Jack Parker Retires from Boston University
Illustration by Josue Evilla for “Skate Free“
After 40 years, Boston University hockey coach Jack Parker is calling it quits. ESPN broke the news on Sunday, and the university is expected to announce his retirement at a 3 p.m. press conference today, on his 68th birthday. Parker will be remembered for his three national championships, 894 career victories, seven Hockey East titles, and 21 Beanpots. Unfortunately, he’ll also be remembered for the scandals that have beset his program in recent years.
Last year, after two BU hockey players were accused of rape within three months of each other, the school formed a task force to investigate just what had gone wrong with the program. The task force concluded that BU hockey players suffered from “a culture of sexual entitlement,” and that players were accorded star treatment on campus.
But as I discussed in a piece in our December issue that called for Parker to step aside, the task force’s report was hardly satisfying. I wrote at the time:
But for every solid recommendation in the report, there’s another part that feels like it was specifically designed to cover for someone—usually, Parker. For instance, the report says, “The absence of a few routine, transparent, and systematic processes that would establish clear expectations for players’ behavior has created a culture in which important aspects of oversight for our student-athletes’ behavior…has fallen inappropriately to the coaching staff.” The phrasing makes the coaches seem almost like victims, as opposed to the ones who took the control.
It seemed then that it would be impossible for BU to make a full assessment of where it is with its hockey program and start to move on so long as Parker was around. Now that he’s moving on, hopefully that process can truly begin.