closer to Travis than any of my players, and he played the least amount of moments for me.”

Parker said he decided to announce his retirement on Monday, at the end of the regular season, to give his current players some notice without turning the season into a farewell tour. “That’s not me,” he said.

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