David Quinn was hired as coach of the New York Rangers on Wednesday.
The 51-year old was coach at Boston University for the past five seasons. A former assistant for the Colorado Avalanche, he was a first-round draft pick but never played in the NHL.
"I'm incredibly excited for this new challenge but leaving a job like this is very hard to do," Quinn told Boston University's website. "BU is a special place that has given me so much, not only as a player and a student, but also as a coach. The lifelong friendships I've developed here over the years absolutely mean the world to me."
Quinn replaces Alain Vigneault, who was fired April 7 after the Rangers failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.
"In a coaching career that has spanned over two decades at the collegiate, pro and international level, David has helped his teams achieve success while simultaneously teaching the game and helping his players develop on and off the ice," Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton said. "He is the ideal choice to bring our loyal and passionate fans the winning hockey they deserve."
Video: The New York Rangers officially hire David Quinn
Quinn is the second coach to leave the NCAA for the NHL this offseason. The Dallas Stars hired Jim Montgomery from the University of Denver on May 4.
"David brings a diverse and successful coaching resume that includes extensive work in developing young talent," Rangers owner James Dolan said. "I am confident he is an excellent fit for our team and know he will work tirelessly with Glen [Sather, Rangers president], Jeff and our entire organization to execute our plan to build the next Rangers Stanley Cup contending team."
Quinn coached Boston University, his alma mater, to the NCAA championship game in 2015, where it lost to 4-3 to Providence, and to an NCAA regional final three of the past four seasons.
Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel, Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy and Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller are among the players he coached.
"Two things I try to be: one is fair, two is demanding, and that's a tough balancing act," Quinn told BU Today of coaching there. "When a coach is demanding or gets after you, you think, 'Oh, he doesn't like me,' and that's the furthest thing from the truth. 'No, I do like you, I want you to succeed, and this is what you need to do to have success.'"
Quinn, a defenseman, was selected with the No. 13 pick in the 1984 NHL Draft by the Minnesota North Stars but his playing career was disrupted after he was diagnosed with a blood disorder. He signed with the Rangers in 1992 and played for Binghamton in the American Hockey League before retiring in 1993 after playing for Cleveland in the International Hockey League.
"I certainly had aspired to play in the National Hockey League and play in the Olympics, much like every player that comes through BU," Quinn said. "When I was trying to find my way to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, I thought it would be pretty cool to be able to do for student athletes what my coaches did for me, and it really led me down that path to get into coaching."
Quinn joined the Avalanche as coach of Lake Erie in the AHL in 2009-10; he was 115-94-7-20 before being named an assistant for Colorado under coach Joe Sacco in 2012-13.
The Cranston, Rhode Island native began his coaching career as an assistant at Northeastern University in 1994 and has twice been an assistant for the United States at the IIHF World Championship (2007, 2012).
He was named Boston University coach March 26, 2013, replacing Jack Parker over candidates Mike Sullivan, now coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and John Hynes, now coach of the New Jersey Devils. Quinn was 105-68-21 in five seasons and on April 20 was named coach of the United States for the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship.
"The importance of hockey, and what hockey has given me in my life has been, you can't measure it, what it's given to me," Quinn said. "Hockey has given me my livelihood, a lot of my friendships, my quality of life, and obviously hockey gave me a profession that I love. I've never been to work a day in my life."
Rangers assistant general manager Chris Drury played for Boston University from 1994-98, and 13 current Rangers played NCAA hockey, including defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk at BU.
New York was 34-39-9 this season and finished 20 points out of a playoff position in the Eastern Conference. It has the No. 9 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, with Boston University forward Brady Tkachuk a top prospect.
The Rangers were the only NHL team without a coach.
Herb Brooks also coached the Rangers after leaving the NCAA (University of Minnesota, 1981). Three other coaches also moved from the NCAA to the NHL: Dave Hakstol (University of North Dakota to the Philadelphia Flyers, 2015), Bob Johnson (University of Wisconsin to the Calgary Flames, 1982) and Ned Harkness (Cornell University to the Detroit Red Wings, 1970).