It's been a little over a week now since Jerry York and the Boston College men's hockey team brought home the school's fifth National Championship and third in the last five years. It's been a truly remarkable run for the program. I sincerely hope Frank Spaziani, Steve Donahue and Gene DeFilippo are paying close attention to the college hockey dynasty that York has built on the Heights. Both the football and men's basketball programs can learn a thing or two from Coach York.
This is part one of a five-part series examining five key takeaways that Boston College football and basketball can take from the Eagles National Championship men's hockey program. Leave your own thoughts in the comments section.
Follow A Blueprint
Shortly after BC knocked off Ferris State to win the National Championship, several news outlets wrote stories about the Boston College hockey blueprint. After York had won his first National Championship in 1984 at Bowling Green, legendary coach Bob Johnson gave York some advice that has remained central to his Championship BC teams:
"He said, ‘Jerry, I'm going to tell you one thing: that when you win a national championship, now you have a blueprint as to how to win more of them,' " York recounted after winning his fifth national championship as a coach. "He said, ‘It's incredibly important that once you win one, that you sit down and go back over what type of student-athletes did you have at that particular time, what were your practice plans like, what were your goals like. But look at everything they did during the course of the year and that's your blueprint, and that will enable you to win more national championships.' "
"And at that time, I thought, Oh, geez, I won one. But he's absolutely correct because until you win one, you don't really understand how you have to win them - what type of player you have to recruit, the practice schedule, just the whole emphasis on building through the tournament. And he was absolutely correct there."
I'd say that same blueprint has worked out pretty well for York in Chestnut Hill.
Now while Spaz and Donahue probably aren't going to win a National Championship here at BC, that doesn't mean they weren't a part of programs that enjoyed significant success in the past. Spaz has the 2007 and 2008 ACC Atlantic Division Champion years to draw on, while Donahue recently enjoyed significant success at Cornell.
For football, Spaz should think back to those 2007-08 teams -- the types of players that Jagodzinski and O'Brien recruited, the defensive and (particularly) offensive identities of the team, the types of plays that were most successful. Frankly it's been very difficult for BC football to establish an offensive identity with five OCs in five seasons, but maybe Spaz and Flip are (finally) onto something after bringing in a Steve Logan clone to run the offense. We can only hope.
Basketball is a bit different as Donahue's experiences at Cornell and in the Ivy League probably don't translate 1:1 with his stint on the Heights. But I think there are some commonalities that Donahue can draw from as he tries to rebuild the Eagles basketball program. Everything from the types of players he recruited to the practice schedule to the recruiting pitch to scheduling philosophy.