St. John’s University hockey coach John Harrington resigned Monday, March 31 following 15 seasons with the Johnnies. Harrington has accepted a head coaching position with Hockey Club Ambri-Piotta, a professional team in the National “A” League of Switzerland. Harrington will continue serving as head coach at SJU until his contract expires June 30, and the search process for his replacement will begin immediately.
A member of the 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic hockey teams, Harrington guided the Johnnies to a 241-142-31 (.620) record, including five MIAC regular season titles, 13 MIAC playoff appearances and five NCAA tournament appearances. Harrington’s 15 years at SJU is the longest tenure of any hockey coach in school history.
“I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work and coach at St. John’s University,” Harrington said. “As many have said before, it is a special place. The administration and staff at St. John’s, along with the tremendous assistant coaches I have had, allowed our hockey program to be successful. Without the talented student-athletes that have played for me, nothing would have been possible. They made me a better coach.”
The winningest hockey coach in school history, Harrington coached 17 All-America selections, including one Sid Watson Memorial Trophy recipient as Outstanding NCAA Division III Hockey Player (2006, Adam Hanna); 50 All-MIAC first-team selections; two MIAC Player of the Year recipients; five Academic All-America selections and eight Academic All-Region selections.
A four-time MIAC Coach of the Year, Harrington directed SJU to its first MIAC regular season title since 1950, its second trip to the MIAC playoff finals and its first bid to the NCAA Division III tournament during the 1995-96 season. In 1996-97, the Johnnies repeated as MIAC regular season and playoff champions and entered the NCAA Division III tournament as the No. 1 seed in the west region. The Johnnies proceeded to advance to the NCAA Division III hockey final four and brought home the third-place trophy.
“John has brought a tremendous focus and intensity that has propelled St. John’s hockey to a prominent level,” SJU athletic director Tom Stock said. “John is leaving the SJU hockey program in much better shape than when he came onto campus 15 years ago, and that is a testament to John’s great work ethic and his ability to recruit top-notch student-athletes to his program. John has earned the opportunity to coach at the next level and I wish him the very best in his next endeavor.”
A 1979 graduate of the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Harrington was an assistant hockey coach at St. Cloud State University from 1990-93. Prior to his move to St. Cloud, Harrington worked as an assistant coach at the University of Denver from 1984 to 1990.
As a player, Harrington was a standout prep athlete at Virginia (Minn.) High School and starred with Minnesota-Duluth from 1975-79. He gained fame as a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that captured the gold medal at the Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York.
Harrington played hockey in Lugano, Switzerland, which is in the same league as Ambri-Piotta, for the 1980-81 season before returning home as a member of the U.S. National Hockey Team in the 1981, 1982, and 1983 World Hockey Championships. He completed his international playing career as a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic Hockey team that competed in Sarajevo.
A member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, Harrington received the Lester Patrick Award in 1980 for outstanding service to hockey in the U.S. He is a charter member of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, a 1990 inductee into the Minnesota Olympic Hall of Fame and a 2001 inductee into the Minnesota-Duluth Athletic Hall of Fame.
In addition to his collegiate coaching experience, Harrington has served as an assistant coach at the U.S. Junior Olympic Festival (1992) and National Sports Festivals (1983 and 1990). He also served as an assistant coach at Apple Valley High School from 1981-84. In 1995, Harrington served as head coach of Team North at the Olympic Sports Festival in Denver, Colo. Team North won gold medal honors at the festival, which featured some of the top prep and collegiate players in the country. Harrington was president of the American College Hockey Coaches Association during the 1999-2000 season. During the winter of 2006-07, Harrington served as an assistant coach for Team USA at the World Junior Championships in Siljan, Sweden.
Harrington has been a member of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Rules Committee since 2002, and currently serves as the Secretary-Rules Editor, a position he has held since September 2006. At St. John’s, Harrington also served as assistant soccer coach from 1993 to 2003.