Rangers make it official, announce hiring of Boston University’s Quinn as new head coach

David Quinn (BU - Head Coach) - The Boston University Terriers celebrated their eighth Hockey East championship on Saturday, March 21, 2015, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Melissa Wade)
David Quinn said that “BU is a special place that has given me so much.” (photo: Melissa Wade)

After five seasons at Boston University, David Quinn will leave his alma mater to become the head coach of the New York Rangers.

During his time as head coach of the Terriers, Quinn led the program to two Hockey East tournament titles (2015, 2018), two Hockey East regular-season titles (2015, 2017), the 2015 Beanpot championship and four straight appearances in the NCAA tournament.

“I’m incredibly excited for this new challenge, but leaving a job like this is very hard to do,” said Quinn in a statement. “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.

“I was so fortunate to work with the very best in athletic director Drew Marrochello and senior vice president Todd Klipp. BU hockey has always been bigger than the coach and they will bring in an outstanding one to continue the winning tradition here.”

In 2015 Quinn became just the fourth coach in NCAA Division I men’s hockey history to win his first three NCAA tournament games, pushing the Terriers to the Frozen Four title game in Boston. He was named Hockey East and New England Coach of the Year that season before finishing as the runner-up for national coach of the year honors.

“David skillfully led our men’s ice hockey program with pride and distinction over the past five years and we are grateful for his leadership,” Marrochello added. “He helped continue the standard of excellence that BU hockey has enjoyed for decades, and now joins a legion of fellow Terriers in leadership positions at the highest level of professional hockey.”

Quinn is now the third Terrier currently serving as a head coach in the NHL, joining Mike Sullivan, who led the Pittsburgh Penguins to back-to-back Stanley Cup titles in 2016 and 2017, and John Hynes, who guided the New Jersey Devils to the playoffs this season for the first time since 2012. No other school has more than one alumnus among NHL bench bosses and BU now has 22 alumni in NHL front offices (Boston College is second among NCAA programs with 13).

Quinn’s previous NHL coaching experience came in 2012-13 when he served as assistant coach of the Colorado Avalanche before becoming the 11th head coach in BU history on March 26, 2013.

Quinn, who played at BU from 1984 to 1988, replaced his former head coach and mentor, Jack Parker. An All-Hockey East and All-New England defenseman and a co-captain during his senior year, Quinn came back to campus in 2004 to become the team’s associate head coach, a role he served in for five seasons.

He compiled an overall record of 105-68-21 during the past five years, amassing the fourth-most coaching wins in program history. This past season, the Terriers overcame a tough first half by going 14-3-3 in their final 20 games and collecting the program’s ninth Hockey East tournament title in the process. BU reached the NCAA regional finals for the third time in four seasons, a feat matched only by Denver and Minnesota Duluth, the past two national champions.

Quinn becomes the 35th head coach of the Rangers, who have captured the Stanley Cup on four occasions, most recently in 1994. He will be reunited with former Terrier Kevin Shattenkirk, who signed with the Rangers as a free agent last summer, and work with BU’s first Hobey Baker winner, Chris Drury, who serves as assistant general manager of the Rangers.

This is the just the sixth time that an NCAA coach has moved directly into a head-coaching role at the NHL level as Quinn joins Ned Harkness (Cornell to Detroit, 1970), Bob Johnson (Wisconsin to Calgary, 1982), Herb Brooks (St. Cloud State to Minnesota, 1987), Dave Hakstol (North Dakota to Philadelphia, 2015) and Jim Montgomery (Denver to Dallas, 2018).

In addition to Hynes and Sullivan, two other BU alumni have served as head coaches in the NHL. Joe Sacco was with the Colorado Avalanche from 2009 to 2013 and Steve Stirling coached the New York Islanders from 2003 to 2006.

A national search for Quinn’s replacement will begin immediately.