College hockey coaching legend Jack Parker announced on Monday that his reign as head coach of Boston University's men's hockey team will come to an end at the conclusion of the 2012-13 campaign and 40 seasons at the helm.
The announcement, made in the Francis D. Burke Club Room at Agganis Arena, came on Parker's 68th birthday. Joining Parker at the press conference were athletic director Mike Lynch and school president Robert Brown.
Lynch said a search for Parker's successor will begin immediately.
"This is a marquee job and it hasn't been open in a very long time," Lynch said. "It will be handled in the highest level."
What type of person would Parker choose as his replacement?
"I'd like to see a guy who is sincere and cares about the players," he said.
After the season, Parker will remain with the school through 2017-18 as a special advisor to the president to assist fundraising efforts.
"I've been coaching 40 years and have been a coach in some capacity for 44 and also played at here, so that's a lot of years reporting for duty for BU hockey," Parker said.
Parker generated plenty of laughs when he admitted, "In helping with the fundraising, I'll follow around [Boston University alumnus] Mike Eruzione."
Parker has won three National Championships, 24 NCAA Hockey berths, seven Hockey East titles and 21 Beanpot championships over his tenure. He's won 894 games, the most by any coach at one school and the third-most all-time behind only Jerry York of Boston College and Ron Mason at Michigan State.
The Terriers completed the 2012-13 regular season with an 18-15-2 record. As the No. 3 seed, BU will play Merrimack in the quarterfinals of the upcoming Hockey East tournament.
"I didn't want to announce this decision earlier in the season because I didn't want a farewell tour of all the rinks … that's not me," Parker said. "And I didn't want to wait until the end of the year either, since I wanted our players to know. We'll go through this together as a family. This is our last experience together.
"The best part of this job is the relationships with the players. The players kept me young and that's something I'll have with me for the rest of my life."
Parker admitted that former player Travis Roy was the most influential person in his life during his time as coach.
Roy was left a quadriplegic after cracking his fourth and fifth vertebra on Oct. 20, 1995 -- just eleven seconds into his first-ever shift for Parker at Boston University. His number 24 is the only retired jersey hanging from the rafters inside Agganis Arena.
"I'm the closest with Travis and his family than any other player," Parker said. "He's been a fabulous example of overcoming adversity in life. The hardest thing I had to deal with was Travis' injury; but the best experience was seeing how the entire hockey community responded to that injury and to Travis."