By Tim Healey/DFP Staff
When John Silber took over as president of Boston University in February 1971, the men’s hockey team was readying to be on top of the college hockey world. Under the tutelage of then-head coach Jack Kelley and then-assistant coach Jack Parker, the Terriers won the national championship during Silber’s first year on campus and repeated the feat in 1972 – an accomplishment that didn’t go unnoticed by Silber.
“He came to our [end-of-the-season] banquet in ’72, and he said at the banquet that his job was to make Boston University worthy of its hockey team,” Parker said. “And his job really was to save Boston University. Boston University was on the ropes financially, was on the ropes reputation-wise. It had a lot of positive things going for it, but from a financial point of view, it was in rough shape.
“[Silber said,] ‘first thing we have to do is save this place. The next thing we have to do is make it great,’” Parker said.
With Silber’s passing Thursday at his home in Brookline at the age of 86, the widespread sentiment was that he accomplished all of those things – and much, much more.
Many have attested to how important, albeit often controversial, the Silber era was for BU. But few have been around long enough to witness first-hand the school’s transformation the way Parker has.