Boston University promotes O’Connell, who says new head coaching job is ‘the opportunity of a lifetime’

Albie O'Connell (BU - Associate Head Coach) - The Boston University Terriers defeated the visiting University of Connecticut Huskies 4-2 (EN) on Saturday, October 24, 2015, at Agganis Arena in Boston, Massachusetts. (Melissa Wade)
Albie O’Connell played at BU and is now the 12th head coach in Terriers history after three years as associate head coach under David Quinn (photo: Melissa Wade).

Albie O’Connell has been named the 12th head coach at Boston University, taking over for David Quinn, who was named head coach of the New York Rangers last month.

O’Connell will be officially introduced at a press conference on Wednesday at 1 p.m. at Agganis Arena.

“We aspire to have the best program in college hockey,” BU director of athletics Drew Marrochello said in a statement. “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.”

The captain of the 1998-99 squad, O’Connell returned to BU in 2014 to join Quinn’s staff and was promoted to associate head coach one year later.

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.

O’Connell will continue a long legacy of BU alumni who have led the program, as a Terrier has held the head-coaching role in 72 of the 73 seasons that have taken place since the end of World War II.

Prior to his return to BU, O’Connell spent a decade as a Division I assistant coach throughout the Northeast and established himself as one of the sport’s premier recruiters. Following three-year stints at both Northeastern and Harvard, he spent one season each at Holy Cross and Merrimack after a two-year appointment at Niagara.

The Watertown, Mass., native’s coaching career began at Berkshire Prep School in 2002 before he joined the collegiate coaching ranks the following year at Colby.

“Simply put, this is the opportunity of a lifetime,” O’Connell added. “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.”

O’Connell played in two Frozen Fours (1996, 1997) and helped the Terriers reach the national championship game and claim a Hockey East title as a sophomore. He and his fellow members of the Class of 1999 are one of only four BU classes to win four Beanpots.

In 149 career games, O’Connell totaled 108 points (42 goals, 66 assists) during his four years playing for Jack Parker. As a senior captain, he led the team in scoring with 39 points (nine goals, 30 assists).

In addition to coaching in the collegiate ranks, O’Connell has also coached extensively with USA Hockey since 2003. During his year at Berkshire, he also served as the school’s assistant dean of students and the student activities director.

A fifth-round draft pick of the New York Islanders in 1994, O’Connell played professional hockey for the Pensacola Ice Pilots (ECHL) in 1999-2000, the Basingstoke Bison (British National League) in 2000-01, the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies (ECHL) in 2001-02 and the Cardiff Devils (BNL) in 2001-02. In 127 pro games, O’Connell posted 54 goals and 78 assists for 132 points.