December 29, 2012
Mission Accomplished: Jerry York is NCAA Win Leader
by Joe Bertagna, Hockey East Commissioner and Executive Director of the American Hockey Coaches Association

With a 5-2 win over Alabama-Huntsville on December 29, Boston College head coach Jerry York won his 925th game, surpassing the NCAA career record set by Ron Mason, who retired in 2002. York, who has shied away from talking about the accomplishment, had tied the record at home on Saturday, December 1, with a 5-2 win over arch rival Boston University.

Three different York responses, when asked about the record in the weeks leading up to his historic triumph, were:

  • "Everything is pointed towards the team."

  • "We always tell our players that if you put yourself above the team, then good things are not going to happen."

  • "I think more about the players when I am reflecting. It's all about good players who want to get better and play as a team."
While York was reluctant to speak of the record, his counterpart, Jack Parker, was gracious following that December 1 loss at Chestnut Hill.

"He deserves all the accolades," said Parker, who sits third on the all-time win list, with 886. "It's hard for people to believe this, because he's been around so long and been so successful, and he's won so many games, but I still don't think he gets the credit he deserves.

"He's a very good coach who's run great programs at three different places, and has done an unbelievable job making this program the best it's ever been," said Parker, adding that he was glad he didn't have to congratulate York on setting the record against BU. "This is a place where they've had two other coaches who've won 500 games. It's had a lot of good hockey for a long, long time. And he's the best they've ever had."

York and Ron Mason have shared a number of similarities in their careers. Both amassed their win totals at three different institutions, both coached at Bowling Green, and both, for all their successes, have only been recognized as the national Coach of the Year once each, Mason in 1992 and York in 1977 (while at Clarkson). Both enjoyed outstanding playing careers in the east, York at BC and Mason at St. Lawrence.

There have been differences as well. Mason's 924 wins came in just 1,387 career games. Upon reaching #925, York has coached in 1,578 games. York has won five NCAA championships, four at Boston College and one at Bowling Green. Mason won a single NCAA crown, that coming at Michigan State. Mason, a St. Lawrence grad, never coached at his alma mater. York, a BC alumnus, has won just shy of half of his games while at BC.

On a personal note, I reminded Coach York that he would have had to extend this pursuit at least one more game if I had not been in goal when he won his 17th game, an ECAC quarterfinal win for Clarkson over Harvard in 1973, Jerry's first season as a coach and my last game as a player. He graciously responded, "Must have been a 1-0 game." I wish it had been. – Joe Bertagna

photoJerry York, 925 Wins

Hometown: Watertown, MA
Alma Mater: Boston College - Class of 1967
Playing Career: First Team All American in 1967; team was 60-24 in his three seasons
Coaching Career: 41 seasons at three institutions:
     Clarkson University, 1972-1979, 125-87-3 (.588)
     Bowling Green State University, 1979-1994, 342-248-31 (.576)
     Boston College, 1994-Present*, 458-224-61 (.658)
     Career Record*: 925-559-95 (.616)
     *Through 12/29/12
NCAA Championships: 5 (1984 at BGSU; 2001, 2008, 2010, 2012 at BC)
AHCA Coach of the Year: once (1977 at Clarkson)

photoRon Mason, 924 Wins

Hometown: Blyth, Ontario
Alma Mater: St. Lawrence - Class of 1964
Playing Career: Twice led Saints in scoring; team was 26-1-0 in 1962-63 season
Coaching Career: 35 seasons at three institutions:
     Lake Superior State University, 1966-1973, 129-47-8 (.723)
     Bowling Green State University, 1973-1979, 160-63-6 (.712)
     Michigan State University, 1979-2002, 635-270-69 (.687)
     Career Record: 924-380-83 (.696)
NCAA Championships: 1 (1986 at MSU)
AHCA Coach of the Year: once (1992 at MSU)
Jerry York following win No. 924 on December 1, 2012
York was presented the game puck after his 924th career win