Boston University announced Tuesday night that Albie O’Connell will be the team’s next head coach. O’Connell was a finalist alongside Union head coach Rick Bennett. He replaces David Quinn, who stepped down recently after five seasons to become head coach of the NHL’s New York Rangers.
O’Connell, who played at BU from 1995-99, has been an assistant coach with the Terriers for the past four seasons. Though he has never been a head coach on any level, O’Connell has been an assistant at a variety of New England schools consistently since he started coaching in 2003.
O’Connell will be officially introduced at a press conference Wednesday at 1 p.m. at Agganis Arena.
“We aspire to have the best program in college hockey,” BU athletic director Dean Marrochello said, “which means that we want nothing less than the best for our university, our alumni, our fans, and most importantly our student-athletes. In promoting Albie, we believe we have secured the best possible coach to lead our program at its elite level for many years to come.
“Albie is well-regarded, well-respected and well-prepared for this opportunity. As a former Terrier captain and Boston University graduate, he understands the magnitude of BU Hockey, and has a clear and aspirational vision for how we will continue to provide a first-class experience to our student-athletes.”
Another alumnus, Shawn McEachern, along with Union coach Rick Bennett were believed to be the final candidates under consideration. Other prominent alumni with significant coaching experiences were not part of the final mix for a variety of reasons — including current Boston Bruins assistants Joe Sacco and Jay Pandolfo, Wilkes-Barre (AHL) head coach Clark Donatelli and New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes, who was a finalist when Quinn was hired.
During the past four years with O’Connell on staff, the Terriers have qualified for the NCAAs each season, the program’s longest streak since going to nine straight in the 1990s. After finishing as the national runner up in 2015 along with Beanpot and Hockey East titles, BU reached the NCAA quarterfinals in both 2017 and 2018 and will enter this upcoming season as the defending Hockey East champion.
O’Connell becomes the only current Division I men’s head coach who has captured a conference regular-season title, won a conference tournament championship and reached the NCAA title game as both a player and a coach. In his combined eight years on Commonwealth Ave., O’Connell has been a part of seven NCAA Tournament appearances, seven Hockey East titles (four regular season, three tournament), five Beanpot titles, three Frozen Fours and two national championship games.
“Simply put, this is the opportunity of a lifetime,” O’Connell said. “I’d like to thank Drew Marrochello, President Robert A. Brown and senior vice president Todd Klipp for entrusting me with a program that means the world to me.
“BU has given me so much and I want each player that puts on our jersey to feel the same way I do. Returning here four years ago was an amazing feeling, and I look forward to continuing the momentum that this program has enjoyed recently and carrying on the incredible BU hockey legacy.”