The 46-year-old Boston University alumnus, who served as Jack Parker’s associate head coach for five years before leaving after the 2009 national championship, was officially named the next BU men’s hockey coach Tuesday morning.
BU President Robert Brown, with Quinn and athletic director Mike Lynch his side, made the announcement in a news conference at the School of Management.
“Finding the next men’s hockey coach for Boston University was been a wonderful challenge,” Brown said. “David has the ability, the experience and the values that we hold at Boston University to lead this program going forward.”
Lynch reached out to Quinn March 12 — the day after Parker announced his retirement — and the process didn’t take long from there. Quinn flew into Boston early Monday morning to finalize the agreement.
“It’s great to be home,” Quinn said. “I’m a BU guy through and through.
“I can’t explain to you how excited I am, how happy I am, how proud I am to continue the legacy that Jack has built over the last 40 years.”
The hiring ends Quinn’s four-season hiatus from Commonwealth Avenue and starts his third stint as a Terrier, all of them in different roles.
Photos by Michelle Jay/DFP Staff
A former first-round NHL draft pick, Quinn played for three years under Parker, then co-captained the 1987-88 team he did not play for due to a rare blood disorder. He played professionally for two seasons before beginning his coaching career.
Quinn made stops at Northeastern University, the University of Nebraska-Omaha and with the U.S. National Development Program before returning to BU for the 2004-05 campaign.
After the Terriers won it all in 2009, Quinn coached the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League to a 115-94-27record in three seasons before taking an assistant coaching job with the Colorado Avalanche for this season. He will finish the season with the Avalanche before focusing full-time on BU.
Quinn is touted as a very good recruiter, and is widely credited with bringing in many of the players on BU’s most recent national championship team. He has long been seen as a potential replacement for Parker.
“When he hired me in ’04 — people talk,” Quinn said. “Jack’s age and my age, people made assumptions, and I certainly never made an assumption.
“I always thought in the back of my mind that college hockey is something I would be interested in going back to if the right job opened up,” Quinn continued. “I wasn’t going to come back to college hockey just for any job, and we certainly all know this just isn’t any job, and it certainly isn’t just any job to me.”
Parker, who was consulted throughout the hiring process, gave Quinn his full blessing.
“He brings a different perspective now since he has been away for a while,” Parker said. “He was one of three or four obvious guys. And then it came down to, ‘OK, all of these guys are great. Who is the best?’ David Quinn won that battle.”
The hiring came quicker than many expected, the announcement coming just three days after the conclusion of Parker’s 40th and final season, and the work will begin immediately.
Quinn planned on spending part of the day Tuesday on calling incoming recruits, as well as talking with juniors Matt Nieto and Garrett Noonan, both of whom could forgo their seniors seasons and sign with their NHL teams — the San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators, respectively.
Whatever Nieto and Noonan decide, Quinn likes the squad BU has now. Although the status of associate head coach Mike Bavis and assistant coach Buddy Powers is up in the air, Quinn has worked with them before and said he is looking forward to doing so again.
“This isn’t broke[n],” Quinn said. “Usually when you become a head coach at a Division 1 program in any sport, usually it’s because the team is losing and there’s been a coaching change … We certainly have a lot of good players here.”
That Quinn got the job when he did was eerie, in a way. About a week before Parker announced his retirement, Quinn ran into three members of the 2009 team — Colin Wilson (Nashville Predators), Kevin Shattenkirk (St. Louis Blues) and Nick Bonino (Anaheim Ducks).
He said seeing those guys “magnified” the feelings he was having of wanting to get back into the college game.
“It really reminded me of what college hockey was all about,” Quinn said. “I’ve moved around an awful lot. I’m here for the long haul. No intention of going anywhere. I will not seek any other jobs. I’ve been a lot of different places, and it’s just good to be home.”
He’s not home quite yet, though. After meeting the team Tuesday afternoon, Quinn was catching a 6 p.m flight to Calgary, Alberta, to join the Avalanche.