Jerry York reached a major milestone in his coaching career Friday night, but the legendary Boston College hockey coach isn't stopping to celebrate.
CHESTNUT HILL - Jerry York doesn't dwell on the numbers 924 and 925.
To him, those six digits represent the complete opposite mentality that he has worked so tirelessly to instill in the 24 men he coaches: team above individual.
And believe you me, York has done his job. In fact, it was the players -- not York -- who first addressed York's milestone accomplishment, 924 career victories (tied for the most all-time in college hockey history with fellow ice hockey legend Ron Mason), after a 5-3 victory for the Boston College men's hockey team over rival Boston University on Saturday inside Conte Forum.
"Obviously you can tell by his reaction that the record means nothing to him," Eagles senior forward Pat Mullane said of York, who moments prior had politely laughed about a question regarding his historic achievement.
What means nothing to one man meant a lot others. York may not have put much thought into tying (and eventually breaking) the all time record for wins, but his players certainly did. Boston College had an opportunity to allow York to tie and break the record this weekend against BU, but only managed a split.
"As a group [on Friday] we were obviously disappointed with the loss but more importantly disappointed that we couldn't do it for him, couldn't break the record for him or give him a chance to break the record at home in front of our crowd against BU," Mullane said. "But at least for me, he's given me a great opportunity to play here and represent Boston College and wear maroon and gold. I think a lot of the guys feel the exact same way. I think there was more of an incentive to play a little bit harder and make sure we get that win tonight.
"On the weekend, I wish we could have done it at home and broken the record," added Mullane. "But we got the tie so I'm definitely happy for him."
York's impact on the Boston College hockey program has been monumental, and I mean that literally -- when he decides to retire, they absolutely must start production on a statue or rename it Jerry York College (whichever is more practical). York, a Boston College alum who played hockey back in the late 1960's, was hired as the Eagles' head coach in 1994. He transformed a program that had just one national title -- way back in 1949 -- and turned it into a national powerhouse. Today, BC has won five national titles (four under York) and is sitting pretty in the hunt for a sixth this year. After their win over the Terriers, the Eagles are 11-2 overall and 8-1 in Hockey East play. Not too shabby.
All of the past accomplishments are tremendous, but as far as York is concerned, they never happened. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that York didn't have a "this is a great honor" moment in his postgame press conference.
Interestingly enough, though, York's rival -- BU head coach Jack Parker -- did.
"He deserves all the accolades," Parker said about York. "It's hard for people to believe this, because he's been around so long and he's 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 three different places and has done an unbelievable job making this program the best it's ever been. And this is a place where they've had two other coaches that have won 500 games, so this place has had a lot of good hockey for a long time, and he's the best they've ever had. I don't think Jerry's ever gotten the credit he deserves."
When asked to reflect on his 924 wins, York has quick to point out that he's had "a lot of losses" too. Upon further thought, however, York gave credit where credit was due: the countless young men he's molded over the years.
"When I get a chance to reflect back ... I reflect more on [players]," said York. " It's all about good players that want to get better and play as part of a team."
Next up for York is win number 925 -- unknown territory for anyone in college hockey -- but it will be just like any other game for him. No prolonged thought of 925, just game number 14 this season against Providence next Friday.
"I try to block everything out because it's so important for us to stay in the moment," he said."
Who knows, if York keeps up that mentality, he might win 924 more games.
Gethin Coolbaugh is the Editor of SB Nation Boston. Twitter: @GethinCoolbaugh.